To The Gathering Church family,
By now, you probably know about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S. and have heard the concerning news that we have had a few confirmed cases in the Tampa Bay area. This morning the Pasco County Health Department recorded that there is a confirmed case of this virus inside of Pasco. You probably also know that I am NOT someone given to fear or panic in the face of alarming media reports. But I do believe in being wise (Matthew 10:16), protecting and caring for your family (1 Timothy 5:8), and doing all you can to remain healthy (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) so you can do the work God has called you to. So, I want to give you an update on how we are responding to local concerns about the coronavirus.
As of this moment, the Florida Department of Health has not recommended any closures or event cancellations for our area. Because of this, church services will continue as normal at our new service times of 10:00 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. But we are taking some extra precautions—and we’re asking our church family to do the same:
- In addition to our regular cleaning, which is always thorough, we are being proactive with the sanitation of areas that experience high levels of contact. This especially includes our children’s ministry areas, which will be sanitized before and after each service.
- We will post hand sanitation stations at the front door, and we encourage you to use them—especially if you like to shake hands with your church friends.
- We will post hand sanitation stations in the G-Kids area, and we will encourage your children to use them throughout the day.
- If your child is sick, please keep him or her at home until they are well. Any child who is visibly ill will not be allowed to stay in the G-Kids area in order to protect other children and prevent the spread of disease.
- If you are ill, we would ask that you please stay home and take care of yourself. We love you, and we want you to be with us. But it’s more important that you get well and do your part to prevent the spread of any illness. You can also watch our services online here: https://gatheringchurch.cc
- WASH YOUR HANDS! This seems like common sense, but it bears repeating because, it is the single most important thing you can do to stay healthy. Wash your hands frequently and for at least twenty seconds—and teach your children and grandchildren to do the same. Tip: Have them sing “Happy Birthday” while washing their hands.
Remember that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Use that sound mind and practice common sense, and let’s help each other stay healthy—both during this time of public concern and all of the time. Most of all, let’s remain in prayer, not just for our safety and the safety of those we love, but for our entire community and each person who has been impacted by this virus.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us, and we’ll do our best to answer your questions. For the most up-to-date information about this virus and how it’s impacting the State of Florida, you can visit www.floridahealth.gov or call 800-245-4444.
Blessings to you and your family—be well!
Pastor Brad White