The City Road Chapel Child Development Center has closed its program until April 17, 2020 in order to promote physical distancing in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is important to us that we keep both our staff and our families safe, and we have determined that there to adequately protect all involved that we should close for at least two weeks. The date for reopening may change based on Health Department recommendations and other factors, so please check our website for any updates.
All Sunday morning on-site worship services are canceled through April 26 as we seek to promote physical distancing between individuals. This comes both at the request of the Metro Health Department and Bishop William McAlilly of the Nashville Episcopal Area.
In lieu of face to face worship, we are providing a weekly online worship experience on Youtube. We believe that Youtube is more accessible to the largest number of people. Click here to visit our YouTube Channel and please hit the subscribe button. If we can get 100 people to subscribe, it improves the level of service YouTube offers us.
God is good!
Happy Tuesday. It’s a rainy day here in Old Hickory, but also a good day for a grand experiment.
As you know, we have been monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak throughout our nation and community closely. We have developed our own protocols to minimize risk throughout the church, but of course, we can never fully eradicate that risk. We have watched other congregations and annual conferences choose to cancel all meetings and worship to promote social distancing.
Today at approximately 3:30 p.m. we received notice from Bishop William McAlilly that he is asking congregations in the Tennessee Annual Conference to cancel all worship services and group activities for at least the next two weeks. As such we will not have Sunday morning services at City Road Chapel this Sunday (March 15, 2020) and most likely the following Sunday as well.
Of course, there are some who may believe this is an overreaction. All I can say is that the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that persons who are of high risk avoid gatherings of 10 persons or larger. “High risk” includes folks over 60, people on blood thinners, people with chronic liver or kidney disease, folks with compromised immune systems, diabetics, heart disease, lung diseases, and those with neurological disorders. That is, unfortunately, a large number of us at City Road Chapel.
As we figure out this different pathway, here are some things for you to keep in mind:
- While we will not have worship at the Gallatin Pike location, we WILL be providing a worship experience at 10 a.m. online, through either our church website (cityroadchapel.org) or our Facebook page (facebook.com/cityroadchapel/).
Please consider joining with your brothers and sisters at this time as we pray, sing, and consider God’s Word.
- Even though we will not have church services, the expenses will continue at City Road Chapel, so it is important that you continue to offer your financial gifts. You can, of course, mail your check to the church at 701 Gallatin Pike S., Madison, TN 37115, but we strongly encourage you to consider giving electronically by visiting cityroadchapel.org/give. ALL gifts are accounted for and included in your statement of giving.
- The church offices will be open during the week if you have a need. This may change based on the recommendations of the health department, but for the time being, we will still be open for business.
- The Child Development Center (CDC) is following the lead of the Department of Human Services and the Metro Health Department. The CDC has protocols in place to limit infection and children appear to not get especially sick through this virus. However, we WILL close if required to do so. Be watching for more information on this.
- Class gatherings will meet at the discretion of the teacher and the group. If your class would like to meet, you might consider hosting a Zoom meeting (zoom.us) for an online gathering.
This is an unprecedented situation, and trust me that we never covered this in seminary! We’re all trying to figure out how to respond to keep people safe . . . and that is a part of calling as United Methodists. Bishop McAlilly said it well: “Our Wesleyan roots have always included the concern for those most vulnerable. The people called Methodist established some of the first hospitals in this country. Now is an especially important time to live out our calling to love one another and to take care of those around us.”
May God’s grace and peace be with you as we spend this time in the wilderness.
With Christ’s love,
As news reports continue regarding the spread of the Coronavirus known as COVID-19 through the U.S., leaders in our church have been thinking about the best means of preventing the virus from spreading in our facility and through our worship services and events. Our staff and leadership team is dedicated to preserving our congregations’ well-being and safety by taking every precaution to keep all our church family healthy, especially those over 60 years of age and those with underlying medical conditions and immuno-compromised.
Therefore, we are proactively developing our plans and following what the Tennessee Department of Health is recommending as they monitor the spread of COVID-19 virus. At this time, the risk level in Tennessee is still low. As one leading doctor of infectious medicine said it’s not a time to panic, but rather a time to prepare. So, we are preparing. As such, we will be putting the following protocols into place to limit the spread of this virus (which also has the added benefit of reducing the spread of ANY infection).
According to health professionals, the most important response to limit the spread of COVID-19 is through our own personal practices. Here are some guidelines to help you both at church and in the broader community:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
Use proper handwashing techniques. No soap and water? use 60%+ alcohol hand sanitizer. And you must rub your hands with sanitizer vigorously until it is completely dry effective. (20 seconds is about the time it takes to sing the Doxology!)
- Stay home if you are sick!!!! If you are feeling unwell, please rest at home.
