Dear Greenwood Forest Family,
We would like to update you on how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our community life. We continue to remain in prayer for those affected either directly or indirectly by the pandemic. We also know that Gov. Cooper has ordered gatherings the size of our Sunday worship service be cancelled, so we are cancelling in-person services for the foreseeable future. The situation continues to be fluid, so we do not have a firm answer on how long this cancellation will last. All church activities on our campus are cancelled, as well.
City BBQ is still honoring the Together We Build fundraiser that we had planned for this Wednesday, but the meal option is take-out only. Their manager has assured us that they are taking extra precaution, so if you feel comfortable ordering take-out at this time, you are welcome to order a to-go meal to go from them tomorrow. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds will go towards our debt elimination campaign. You’ll need to show them this flyer:
Remember that we make these decisions out of both an abundance of caution and a concern for the vulnerable people in our congregation and in our wider community, as well. God calls us to care for one another, and that concern is guiding all our decisions. Drastic action now saves lives.
A reminder of the actions we have already taken in our community:
- In-person services and programs are cancelled.
- The church office is closed until further notice.
- Meetings will be conducted via video or teleconference.
- In-person visitation is suspended by both lay-caregivers and staff.
Many of you have asked how you can help our community in the wake of the pandemic, and we have some answers for you on that front, as well. If you are in a position to help others in any of the following ways, please do so! However, if you are at-risk of COVID-19 or displaying symptoms, please stay home and keep yourself and others safe.
Here are ways you can help:
- Dorcas Ministries will need extra donations. Dorcas has already reached out to area churches because they are anticipating high demand on their food pantry. Many hourly workers will have fewer hours and many people will have less money as a result. Most Americans do not have savings to fall back on in an emergency, so Dorcas will be helping these families make ends meet. You can drop off donations at Dorcas (187 High House Rd, Cary, NC 27511; Hours are Monday – Friday 10am-5:30pm and Saturdays 9am– 4:30pm) or you can order on Amazon and have them deliver to Dorcas as long as delivery services continue to operate as normal. Visit Dorcas’ website to find out about current needs; you can shop off their Amazon wishlist if you can’t leave home. You can also manually ship alternative brands (because some may be out of stock) to Dorcas.
- Children need meals normally provided by the school system. With the school closings, many children will go without meals normally provided by the school system. In light of that, the Western Regional Food Security Taskforce (an umbrella group that helps direct the Neighborhood Summer Program/FFF, chaired by Rev. Workman at the Kirk of Kildaire) is setting up curbside meal service at multiple locations in Western Wake County. Local churches, including ours, the Kirk of Kildaire, White Plains United Methodist, and more, are providing volunteers for the Arbors of Cary and Briarcliff sites, both of which are within a few minutes of the church. Lunch would be at Briarcliff and Dinner at Arbors. For those who lack transportation, separate arrangements are being made with local first responders helping out. Meals are coming from Boston Market and will be served at no charge to families, who will drive through and pick up meals. Volunteers are only setting up and handing out food; you will not do any food preparation. You can sign-up to distribute meals here. Check back regularly for slots that open up.
- Help fellow church members with the Missions Assistance Fund. The Missions Assistance Fund was set up so that as a community we could meet the needs of fellow church members in crisis. In the aftermath of COVID-19, some of the people you go to church with may experience a loss of income or other resources because of economic constraints caused by the pandemic. If you’d like to be ready to assist those in need, you can make a donation to the Missions Assistance Fund.
- Shop at local businesses while staying safe and sanitary. Hourly workers will be hit hardest by social distancing and any economic slowdowns as a result of the pandemic. Be sure to check with your local restaurants, stores, and other small businesses about their hours and sanitary practices so you can help them stay open and prevent layoffs, wage depreciation, and a broader economic downturn. Stay safe, but you can also help out those around you by creatively engaging in your normal practices. Consider picking up takeout or ordering delivery from local restaurants, buying ebooks and audiobooks from your local bookseller, or even purchasing a giftcard online from a local shop you normally frequent as a pledge to bolster their business later.
- Stay in contact with your fellow church members and see what they need. Faith Formation and Small Group participants should keep in touch with each other via phone or video call to help each other with feelings of social isolation. Keep in mind CDC guidelines about the mental health of yourself and others during this time. If you are in one of the at-risk populations (as defined by the CDC here), consider having goods delivered to your house instead of obtaining them yourself (your grocery store and even your pharmacy likely delivers or uses a service like Instacart). If you need things that cannot be delivered, please fill out this form to be paired with a church member who is not at-risk and willing to help. If you are a non-at-risk person and would be willing to run an errand for someone (e.g., pick up groceries), fill out this form to volunteer. Avoid as much physical contact as possible when handing off goods (e.g., no hugs, handshakes, etc.). Please be patient with the logistics of this ministry as it entirely depends on volunteer willingness and availability; a request made is not guaranteed on any timetable. This is not for immediate, emergency needs.
We will continue to livestream the service on Sundays so that we can all participate in worship together. If you had technical difficulties getting the livestream to work, please send in an email with a detailed description of what went wrong so we can assist you. In the meantime, stay tuned for other opportunities for discipleship and fellowship in the days to come.
Much of our Scriptures were written in times such as these. Consider these words of the Apostle Paul as we journey through this new wilderness together: “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:3-6, NRSV). God goes with us in trying times and God will not leave us. Be in prayer for each other, for your neighbors, and for the world.
In Christ’s peace,
Rev. Lauren Efird
Rev. Dr. Stephen Stacks
Rev. Wesley Spears-Newsome