Letter to the Congregation

Dear Advent Family,
 
I want to update you on what’s happening at Advent in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Like you, I’ve been following this evolving story with great concern. I’ve also reached out to local city officials, spoken with a number of other pastors, and had conversations with medical personnel to gain perspective on how to best move forward. Additionally, we have formed a coronavirus team that consists of members of the Session, staff leadership, and medical personnel. This proactive approach will help us to stay as up-to-date as possible on the virus itself, as well as be able to take necessary steps to insure the safety of our church
 
Please read through this entire email as it contains detailed plans for keeping our campus safe and how you can help. Advent will remain open and we will continue to have Sunday services. In the event that local and state health officials do recommend or determine it is in the best interest of our Advent family to close, we will inform everyone to the best of our abilities through our website, emails, and social media.During this time, here’s how we are committed to keeping our campus clean:
  1. We will sanitize highly touched surfaces before and after services.
  2. Our staff and volunteer teams will wash their hands frequently and stay home if they are sick.
  3. We will provide additional hand sanitizer stations around campus for everyone to use.
  4. We will position ushers, as you exit the Sanctuary at the end of the service, who will be collecting tithes and offerings so you don’t need to pass offering plates down the row. Remember, you can also give online or on the Advent app.
  5. We will discontinue serving coffee and donuts until further notice. However, please feel free to bring your own coffee to church. We would ask, at this time, that you do not bring any food on Sunday mornings.
  6. We will discontinue the “Fellowship Moment” portion of our service, so we will not be asking you to shake hands, provide fist or elbow bumps, etc. We do, however, encourage you to pray for those around you.
  7. We are suspending all food preparation and service from the Advent kitchen until further notice.
  8. As of now, we are still planning communion on April 5 services. We will be serving communion with pre-packaged and sealed elements that will be distributed as you enter the Sanctuary.
 
During this time, we are asking you to help stop the spread of the virus in the following ways:
  1. Stay at home when you or a family member are sick.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  3. Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue or your arm.
  4. Get in the habit of NOT touching your face so often.
  5. Forgo shaking hands at church for a wave or a friendly smile.
  6. If you or someone you know tests positive for COVID-19, please let us know so we can find a way to help, pray for everyone involved, and take any necessary precautions here at Advent.
 
Advent Online:
If you or a family member are sick or need to stay home during this time, you can catch up on the sermons in the following ways: https://www.youtube.com/user/adventpres
Sermons section of the Advent app
 
For families with children and youth:
Our children and youth leadership is monitoring the situation closely and assessing each event to ensure the safety of our children and youth. We have begun instituting stricter safety practices like extra hand washing, food controls, and reduced physical contact between one another and shared surfaces. And as always, if your child does not feel well, we expect them to stay at home for everyone’s safety. You can keep up-to-date by following our social media (@adventpreskids and @adventyouthmin) on Instagram.
 
Three ways you can help:
  1. Pray – Pray for those impacted by the virus, as well as their families and loved ones.
  2. Give –As we head into these uncertain times, we want to insure that we can do the ministry God calls us to as a church, including current ministry efforts as well as opportunities to serve others as it relates to the coronavirus. Please go to
    https://www.adventpres.com/give/
  3. Serve – be open and willing to provide the gifts and talents God has given you to be available to serve where and as needed during this critical time.
 
Questions or concerns?
If you’d like to share your thoughts, concerns, questions, and ideas with us as we navigate our response to this situation, we’d love to hear from you. Your input and feedback are truly important to us. Please email alan.bugg@adventpres.com with any questions or comments. I would also encourage you to check government websites regularly as they provide the best and most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.
 
Here are three sites you can visit for more information:
 
While we cannot control the virus, the spread or the impact it has in our church, we’re doing everything we can to make this campus as safe and clean as possible. We appreciate your cooperation and commitment to help us do just that. We must also remember that God has not called us to live in fear but in faith. As the apostle, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” My prayer is that God will fill all of us with these three gifts, no matter what comes our way.
 
In His Grip,
Alan