Thank you for the many words of support regarding my letter that was emailed to our community yesterday. It is clear we all want what is best for our community and those within who are at risk with COVID-19.
Today, Whitefish Bay School District announced its closing of all buildings. It will officially begin March 14 and end on April 13. As I said previously, we would follow their decision since they have consulted with doctors, diseases specialists, the local health department and more.
Because of this decision, Bay Shore will also close our entire building and all its activities through April 11. I am hopeful that we will have simple Easter Sunday services at 8 and 10 a.m. on April 12. But, I will follow whatever guidelines we are offered for services on that day and following. As I said previously, we will adapt as we go along.
Closing the building to all users may seem extreme, but it also follows the guidelines offered. By closing the building down, we allow our custodian the opportunity to clean the entire building and leave it undisturbed, allowing the virus (if present) to die and keeping any new contagions out. Because of this, I strongly ask everyone with a key to our building to NOT use it, to NOT come to the building, and to respect the containment as best as we can. We simply don’t have the resources to do more. Saturday, March 14, will be our last open day.
Our committed staff will work from home. Church will continue in a new way. I will move my office to my home and will work on several projects that I have put off due to lack of time. I am also looking into virtual ways to stay connected with our community. What’s the saying, when a door closes, a window may open? While we are closed, the work of the church continues. We will adapt, and we will continue to be God’s presence albeit in a new way. Stay tuned.
Committees and teams, please continue to meet via email, phone calls and perhaps even Zoom/Skype. We will do what we can to be prepared and ready for April.
There are a few ways you can instantly stay connected as a community. We will update our Facebook page frequently. I will also post items on our “stories” page on our website. Those direct links will be below. We will also send emails about news and other important matters—please do read them! The best way to reach me is via email, as well as all of our staff. You may also leave voice messages through the Church Office and we will respond. I will keep normal “office” hours and will be posting and sharing a lot in the weeks ahead.
While our building may be closed, the work of Bay Shore will continue. Please continue to do whatever you can for Bay Shore’s community from your homes. Call your neighbors and older members of Bay Shore. Send cards and notes. Stay connected as you are able. This is a time that we redefine what it means to be a community. It will be challenging, but I know that we will not only grow from this, we will thrive and re-imagine our future.
Esther was told in the Bible that perhaps she was supposed to face such a time as this—a defining time in history which involved courage and a new way of thinking. Joshua was led to the Promised Land and then told he had to fight to have it. Jesus told his disciples that they had to leave behind things so that they could move forward with no baggage.
I am wondering what this time in history will call us to do as church. I am wondering how we as a church will respond and move forward. But what I am NOT wondering is if we will survive. Of course we will! But our decisions and our responses in the next few weeks matter greatly. Please join me in prayer as we re-imagine “church” apart from worship and our building. When we come back together for worship, whenever that will be, let us talk about what we learned and what we feel called to do as the Body of Christ. I feel strongly this is a critical time for us, but I am not afraid to face it.