How we're responding to COVID-19

For information on resources, Sunday Worship, Community Meal & more please keep scrolling!

RESOURCES

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Note About Zoom: We’ve been watching the developments about Zoom (the platform we use for virtual worship), namely the security risksdata sharing practices, and lack of corporate transparency about those practices that have been discovered. We do want to note that most available technological platforms that allow us to interact live with one another have a variety of security and privacy risksWe are working on a few things to mitigate the Zoom-specific risks, one of which is having everyone in a waiting room before worship begins.

Zoom still remains the best platform for groups, as well as most easy to use for low-tech users. And, we want to make sure we’re doing all we can to ensure Zoom worship is a sacred and safe experience. It’s a developing situation, and this is what we know at the moment. We will keep you updated as things progress.

SUNDAY WORSHIP: Starting March 15, 2020, please join us for worship online or by phone for the foreseeable future until recommendations change.

To participate in worship online:

  1. Find the worship order online here.
  2. Anytime after 10:00am on Sunday, open up this website: https://zoom.us/j/863764547?pwd=eHQxQ2FQdUk0b3B3S2puWGdlaEIxZz09
  3. Enter: Meeting ID: 863 764 547 when prompted
  4. You should not need a password, but just in case it’s wonky, the password could be: 565541
  5. You will be placed in a Waiting Room until the service begins.
  6. When you get into the meeting, please mute yourself: At the lower left side of the Zoom window, there is an icon of a microphone. Please click it and put yourself on mute until you need to speak. You will know it is on mute when there is a red line through the microphone. We cringe at this request, and we have found that if people are unmuted during the service, we only hear their singing, and the group cannot hear the piano
  7. To unmute yourself, click the microphone with the red line through it.
  8. If your audio/sound is giving a lot of feedback, click the icon of a microphone so that there is a red line through it. Then, also mute your computer’s sound (in Apple computers, this is in the top right; in PC computers, this is on the bottom right). After you’ve muted yourself, and the sound coming from your computer, join by phone (info below) and participate that way.
  9. We do record the service and make it available to the public. If you would not like to make your face &/or name available in this way, please turn off your video and rename yourself during the service.

To participate in worship via phone call:

  1. Anytime after 10:00am on Sunday, dial: 1-929-205-6099
  2. Enter: Meeting ID: 863 764 547 when prompted and then press #
  3. You will be placed in a Meeting Room until the service begins.
  4. When you get into the meeting, please mute yourself: When you are in the meeting, find the “Mute” button on your phone. Press “Mute” and your will be on mute.
  5. When you want to speak, unmute yourself by clicking your phone’s “Mute” button. Please remember to click “Mute” again when you are done speaking.

If you are not able to join us live, no worries! Please watch the video on Facebook online here.

WEDNESDAY “BOOK & A BEVERAGE”: Starting March 25, 2020, please join us for a book study online or by phone. If you are interested, please contact Pastor Leah (leah@northeastumc.com or 641.780.2070) for information on how to join.

COMMUNITY MEAL: We will be doing the “Take Home” Community Meal model. People who come for the meal will be given a prayer card and hot meal in a to-go container, so they can eat without being exposed. We will communicate plans as they change.

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Zoom is an online platform that allows individuals and families to either call into worship via phone, or login via video conference. While it most certainly does NOT replace the experience of being together in the same space with our whole bodies & spirits, we are glad – given the circumstances – to have this technology and try this new experiment with you all. Whether or not you choose to Zoom in on Sundays, please know that the whole church community will be in our prayers.

IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL DISTANCING: We are making our decisions based on recommendations about how to keep the number of people with COVID-19 at a level that our healthcare system can manage. Chrissy Reding talks about why that’s important in a video we created HERE. There’s also a helpful info graphic about the kind of difference this response made during the 1918 Spanish Flu:

If changing our habits temporarily can help, then we want to do all that we can to love our neighbors and help our healthcare workers not have to make those terrible decisions due to shortages. It is important for us to remember one of Jesus’ most significant teachings: “This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends.” – Jesus in John 15:12-13

Communication Plan: Each day we are receiving new information, and needing to make new decisions. Updates will be emailed and then significant updates will either postal mailed to people without internet, or they will receive a phone call from the Northeast UMC Phone Tree (find your role in the phone tree here)

We also just had our new directory made – great timing! You can get an online version of from your pastors – let them know! (it is also being mailed to our members who don’t have email).

Taking Care of Yourselves & One Another
This is a time of anxiety and stress. We can feel it in our bodies, spirits, thoughts, feelings, and conversations with one another. We find that our bodies tighten, and we feel our fight or flight system prepare to be activated. Science tells us that taking deep, slow breaths can help us reset that fight or flight system. And our faith tells us that with every breath, we connect with Jesus through the Holy Spirit, remembering that God is vividly present with me/us and empowering us to respond to this crisis with calm and love. We invite you into that breathing prayer practice as well during this time. Breathing in… and out….

Here are also some other ways you can take care of yourself and others:

  • Wash your hands and reduce time spent in public.
  • Moderate news intake. Make sure you are getting information from trustworthy sources.
  • If you have to be in your home more than normal, arrange your space so that it is calming.
  • Practice deep breathing exercises or other methods of meditation and prayer.
  • Reach out for help: your mental health is important! Make sure you have a new directory so you can easily reach out to your pastors and fellow Northeast UMC community members!
  • Call each other! Those of us who are not in the more risky people-groups, call your church members to see how they are doing, and to ask what they need.
  • Share food and other essentials (like toilet paper) with friends and family and neighbors who need it, as well as continuing to support local food banks, shelters, and clinics are you are able.
  • Respond to violence against Asian Americans: more and more documented cases are streaming in of Asian Americans in our communities being mistreated and beaten due to perceived risk. 
  • Agricultural practices and animal welfare: While officials still debate the origins of COVID-19, new viruses often originate when animals are raised or sold in close confinement. This is particularly true for livestock raised under industrial agricultural practices, but can also be a problem for wild animals. 
    • ACTION: Join groups like Land Stewardship Project in advocating for a Farm Bill that rewards animal welfare and sustainable agricultural practices generally. On a personal level, discerning the importance of meat in your diet – such as for health or as an aspect of food traditions – can build intentionality around our eating practices, which could manifest as eating less (or no) meat, buying meat from local farmers, etc.
    • Click here to join Land Stewardship Project’s current campaign protecting Minnesotan’s ability to exercise free speech 
  • Cyber criminals have been sending fake coronavirus-themed emails designed to trick people into opening attachments that download malicious software. Some messages have impersonated The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Labor rights: “stay home if you feel sick” is not an accessible option to people who aren’t given paid sick time off through their jobs
  • Climate change: Climate change will result in more disease outbreaks like this one, yet the response to COVID-19 has already outstripped that of climate change in terms of global mobilization. 

(Many of these ideas were offered by the wonderful New City Church – Minneapolis)