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Samuel Hong
District Superintendent
Samuel Hong

Robyn Peterson
Sr. Administrative Assistant for El Camino Real District
Robyn Peterson

(408) 442-2450
729 Morse Street
San Jose, California 95126

Working Together in the Midst of the Viral Outbreak (posted 4/2/2020)

posted on April 02

El Camino Real District Pastors and Lay Leaders,
I pray this letter finds you well and safe.  I want to begin by thanking you for your leadership in such time as this!  I find great encouragement in the stories that I hear from you.  Stories of how you are going out of your way to help your neighbors who are elderly or are struggling to have food on their table.  Stories of how you are suddenly having to shift your life so that you are able to work at home and educate your children at the same time.  Stories of how you are learning to make videos of your worship to share with your members online for the very first time. Without a doubt, our faithfulness and leadership are counted upon as we are called to be witnesses of Christ in this tumultuous time.  
As we journey together in faith, I ask you to hold one another in prayer.  Pastor Charles Tran of Peace UMC continues to be ill after he returned from attending a conference in Florida.  Pastor Mariellen Yoshino of Almaden Hills UMC had a successful heart surgery and is now facing a long period of recovery.  Pastor Sunae Cho of Evergreen UMC, whose son Eddie is a surgeon in New York and has been on the frontlines working with coronavirus patients.  He tested positive for the virus two days ago.  Other prayers are yet to be shared but are affecting us deeply, Lord, hear these prayers.  
I want to share with you that provisional deacon Alyss Swanson, deacon Ken Schoon, and Lauren Michelle Stevens, a candidate on track to be an Elder, have been working tirelessly since the beginning of the outbreak to develop a system in the El Camino Real District to provide support for those in need in our communities.  I ask the pastors and church leaders to share this letter with as many of your members as possible and encourage them to fill out the forms.  For those who may struggle to read and answer in English, I ask each congregation to provide translation support so that the forms can be filled out.  Since we are heading into Holy Week, you may not have the time to begin this work immediately.  Please know that there is not a deadline, but the sooner we are able to do this work, the sooner we are able to support one another.  
In this post, you will find:
#1 A letter from Alyss, Lauren Michelle, and Ken about the district-wide support network
#2 Links to the forms to be filled out
#3 A link to a list of resources


D.S. Shinya Goto

Saturday, March 28, 2020
Dear United Methodists of the El Camino Real District,
             Much has changed for all of us in a very short period of time. As we all adjust to living under the mandatory social distancing and “shelter-in-place” orders necessary to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, many in our communities are facing unprecedented needs. Working under the direction of District Superintendent Shinya Goto, we are three local clergy (commissioned elder Lauren Michelle Stevens, deacon Ken Schoon, and provisional deacon Alyss Swanson) seeking to lay the groundwork for a mutual aid network to support vulnerable persons among the congregations and circuits of the El Camino Real District.
             A mutual aid network is a grassroots effort to connect people in need with those who have the time, ability, and resources to help. As organizers and facilitators, we will not be responding to requests for aid ourselves. Instead, we seek to empower and connect persons who may be able to help one another directly. The success of this effort will rely on the initiative, participation, and responsibility of local churches, circuits, small groups, and individual clergy and lay people.
We anticipate a need to help shop for supplies, groceries, and medicine for those most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19; provide childcare for essential workers; offer technical support regarding video conferencing to churches and church members; or match those who have lost jobs or income with sources of material aidIf you or someone in your community is in need of such support, we invite you to complete the following Assistance Request Form.
             If you would like to volunteer as part of this network, please complete the Volunteer Form. In order to minimize the risk of exposure to the most vulnerable, we are primarily asking for volunteers below the age of 60 who are in good health. Those at greatest risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19 include older adults (the increased risk begins at age 50 and increases with each additional decade) and those with underlying medical conditions. Please note, however, that COVID-19 can also be serious for younger adults in good health, and asymptomatic carriers may spread the virus to people who are vulnerable. It is important for every one of us to practice good personal hygiene (i.e. washing hands frequently, not touching your face) and appropriate social distancing (maintaining a 6 ft distance from those outside your household at all times).
             Lastly, we invite you to check out the following compilation of resources, including grocery stores with special hours, tips to help you get through your day at home, and sources of aid for newly unemployed or underemployed individuals. This compilation is a work in progress. Please contact us if you have any knowledge, expertise, or information to contribute for the health, safety, and good of the community. 

            Click here for the list of resources
            Thank you for supporting this effort—the more people that participate, the more it will be a success. More than ever before, may we be the church for one another. We are the body of Christ for such a time as this.
In grace and peace,
Lauren Michelle Stevens       
Ken Schoon               
Alyss Swanson

Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.