729 Morse Street
San Jose, California 95126
As We Prepare for Tomorrow (posted 3/14/2020)
posted on March 14
Dear El Camino Real District Pastors, Lay Leaders, and SPRC Chairs,
I sent my last email on Thursday, but two days ago already feels far in the past with the new updates and guidance from public health departments. Some of you had to make a very difficult last-minute decision as you carefully weighed the importance of physical communal worship against the safety of each individual member. Thank you for letting me know and I fully support your decision. Please hold in prayer and be open to sharing ideas among the following churches in the El Camino Real District suspending their in-person worship services.
-San Ramon Valley
-Wesley, San Jose
-Santa Clara Valley Korean
-San Jose First
-Palo Alto First Tongan
-Wesley, Palo Alto
-Palo Alto First
-St. Paul, Fremont
-St. Paul’s San Jose
For the churches continuing to hold their in-person worship, know that I fully support your decision. Please be sure that all safety regulations are strictly followed. I also ask all of you to please check the updates on the conference website daily. I want to thank Los Altos UMC for leading the conference in online worship. For those of you using Los Altos worship, please give us your feedback as we experiment in this new format of worship. For those of you creating your own, let us continue to share ideas.
More than ever, this is a time when we need one another for support.
-Steve Lundin of Salinas First UMC shared with me that he will not be able to cancel his neighborhood ministry in light of coronavirus. He said, “There are churches that can cancel their programs and tell their people to go home. My people have no home to go to. If we don’t continue to serve, they will not survive.”
-A pastor of a church in the district with a high number of undocumented immigrant members shared with me that some of them have already lost their jobs. The pastor is scrambling to find a solution to keep the members safe. If this coronavirus situation worsens, many undocumented people will be the first to lose jobs. Sadly, many of them will not be receiving the support of the government.
-Recently, a pastor in the district has witnessed an act of blatant racism toward an Asian person in his community. Perhaps others of you have witnessed something similar in your community. There seems to be a general sense that it is okay to blame the virus on foreigners, especially those in Asia, from Asia, or those who appear to be from Asia.
-Many members in the district have jobs giving care to the elderly or in the healthcare profession. They will be spending a significant amount of time with those who are most vulnerable to coronavirus and in some cases risking their own health to provide medical care.
-Finally, there are pastors struggling with their own health as they care for their members.
Please hold these specific concerns in your prayers. We are in an unprecedented time. Our faith and ministries are tested more than ever before. Let us support one another as we continue to discern our path forward. Let us remember that we serve God who is greater than the challenges we are facing. I will be holding all of you in my prayer tomorrow.
D.S. Shinya Goto