"Our love and concern for our church family blankets everything we do in leading our beloved Echo Community Church. With the rapid global spread of the coronavirus impacting our state and local counties, I am taking this moment to communicate with each of you some plans for how our church will continue our mission of being and making disciples in this season of uncertainty.
We (myself and our administrative board) carefully monitor all credible information communicated from national, state, and local agencies regarding prevention and containment efforts associated with the coronavirus. At the present time, there have been no restrictions placed upon our weekly assembling together at PHHS for worship and ministry. Should that change, we will respond accordingly by considering all available options which include renting space at the Hilton Garden Inn or providing live streaming services if face-to-face gatherings are not possible.
Our Echo leadership team is encouraging our entire church family to honor the following preventative measures published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Keep sick children home until their symptoms resolve.
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Throw tissues in the trash.
- Use common sense. Buy what you need. Don't panic. Share with others. Don't hoard.
As you've heard us say many times, Echo is committed to providing SAFE environments for you and your children. With this in mind, Echo adopted a "sick policy" from the first day we opened our doors to minister to our community. Although this policy is visibly posted on-site every time we meet, I thought it would be beneficial to remind everyone of our guidelines for receiving your child(ren) into our ministry environments on Sundays. We cannot receive children who exhibit any of the following symptoms:
- Vomiting in the last 24 hours
- Diarrhea in the last 24 hours
- Unusual fatigue and irritability
- Fever of 99.5 degrees or higher
- Inflamed mouth and/or throat
- Rash or yeast infection
- Green or cloudy, runny nose
- Runny or pink eye
- Croup, unusual or chronic coughing or sneezing
- Any skin infections such as boils, unexplained rash, staph infections, ringworm or impetigo
- Symptoms of childhood diseases (i.e. scarlet fever, mumps, chickenpox or measles)
Finally, one of the things I love so much about our church family is our friendliness. It's quite common for many to shake hands and for some to extend hugs to one another when we gather. While we have no intention of discouraging these practices at this time, it's wise for each of us to extend some extra grace and understanding to one another in a season where physical contact with others is being discouraged by many outlets. If you feel uncomfortable with shaking someone's hand or receiving a hug... that's completely okay! We won't be offended. On the other hand, if you extend a hand or offer a hug that is not reciprocated in kind, that's also okay! Don't take offense. Remember this though, we are STILL a loving, warm, friendly church family who can greet one another with broad smiles, eye contact, waves, and affinity, even without physical contact.
I acknowledge the seriousness of this virus and all the associated implications. There are many in our circles who are afraid, frustrated, and anxious. As children of Almighty God, we do not need to fear; but we do need to prepare and be aware of the times we live in. There are many opportunities for each of us to practice generosity, be loving neighbors, and demonstrate unusual peace and hope which spring from God's Spirit alive in each of us. My encouragement to each of you is to be strong in the Lord and to strengthen your "inner person" daily through Jesus.
I thank God for the privilege to be your pastor and look forward to leading us through this season together.
- Pastor Phil Knauer
March 11, 2020