Along with churches across North Carolina, we are taking seriously our calling to do all we can to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, which includes “social distancing” as the best preventative. In order to best do that, Asbury Church will only meet virtually on Sunday, March 15th for a 9:30am LiveStream. ALL on-campus events for the day will be cancelled including (9:30&11am Worship, LiveIt, Confirmation, 412, DASH, Q&A with the Pastor, Financial Workshop, and First Impressions/Hospitality Meeting). Our JOY Group cancelled their March meeting previously scheduled for Thursday. We encourage LifeGroups to make the best and safest decisions for their members during this time. We also plan to worship exclusively through LiveStream at 9:30am on Sunday, March 22nd as well.
We hope to see many of you online via our LiveStream on Facebook or on this website at asburyraleigh.org/live. For March 15, as Tom is on a planned vacation, Kevin Thompson and Jen Swindell will lead a slightly abbreviated service via LiveStream with the support of our dedicated band and technical team. Engaging in relationships where Christ transforms looks a bit different these days, as we’re facing a health event that is novel to us in many ways. We are blessed to have the technology to continue to meet together during this time.
In these times, please do all you can to help minimize the impact of a virus that has surpassed anything we could have imagined. Though the impact of this virus is great, we know our God is greater still. With God, the worst thing is never the last thing, and there’s no act too small to help to make someone else’s experience with the virus to be lessened, made easier, delayed, or avoided altogether.
A quote shared by Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
“For social distancing to be effective, it must begin early—so early that it may feel unneeded and silly. If we wait until its need is obvious, it is too late. The faith community has an important role to play in slowing the speed of disease transmission. Large gatherings of people are a petri dish for spreading the infection. For a period of time, I strongly urge our religious communities to suspend traditional services and gatherings and find other ways to practice and sustain our faith. Our witness and our example may save many lives, especially the lives of those at risk in our own congregations.”– Dr. Wes Wallace, adjunct professor of emergency medicine at the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Member of University UMC Chapel hill
Thank you for your flexibility and understanding in this time. Looking after all of God’s children matters – and a small action of adjusting our traditions and routines to reduce the spread isn’t giving into fear: it’s responding to the needs with the strategic and sacrificial love of the body of Christ.
When We Return to Campus…
As a place of worship which regularly holds large groups of people, Asbury, when we reassemble, plans on continuing to take proactive measures to help to keep all who enter our doors safe and to do what we can to help reduce the impact of the COVID-19 virus. It is our prayer this resolves quickly and these measures are very temporary, but we are prepared to stay the course to keep people as safe as possible. While we know that for a majority of people, this virus will have minimum impact, as people of God we are called to follow Jesus in favor of those who are vulnerable– to stand for the least, the lost, and the lonely– and want to share some ways in which we are doing just that.
- Encouraging non-contact greetings and fellowship – We pride ourselves on being a place that helps everyone engage in relationships where Christ transforms. For this season, we are asking and encouraging that all of us be mindful to limit handshakes, high fives, and hugs to those whom we know would be comfortable doing so. We do not always know who may be immunocompromised or live with someone who is or who may share other risk factors as a cause of concern. We are gifted with the ability to give warm welcomes and connect through our words.
- Offering Adjustments – We will not be passing an offering plate during this time, to limit the potential for any viruses to spread via many hands on that surface during this time. As always, we offer online giving options, and will have offering plates in place for those in worship to continue to support the ministries of Asbury Church.
- Hand Sanitizer – We have stations around the campus for you, as well as our restrooms which are fully stocked for hand washing. Please take advantage and practice good hygiene.
- Livestreaming Services – For those who are unable or uncomfortable in attending in person, we will continue our ministry of streaming worship at 9:30am via Facebook and our website.
- Being Mindful of Communion Practices – Asbury already takes care in communion, and has a tradition of following some of the most sanitary traditions in our communion practices. We are continuing to monitor the spread of the virus and best practices from WHO, CDC, and other churches and will adjust as needed for future communion.
- Youth and Children’s Ministry Taking Caution – These ministries will encourage hand washing both on the way in and out, and care will be taken to find alternative games, activities, greetings, and means of prayer to minimize physical contact and to help prevent the spread of illness.
- Temporarily suspending large gatherings for our most vulnerable – JOY’s Officers have chosen to cancel the March gathering to abide in best practices for our older adults to stay as safe as possible. Decisions for April and May will come as the time is closer, when we know better the scope and timeline of this impact.
- Availability to Those in Need – We, through the church office (919-847-2818) and our staff will be available to do what we can for those who need help in this time. We encourage the people of Asbury to look to neighbors, coworkers, and others who may need assistance with supplies, food, or other needs during this time. A healthy person adding a few items to their grocery cart to allow a more vulnerable individual to stay home could just be a life-saving gift.
- Continue to Gather in Worship – Whether virtually or in person, separate or together, we are still the Body of Christ and will continue to glorify God through worship, song, scripture, and sermon – even in the midst of our fears and our concerns – and no matter where we are located.