Beloved in Christ, 

You may have heard the news outlets declare this morning that Ohio has officially entered the conversation around COVID19 (novel corona virus) as we have had (at the time of this email) 3 positive cases in Cuyahoga County. Ohio State has also made the decision to suspend face to face classes until at least March 30th, engaging in their technology for distance/virtual learning.

Linworth United Methodist Church and Linworth Children’s Center have been and will continue to be in communication with local health officials about necessary protocols as the virus continues to spread. We have increased the cleaning/disinfecting of high-touch surfaces, we will pass the peace without shaking hands, and we will continue in worship practices that keep us at minimal risk of germ spread.

While there may come a time that we need to dramatically alter our life together, now is not that time. As the situation develops, we will continue to monitor it closely and communicate as much as possible about any changes if and when they are made.

For updates on the spread of the virus, safety precautions, and personal health recommendations, please consult the Center for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) or local health departments (https://myfcph.org/covid-19/) The Ohio Department of Health has set up a call center to answer questions which will operate 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

While consuming news is helpful to keep us informed, please be aware of the sources from which your news comes. The above recommendations for information gathering put you in receipt of information direct from health officials.

As always, be aware of the ways that you can help keep yourself and our community well:

–          Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

–          Wash your hands with warm, soapy water frequently

–          Stay home if you are sick

My friend and colleague Rev. Jeremy Smith reflected that in Mark 6:30-44, Jesus and the Disciples find themselves in an unexpected situation. In response to Jesus’ direction, the disciples feel uneasy under the immense responsibility of caring for people; and yet they listen to Jesus, organize, and respond. We feel like them, uneasy under the responsibility of caring for people, and yet (as Jeremy writes), “Living in this gap between responsibility and an effective plan is a difficult place to be… with Christ alongside us and Science informing us, it is possible.”[1]

I hope you will join me in praying for those who have been and will be impacted by this global health situation.

Draw the Circle Wide,
Rev. Anna Guillozet
Senior Pastor, Linworth UMC