You have permission to miss worship. We are working on making provisions to stream our services on the Internet and be watching for more information on how you can watch from home.
- When coughing or sneezing, consider others and keep covered.
Sneezing or coughing into a tissue (and dispose of immediately), or an elbow not hands.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
Hands are the greatest way we spread infection.
- Maintain social distancing.
Keep 3 feet between yourself and anyone who is sneezing and coughing. Limit direct contact as much as possible including greeting. Elbow and fist bumps are better but not the best. Some are suggesting that the Japanese practice of the bow would be appropriate.
Worship services are the most important gatherings of our church, but unfortunately are also a means by which infections can spread. To minimize the spread of disease we are making the following changes:
- Greeters and Ushers
- Greeters are encouraged to welcome folks without shaking hands or offering hugs as a means of limiting contact. A warm smile and a friendly word probably means more anyway.
- Greeters are also asked to open the doors for folks to avoid too many hands making contact with the door handles. Our staff will be regularly disinfecting the doors, but limiting contact is helpful.
- Our ushers will continue to take the offering, but we will not pass the plates from person to person. The ushers will sanitize the plates before the collection and will wear gloves to receive the offering. There will also be a basket near the front of the sanctuary for donations and attendance cards. We are strongly encouraging all who are able to consider on-line giving at www.cityroadchapel.org/give. You can setup up an automatic, recurring donation at that website as well.
- We will no longer be using the shared “pew pads” to keep up with attendance and for visitors to provide information. We will be creating pew cards for folks to complete and place in the collection basket each week.
- Communion Stewards will be asked to prepare all the elements for communion in the church kitchen using rubber gloves. Prior to preparing the meal, ALL trays and utensils will be sanitized in our commercial dishwasher.
- Communion servers will use alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately prior to serving communion and will wear gloves throughout the communion service.
- The bread will be served by the servers using our sanitized tongs. Recipients should approach the server with their hands cupped to receive the elements so as to avoid contact with the tongs. Since the servers will have just disinfected their hands and are wearing gloves, they will hand the cups to the person receiving rather than having many hands touching the cups.
- We will serve communion at two stations located at the side aisles with all standing to receive the elements. All are welcome to kneel at the altar for prayer after receiving, but those concerned with infection risks should feel free to return to their seats via the center aisle.
- Prayer Time
- In order to prevent the spread of germs, we will be discontinuing the practice of inviting people to pray with the pastor at the altar rail.
- We will be sanitizing door handles, elevator buttons, and the access keypads on a daily basis. Folks may want to bring their own disinfectant wipes to wipe down these surfaces before touching them.
- We will be providing hand sanitizer (as available) at the coffee station and we encourage all to wash their hands before getting their coffee.
- All persons handling donations and information cards will be encouraged to use rubber gloves in their work.
- We will be disinfecting our listening aid devices weekly.
- We will start “livestreaming” our 10 a.m. service on the Internet at the earliest convenience so that persons who are sick or need to avoid crowds will have the opportunity to access our services. If you need help in thinking through how to access these service, please talk to Pastor Jay,
Preparation is not worry…
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
–Matthew 6:34 (The Message)
Dear City Road Chapel family,
As you likely know, recent concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak have been before us and your church leaders are taking the threat seriously. While we are certainly not panicking, we do recognize that having a congregation with a high percentage of at-risk attendees means that we need to put in place the best practices for controlling the spread of the infection in worship and at church events.
Tonight our Worship Leadership Team will be meeting at 6 p.m. in the church library to finalize our plans for changes in worship to help keep all safe. Many of the recommended practices we already engage in, but there will likely be changes in how we do some things based on the recommendations of public health officials. Due to this meeting, I am canceling our Vespers gathering tonight.
Although we are still finalizing the details, one change that may surprise you involves the passing of the offering plates. It is difficult at best to ensure the plates are germ-free, and the simple act of handing the plates from one to another is an infection hazard. We will continue to take an offering, but will likely be asking all to do it in a different way that doesn’t involve the passing of the plates.
While I know that many of you are uncomfortable with on-line giving, the fact is that giving on-line, through a bank draft or credit card, is secure and is the most germ-free means we have of receiving donations. These donations are automatically entered into your church account, and Vanco (the company which handles our online financial transactions) is known for its high level of security. You can set up your gift at https://cityroadchapel.org/give and if you need assistance please let me know.
One last note. Of course, the Centers for Disease Control have been urging folks to wash their hands with soap and water frequently for at least 20 seconds. I discovered that singing the Doxology (Praise God from whom all blessings flow…) one time through is right at 20 seconds, so if you need a timer, remember to sing praises to God in all circumstances.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God’s grace and peace be with you all!