• Josh Linman

Our Response To COVID-19

Updated: Mar 13

Common Table family and friends,


Peace to you as we wander in this Lenten wilderness…and this year is proving to be a unique wilderness, indeed!


I want you to know that your leaders and I have been monitoring the unfolding situation with COVID-19 to determine a path forward that is both wise and loving.


The more we have talked and researched, the more we feel the right move for us is to shift all of our interactions into the virtual space for the time being. We came to this decision based on a few factors:


  • We are trying to be wise and loving. While this might seem like an over-reaction, these are not normal times. Every time we gather together in a group setting there is the potential that the virus could be spread. We believe operating “as normal" is both un-wise and un-loving because we would be taking a chance with other’s wellbeing, especially older adults and folks with chronic health conditions and compromised immune systems.

  • We want to help slow the spread of COVID-19, not be part of the problem. If every organization and group would cancel community gatherings (and many already are) the rate of the transmission of this virus would slow down (flattening the curve) to something more manageable for our healthcare system to respond to.

  • There are ways for us to connect virtually. The church is only the church when it gathers together but new technology allows us to gather in all kinds of ways. Below are some of the ways we have created to stay connected by video, phone, text messages, a Facebook group, etc.


Here’s how we will be connecting over the next couple of weeks:


Sunday Worship

Effective this Sunday, March 15, we will move our regular 10:00am Sunday worship gathering to Zoom, an online meeting platform. We will gather this way through the end of March and then re-evaluate. This technology is incredible and allows real-time, interactive gatherings. We will sing, we will pray, we will read scripture, we will even share communion (you will need your own bread and wine/grape juice!). If you’d like to, you can even set-up online or text-based giving. There are multiple ways to connect to the Zoom platform (computer, smart phone, and land line) and instructions can be found below or on our website.


Zoom connection options:

  • On your computer or smart phone: https://zoom.us/j/872566593

  • To hear audio only, on your mobile phone tap the numbers below for auto dialing: +16465588656,,872566593#

  • Dial in by land line phone: Call 646-558-8656 (when prompted, enter this code: 872 566 593)

You can test this number and link at any time! If you have trouble or need help with any of this, please call me (404-939-1715)


Table Groups

We will also gather via Zoom for our Table Groups through the end of March. I have used Zoom for weekly group coaching for the last few years and while it might take a little while to adjust to, it offers a robust opportunity to connect and be part of community, even at a distance! Instructions for joining these groups will be emailed to participants and available on our website.


Check-Ins

We want to provide the opportunity for people, and especially our seniors, to remain connected in this time. We will be recruiting a few folks to make weekly (or more often) phone calls to check-in on our seniors and pray with them. If you’d like to be part of this, email me.


Facebook Group

We have launched a private Facebook group to be able to share prayer requests, post and talk about the readings from The Unvarnished Jesus, and just stay connected as a community.


In closing, I want to share this prayer that I found online that offers a helpful perspective in the midst of the unfolding events of our time:


Prayer for a Pandemic

Anonymous


May we who are merely inconvenienced

remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors

remember those most vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home

remember those who must choose between

preserving their health or making their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care

for our children when their schools close

remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips

remember those who have no safe place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money

in the tumult of the economic market

remember those who have no margin at all.

As fear grips our country, let us choose love.

During this time when we cannot physically

wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways

to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.

Amen.


If you have any questions or concerns or just want to talk through some of this, feel free to contact me at 404-939-1715.


Peace,

Pastor Josh

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a church for the common good

465 Clairemont Ave. 

Decatur, GA 30030

404-373 -1682

Common Table Decatur is a mission congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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