JupiterFIRST family,

I want to give everyone a quick update on our developing plans in regard to Coronavirus (COVID-19). While I recognize that you are receiving an overwhelming number of emails on this topic, I wanted you to feel secure in the knowledge that we care for our congregation in all respects, including the physical well-being of our community, and strive to be proactive rather than reactive in situations like this.

First, I should say that the Bible (and our life experiences) teach us that there is often maddeningly little that we can ultimately do to control many of the difficulties that we are dealt in life. We live in a world that is broken and is not what God created it to be. But if there be little that we can do to control a virus or its spread, we can control ourselves… and when we do, the world watches our response to such a crisis and sees a faith that does not ride upon the fear of the unknown, be it even life or death. We are called to wisdom and peace in the midst of crisis, and when we live at peace in the midst of chaos, it changes that world. I ran across this article a couple of days ago, and it was very meaningful to me.

That said, as a church we are taking meaningful steps during this season to reduce unnecessary person-to-person contact while worshipping. This includes an adjustment to the way that we distribute weekly communion (which I outlined a couple of Sundays ago), slight adjustments to the greeting time and methods, and increased sanitization of surfaces, among other less visible adjustments.

While worshipping onsite with us, we ask that you be sensitive to those who may not wish to have personal contact (hug, handshake, holy kiss, etc.). As someone with a severely suppressed immune system, I know how the deep struggles that come during these times. Take proper precautions, and don’t force anyone into physical contact… which might be a good principle to practice all the time!

Should it become necessary to adjust our worship schedule, we have plans in place that can be implemented at a moment’s notice. We are fortunate to have a robust and top-notch webstream technology (live.jupiterfirst.org) that allows us to deliver a Sunday worship experience directly to homes in the event of a major sickness or quarantine. Many use it weekly already, and we would ask anyone with a fever to strongly consider staying home and utilizing it. We are thankful that it allows you to take notes, use an online Bible, chat real-time with other viewers of the service, and even give online. It’s not quite like being on campus, but it is a great second option!

Though we do not foresee asking everyone to stay home and watch online at any point, if that should become necessary we will alert you by way of email and Facebook. We also hope that you will be patient with us during this time, we are already feeling a reduction in volunteer availability as people practice extra caution.

ONE FINAL THING: We want to be the hands and feet of Jesus during this time. Many of our congregants do not have family/friends who would be able to offer assistance to them should they need to be shut in or quarantined. We would like to make connections between those in need and those who are willing/able to assist with supply delivery, “check in” calls, and other support needs over the coming weeks. IF YOU ARE WILLING TO BE A PART OF OUR “RESPONSE TEAM”: Send an email to info@jupiterfirst.org. And if you NEED ASSISTANCE over the coming weeks, please also let us know by way of that email so we can mobilize the Response Team to help.

We are looking for ways to support our broader community during this time, and we will keep you updated as any needs present themselves.

Thanks for being a JupiterFIRST Church!

Pastor Kevin