March 14, 2020
Dear Christ Lutheran Church Family and Friends,
In these uncertain times, we wanted to reach out to you personally about what we are doing here at Christ Lutheran Church in regard to your health and safety. We are especially concerned for those at higher risk of serious illness (60+ years old with serious, chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease).
As the situation around novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, we are doing everything we can to provide for everyone’s wellbeing. We are monitoring communication from the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, and the California Department of Public Health and following guidelines as recommended. We are also networking with other congregations in the ELCA to coordinate best practices. We are especially mindful of our responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members of our community and our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by these events including those who are working tirelessly to serve and protect us.
We have also kept in mind that our actions affect others. Best practices, such as washing hands, keeping social distance, and avoiding large-scale crowds to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, will increase the possibility that most cases of the virus would be well within the capacity of our healthcare system to handle. When our healthcare system’s capacity is stretched to its limits, barriers to access fall disproportionately on the poor.
On March 12th the California Department of Public Health stated that gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people and that smaller gatherings held in venues that do not allow social distancing of six feet per person should be postponed or canceled.
Also on March 12th, Pacifica Synod strongly recommended that congregations cancel all non-essential gatherings of people: coffee hours, midweek Bible studies, Lenten soup suppers, and other side activities for the time being. The Synod also recommended that congregations with church schools or early childhood centers be guided by the example of local public schools for deciding when to close schools. Finally, regarding tenant groups, they advised that we should shut as much down as we can until health officials declare the worst to be past.
CLC Council and Pastor Steve have unanimously decided to temporarily:
1. Substitute both the North Beach and Church Sanctuary services with a livestream of services Pastor Steve will present on March 15th and 22nd. Pianist Russell Crabtree and singer Kenneth Haro have also agreed to use their special gifts to enhance our livestream worship. After two weeks, we will reassess how to worship, study and fellowship together. The service can be accessed by clicking here We will send out another email later today with the link and more instructions. A worship bulletin will also be sent out to you by email each week.
2. Move church activities online for the time being
- Lenten Bible studies
- Book Club
- Church Council meetings as needed
- Transition Team meetings as needed
2. Cancel gatherings we can’t move online
- Memory Care
- Monday Women’s Tea
- Capistrano Beach Care Center March 29th visit
4. Modify our Laundry Love and Homeless Bonfire as follows:
- Bags of coins will be made available at the Laundry Basket by a single volunteer
- Food will be dropped off at North Beach in disposable containers by volunteers
5. Cancel outside meetings through April 15th
- AA Meetings
- Shorecliffs HOA
La Cristianita Preschool (LCP)
Pacifica Synod states that “congregations with church schools or early childhood centers should be guided by the example of local public schools when deciding when to close or how to change procedures.”
LCP has already notified school families that it will close if the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) closes.
Friday night the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Trustees voted to close all District schools effective Monday, March 16, 2020 through April 3, 2020.
We encourage you all to pray during this turbulent time. Also, be mindful of how we can help those who are in greatest need.
We pray to you almighty God, in this time of need. You are our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Do not let us fail in the face of these events. Uphold us with your love, and give us the strength we need. Help us in our confusion, and guide our actions. Heal the hurt, console the bereaved and afflicted, protect the innocent and helpless, and deliver any who are still in peril; for the sake of your great mercy in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (ELW Pastoral Care, pages 386-387).
Interim Pastor Steve Awbrey, CLC President Kathy Hartl, LCP Director LeighAnn Downie-Economy