Read Pastor David's statement, on behalf of SCBC, about our response to COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting the life of our church and ministries.
Dear SCBC faith community,
I pray that all of you have been staying healthy and safe. As we all learn more about the impact of the coronavirus here in Somerville and Boston areas, in Massachusetts, and around the world, our first and foremost concern is for the safety of people: those who attend SCBC and those in our neighborhood. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic challenges the church to cultivate new community practices that can wisely respond to this global health emergency and that faithfully serve the spiritual wellbeing of our congregation.
The pastors and leaders of SCBC have spent many hours in the last few days in prayer and discussion on our best possible response to the current coronavirus outbreak. With the health and safety of both our congregation and local communities in mind, the executive board has affirmed a plan to move to an online-only service model effective March 15, 2020, and we will reassess the developing public health situation as things progress.
By moving to online-only, we are not only caring for the most vulnerable among us, but we are also reducing the risk of an infected person among us leading to a quarantine for everyone. What does this look like, both on Sundays and midweek, then?
1. Our Sunday Worship Service
The pastors and music staff will continue to produce Sunday worship services at 10:45am (10:00 am in Summer), which will be streamed online. You can access them through the livestream page on our website, YouTube, and Facebook.
2. Weekly Ministries (Prayer Night, Small Groups)
We plan to expand our presence online beyond our Sunday services. Starting Tuesday, March 17 at 6pm, we will stream online our Tuesday Night Bible study and prayer night services. You can watch this at the aforementioned platforms.
In terms of our small group gatherings, while we can still have our gatherings as long as the group members are less than 6-7 people, I’d strongly encourage the facilitators and hosts to find other creative ways to continue your spiritual development and fellowship and not lose momentum. For example, our marriage group (Y.M.C) and Men ministry will be planning on having virtual meetings. For those with high risk exposure, such as the elderly or those with pre-existing medical conditions, I’d strongly suggest not to attend any of physical gatherings.
3. Children’s Sunday School and Youth
We care for our next generation. While there are no Sunday schools at the church, Pastor Terron is going to work to develop online ministry materials. We will also offer resources to help parents to have spiritual conversations with their kids and help families grow their faith together in their homes. Pastor Terron and Harim will connect with our children and youth group weekly to have some spiritual conversations.
4. Caring and Support
The very necessary precautions that people take in relation to this virus include the form of social distancing and refraining from touch. These precautions will exacerbate the experience of those among us who already struggle with a pervasive sense of loneliness and isolation. When I was speaking with most of our elderly congregation, it seemed clear that they are the ones who are really in need of care and support.
Our men’s group has decided to provide care and support for our elderly men by checking on them regularly, bringing groceries and doing some errands for them. Our deacons will be available for those who are in need of any type of help. I will also discuss with our deacons how to provide special care for our congregation.
While our challenges of responding to Coronavirus are unprecedented, none of them are unforeseen by God. This shift to online ministry represents an opportunity for smaller groups to connect and support each other more, just like the early church and for us to strengthen our spiritual fellowship with God and one another.
Please stay safe and faithful.