Trinity and COVID-19
November 16, 2020 + COVID Restriction Announcement + Don Boelter
Dear Trinity Congregation -
As you are probably all aware by now, Governor Inslee instituted new restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings due to the recent surge in Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Snohomish County has been hit particularly hard and we are in our most dangerous period since the nation’s first case was reported here back in January.
Therefore, we have decided to close the church building starting on Tuesday November 17 for at least four weeks, and require staff to work from home, except for our weekly online worship service and essential activities, including: childcare (Child Development Center), food distribution (Neighbors in Need), administrative functions such as bank deposits, mail pick up, and time sensitive facilities repairs.
As President-elect Biden stated, this will undoubtedly be a “dark winter.” As a Christian practicing in a liturgical tradition, I view this as starting Advent a bit early this year. It is a time of darkness, but also a time of waiting in hopeful expectation. For as Advent teaches us patience as we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas, so too is there light coming in this COVID-19 crisis with the development of several very promising vaccines only weeks away.
However, even with the approval of an effective vaccine, we are still probably many months away from returning to indoor, in-person worship services, live concerts, common meals, and many other activities that make our building such a vibrant and busy place under “normal” circumstances. We must continue to wait, knowing that by the simple act of staying home we are helping to keep our family, friends, and neighbors safe.
If you require entry to the building during this period, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Debbie Jeske, Ministry Coordinator (email@example.com) so we can arrange building entry/disarming alarms and make sure we know who is in the building at any given time.
Please also feel free to contact me with any questions.
Don Boelter, Administrator
Thursday, August 13, 2020
COVID Response Update
Trinity Lutheran Church and Schools remains committed to the safety and security of our members, employees, and students, as we continue to strive to be a force in Lynnwood of Building > Belonging > Becoming a better community. To that end, over the past two months, at the direction of the Church Council, we have gathered a COVID Response Team that has begun meeting on a regular basis (via Zoom of course).
Also, as you know if you have been tuning into the live-streamed services, during this same time period we have recruited, hired, and started on-boarding Interim Coordinator of Worship and Music, David Horton. In addition to his amazing skills on the organ, David brings a fresh perspective to TLCS in how we are responding to the safety risks brought up by COVID-19 in the context of worship, particular as they relate to vocal performances.
At the same time, there is a growing body of evidence of aerosol transmission of the virus, increasing documentation of choral "super-spreader" events, and a recent significant jump in positivity rate of COVID testing in Snohomish County. In response, on Monday afternoon Governor Inslee’s office released revised requirements for religious gatherings.
All these factors led the COVID Response Team, in collaboration with Pastor Hector, David, and our attorney, to reexamine current vocal protocols at our Sunday morning live-stream service in the Sanctuary, and recommend the following restrictions in addition to safety measures already in place on Sunday mornings:
These changes will present additional challenges to our Tech Team, and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for the outstanding job and hours and hours of volunteer work that have been put into making the live-streamed worship happen, in particular: Joe Jeske, Cliff Bronson, Carl Setzer, Clint Buetow, Steve Alpers, Chris Morris and Josh Judd-Herzfeldt.
In addition to these changes, the possibility of an outdoor, in-person service was taken under consideration. After much deliberation and thought by members of the church staff, council, and COVID Response Team, we are currently planning a short service of prayer and contemplation, similar to that held in June in the wake of the George Floyd killing, following all the safety requirements for live in-person worship as revised by the Governor’s order earlier this week. More information on this will follow in our usual communication avenues.
Finally, I’d also like to thank the COVID Response Team for their time and expertise. They are: Laurie Bronson, Marilyn Nadeau, Maureen McKenzie, Rob Palmer, Nanette Erban (Trinity Child Development Center Director), Pastor Hector, and Don Boelter (Administrator).
If you have any questions or concerns about Trinity Lutheran Church and Schools’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact Don Boelter at firstname.lastname@example.org, 425-778-2159 x2205.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Trinity leadership has made the difficult decision to remain closed to public meeting and gathering through at least the end of April as local, state and national authorities continue to advise against large gatherings and encourage social distancing as much as possible.
While in-person meetings, worship and other gatherings at the church are on hold, Trinity will continue to offer virtual opportunities:
Staff and leadership are working hard to come up with more and creative ways to remain connected as a community during these times of separation and isolation, so check back here for updates, and be sure to subscribe to our mailing list for updates direct to your email inbox.
Trinity Staff continue to work, often from home, and can most easily be reached by email.
Update for March 12, 2020 (From Pastor Hector)
Dear Friends,Grace, mercy and peace be with each and every one of you in this uncertain and difficult time.
As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve in Washington state and our immediate community, Trinity leadership has made the difficult decision to suspend all public meetings and gatherings until at least March 30 beginning Friday, March 13, including Sunday and Wednesday worship services.
