Caring for One Another During Respiratory Virus Season

Dear Members and Friends of First Church, 

News of the spread of a new coronavirus called COVID-19 has grabbed the attention of people all across the world. First Church recognizes the importance of caring for one another, being well prepared, and doing our part to limit potential for the spread of this virus. To that end, a task force, including three medically trained personnel, one of them a nationally recognized epidemiologist, met during the week and share the following for your consideration.

On March 8, the Director-General of the World Health Organization said, “What we see at the moment are linked epidemics of COVID-19 in several countries, but most cases can still be traced to known contacts or clusters of cases. We do not see evidence as yet that the virus is spreading freely in communities. As long as that’s the case, we still have a chance of containing this virus, if robust action is taken to detect cases early, isolate, and care for patients and trace contacts.”

Unless something drastic happens in our area before then, worship, classes, and fellowship will be offered this Sunday as usual. Be assured that we’ll be implementing additional safety procedures out of an abundance of caution.

If you have any concerns about being in a large public gathering, if you answer “yes” to any of the statements listed below, or if you are elderly and have chronic underlying health concerns, we hope you will consider staying home and participating in worship via the live streaming service on our website

Live streaming of the 9:00 a.m. worship service is available at the link above, and is also archived on the website so it can be watched at any time. Financial contributions may also be made on the website by clicking the “Donate Now” button.

In an effort to help protect you and others, please consider these questions:

  • Have you been around people who are sick with colds or flu in the last week?
  • Are you developing a new cough or feel like you have a cold or sore throat?
  • Do you have a fever (temperature of 100.5F or higher), or have you had a fever in the past week?
  • Have you been nauseated, vomited or had diarrhea in the past week?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, please consider postponing a public visit for at least 14 days after the start of your symptoms and please contact your healthcare provider if your symptoms get worse. 

On Sunday morning, among other things, those who come to First Church will be encouraged to:

  • Smile broadly and offer verbal greetings, but refrain from shaking hands, embracing, or touching others
  • Cover sneezes or coughs with tissue then dispose of tissue and wash hands
  • Avoid touching your own face as much as possible especially eyes, nose, mouth
  • Before eating or drinking wash hands with soap and water (20-30 seconds) and use hand sanitizer, which will be available in multiple locations throughout the building. Click here for a hand washing video.
  • Spread out and give your neighbor some space - about three feet if possible (there’s always lots of room in the front pews!)
  • Place financial gifts in offering plates at the back of the sanctuary or by clicking the “Donate Now” button on the website (plates will not be passed during worship)

First Church’s task force will continue to monitor the local situation and recommendations of the Public Health Department and the World Health Organization. The task force, church staff, and volunteers will continue to take precautions to care for all people who enter our building. Updates will be provided when appropriate and will be emailed and posted on our website. If you have any questions or concerns, we’ll do our best to help answer them. Feel free to send your questions to   or call 608.256.9061.

First Church is prepared to act in ways that help us care for one another, for the health of the world, and for all God’s people. Thank you for your careful attention to this commitment.