PUMC Covid-19 Statement #1

Dear PUMC Family & Friends,

As we all pray and take necessary personal safeguards in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19),  we want to share with you our current plans at Philadelphia United Methodist Church as we seek to manage this evolving situation, and as we try to keep all of us and our campus safe.

While the latest news and public health updates continue to report either suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North and South Carolina and the World Health Organization has declared it to be pandemic, it remains important to base our actions and behaviors on what health experts are saying and to make sure any information we share comes from credible sources.  The latest guidance and information for each state is available at:

South Carolina: https://scdhec.gov/health/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

North Carolina: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/news/press-releases/covid-19-mitigation-guidance

Your church leadership, Pastor and staff are continually monitoring the situation, in consultation with health officials and other churches. As of right now, while we will continue to monitor and follow the guidance from our Department of Health and Gov’t officials, we are taking some pro-active steps around upcoming PUMC events and Sunday Church services.

Currently, in SC there are no official recommendations for closure or cancellations of activities at this time, however here are the steps and decisions we have made to keep our campus clean and protect our church family and friends:

  1. PUMC will remain open and church services will continue as scheduled.
  2. We have asked our cleaning service to enhance their cleaning routine to provide additional sanitization of frequently touched surfaces.
  3. We ask that everyone follow strict hygiene, however, we will increase the number of hand sanitizer stations in the building.
  4. We will be modifying the offering collection process to avoid passing the collection plate down the rows and encouraging giving online via text, website or the Give+ mobile app
  5. The format of Communion will be modified to use individual (disposable) cups and there will changes to how the bread is distributed; or as further guidance dictates and as a last resort, communion may be suspended if deemed necessary.
  6. The upcoming Senior Friends Luncheon will be cancelled due to the concerns about the high risk COVID-19 is known to have among seniors. This event is typically a large gathering of seniors from various area churches across our community, and out of an abundance of caution it is felt that this event should be cancelled at this time.
  7. Other events are being reviewed on an individual basis and future communications will be made directly and via our various channels.
  8. We ask you to call or email the church or the pastor – rather than visit the church offices in person – for routine business.
  9. The church office will be closed whenever county and local public offices are closed. Whenever the offices are closed, Pastor Becky will remain available to members by contacting her via her cell phone (803-470-3913)
  10. As we responsibly observe protocols recommended by health experts, we will need, more than ever, not to totally isolate ourselves or others. Please take the time to pick up the phone, email, or text message one another.

We share the following recommendations from health and government officials:

  1. Stay at home when you or a family member are sick.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  3. Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue or your arm.
  4. Avoid touching your face if you have not recently washed or sanitized your hands.
  5. Substitute shaking hands at church with a wave or a friendly smile.
  6. If you or someone you know tests positive for COVID-19, please let us know so we can find a way to help, pray for everyone involved, and take any necessary precautions here at Philadelphia United Methodist Church.

In an email to the SC Conference last week, Bishop Holston urged church members to help minimize the spread of germs by taking time to recover fully at home if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms and by practicing good hygiene. We echo his recommendation and those of the health experts.

As we close, we remember that Philippians 4:6  instructs us:  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” , and so we ask you to lift up your worries and anxieties to our Lord as you continue to join us in prayer for all who are already affected by COVID19 and the health care workers who are taking care of them.

Prayerfully,

Pastor Becky, Senior Pastor

Gordon Connell, Council Chair on behalf of Church Council