These decisions are made to take part in the public effort to slow the spread of the disease per guidance from Snohomish Health District and the State of Washington Department of Health. As of this writing, no confirmed or suspected diagnosis of the COVID-19 virus is known to be present in the Trinity community.
TRINITY BUILDING & STAFF
Until at least March 30, the Trinity building will be closed to the public, and all meetings, gatherings, concerts and worship will be canceled or postponed. Trinity office and schools staff will continue to work as appropriate given individual health and safety situations, but with varied hours and remote work as necessary. The most consistent way to reach someone is via email.
WORSHIP & LIVE STREAMS
For at least the next three Sundays, March 15, 22 & 29, Trinity will provide a live stream of a single and simplified worship service at 10 AM with a minimum of worship leadership onsite, including pastors, limited musicians, and tech support. Details and links will be communicated at trinitylutheranchurch.com/livestream. We will continue to evaluate the situation and make determinations for Palm Sunday, April 5, and beyond in the coming days and weeks.
Live streams for some form of Wednesday Lenten worship will also be offered at 6:30 PM on Wednesdays through closure.
Plans for other live stream opportunities like bible study, reflection, prayer and devotion are in the works and will be communicated to the Trinity community as more planning happens.
Trinity Preschool will close for at least 4 weeks, through the end of their spring break ending April 10, and will evaluate further closure in the coming days and weeks.
Trinity Child Development Center will close for at least 2 weeks, March 16-27, with the hope of reopening on a limited basis March 30, and will evaluate and extend closure as appropriate based on recommendations and guidance from Snohomish Health District and the State of Washington.
OFFERING AND GIVING TO TRINITY
To help support the ongoing financial health of Trinity, if you have not already, please consider transitioning to online giving (via GivePlus app on Android or Apple, or our online giving site). Alternatively, offerings can be mailed to the Trinity office. Thank you for your ongoing and generous support of Trinity and all of its ministries.
Trinity is committed to walk along the community in times of bounty and times of uncertainty. As a community of faith called to create spaces to experience the love of God and the care for one another, building one another up, and walking alongside one another, please continue to hold all affected by this epidemic in prayer. It is our prayer and hope that everyone in the Trinity community will experience the support and care of God, to whom all belong.
~ Pastor Hector Garfias-Toledo
Update for March 10, 2020
Link to email sent on March 10.
Decisions will be made on a week-by-week basis to hold events and activities:
Trinity Calendar is kept up-to-date for specific meetings and events. With any questions, contact the Trinity office.
Update for March 6, 2020
In response to recommendations given to regional faith leaders by King County Public Health (summarized in a message from Bishop Shelley Bryan Wee), Trinity will be altering the Sunday communion practice and serving bread only, because "the Health Department advises against sharing liquids... As Lutherans, we trust that Christ is fully present in both elements of Holy Communion."
Furthermore, all are advised to avoid dipping hands or fingers into the baptismal font, and for the time being, the font will be moved to a higher platform in the sanctuary.
A Message from Pastor Hector Regarding COVID-19
March 4, 2020
Dear siblings in Christ,
Receive greetings in the name of the Lord as we continue walking this Lenten journey.
As we begin this month, we encounter new challenges that lead us to be a community that witnesses to the love, care and compassion of the Lord as a new viral infection (the coronavirus, aka COVID-19) is affecting the community around us.
I am writing today to ask for your partnership in addressing this health concern, and prayers of protection for everyone in the community and the congregation. The leadership of Trinity Lutheran Church and Schools is working on identifying safe ways to continue to minister.
First and foremost, we are carefully following all directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Snohomish Health District (SNOHD), in our worship and meeting spaces as well as our schools.
At this time, per the CDC's current risk assessment, "most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus," and for those people, "immediate health risk is considered low." As such, the plan for now is to continue holding events, meetings, classes and worship at Trinity as usual. Of course the situation is evolving, and we will continue to closely monitor changes in directives from the CDC and SNOHD. Updates to Trinity's plans will be communicated to the community as they emerge.
In the meantime, we encourage everyone to participate in general precautions that can help minimize the risk to one another:
Finally, please join together in praying for God’s help to guide governments, agencies, institutions, families and individuals to act wisely and effectively to minimize exposure to the disease, even as we pray for God's healing power to touch those already affected by the disease.
We want everyone to know that we are aware of the situation, and more importantly that you are well-informed about how Trinity Lutheran Church and Schools will respond to the emerging situation, so we will be updating our website regularly and continue to send updates to everyone as they become relevant.
If you have any specific questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of the Trinity staff.
Thank you so much for your prayers and ministry.
Pastor Hector Garfias-Toledo