Dear Zoe Family,
Our church leadership is alert to and active in monitoring the global health crisis and spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). We are deeply saddened by the loss of life of many around the world and pray for those who have fallen ill and those who are working tirelessly to care for others and minimize the impact of this virus. Please join us in those efforts to pray.
In a time of fear and panic in our world, we want to remind you that we are a church built on a confident expectation in our loving and faithful God that leads us to radiate peace to the world around us. We have a responsibility to remind one another that God is a refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. We aim to be a beacon of hope to those that are struggling during this season as well as be alert to opportunities to be used by God in blessing others.
We also want you to be reassured that we have a team of people considering the broad impact of the spread of the virus who are actively making plans about our next steps as the situation evolves. We are carefully monitoring the crisis through reliable sources such as the CDC, World Health Organization, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Orange County Health Care Agency and other local health agencies and are committed to staying informed each day. Here are some ways we are already responding to safeguard the health and safety of all who attend our church:
In our facilities…
- Our facilities team and custodial contractors have increased vigilance in the cleansing of touch surfaces where the coronavirus might reside. This effort includes restrooms, door handles, stair railings and countertops. You will also see additional hand sanitizer stations available around campus in strategic locations.
- Our preschool and children’s ministries have increased sanitization of the playground and classrooms, including the cleaning of stair railings, tables, chairs, toys and surfaces on a regular basis.
In our Sunday worship experiences…
- As of today, we have not yet made major changes to our schedule of ministry events nor our regular Sunday worship gatherings.
- In the meantime, we are prayerfully providing the following guidelines for consideration as a church family. We believe these guidelines will allow us to collectively and individually prepare appropriately:
- As our health professionals search diligently for a cure to this virus, be reminded that common health etiquette is always appropriate. By covering your mouth when you cough and regularly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, you not only protect yourself, but others as well.
- We will refrain from asking congregants to shake hands or hug their neighbor. Instead, we will simply say hello or rub elbows with our neighbors.
- If you believe you have an illness which is contagious, one of the most important things you can do to safeguard the health of yourself and others is to stay home. We appreciate the fact that you consider our weekly gatherings at Zoe Christian Fellowship to be one of the most important aspects of your lives. However, if you are experiencing persistent symptoms of coughing, fever, nausea, achiness, or any type of flu-like symptoms, we respectfully ask that you stay home and go to the doctor if needed.
- We are daily evaluating the possibility of producing our worship services in a way that would allow services to go on via our online Livestream capabilities. Should that be the case, we will of course communicate in advance through our digital communication channels, among which include emails, texts, the ZCF Mobile App, and the ZCF Website.
- If you are unable to attend one of our Sunday Worship services due to sickness, we want to remind you that you can continue to participate in live worship online via Livestream at our 10:30 AM Service.
- We are making available alternative means to engage in our worship experiences of community-building, the serving of communion, and the giving of offering.
In our staff…
- We are diligent to keep our staff informed via email communication and weekly staff meetings.
- We regularly remind our staff about the importance of vigilant personal hygiene such as the regular washing of hands, containing coughs and sneezes, minimizing contact with others, etc.
- We have asked staff who aren’t feeling well or have any symptoms of sickness to stay home and rest.
- We are also considering a plan to encourage staff to work remotely from home should our campus need to be closed.
In our city…
- We are encouraging our staff to think through ways that our ministries can be available to those in need through prayer, support, and resourcing.
- Should the situation worsen, we are developing a plan to invite our church to donate resources such as medical supplies, water, cleaning supplies, and food in anticipation of any assistance we can provide to those with greater needs in our city.
In our families and local communities…
- Check on the elderly and those most physically vulnerable to sickness. Call them, visit them (if safe to do so), and pray for them.
- Encourage those who are fearful and distressed. Forward Zoe’s spiritual resources through the digital platforms Zoe has made available.
In our spiritual lives…
- We are calling the church to fast for two weeks, Monday through Friday only. We will fast from Monday, March 16th to Friday, March 20th and then from Monday, March 23rd to Friday, March 27th. Each day during the fast, we will refrain from eating until 5pm, drinking only water or juice (pure liquids only please) until 5pm that day. We will culminate the fast at our late-night prayer meeting on Friday, March 27th, which will begin at 7:30pm and end at Midnight.
- Each missed meal should be substituted with a time of prayer, but we ask that you make an extra special effort to pray during your lunch hour, namely any time between 11am and 2pm.
- Our prayer focus will be as follows:
- Wisdom to respond to the crisis both naturally and spiritually (Proverbs 2:3-7)
- Protection (Psalm 91, Psalm 23, Proverbs 18:10, Proverbs 11:8)
- Healing (Exodus 15:26; Exodus 23:25; Psalm 91:3,6,10; Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 5:21-43; I Peter 2:24)
- Cure/Vaccine/End of the Crisis (Proverbs 2:3-7; Daniel 2:17-30; II Chronicles 26:5,15)
- Revival (II Chronicles 7:14)
- During the Fast, Dr. Joshua will post a daily video devotional for your encouragement. It will be accessible on the website, the mobile app, social media and the podcast subscription.
Again, we are committed to staying informed and monitoring the coronavirus situation. Should the crisis become a greater challenge for our local community and further adjustments or measures need to be taken, we will communicate those matters in a timely manner. Please continue to look out for digital updates.
We know that the uncertainty of this outbreak is creating anxiety in our workplaces, schools, and in day-to-day activities. In the midst of this, we remain confident in God’s unwavering presence and His careful attention to all that is happening. We trust God for His faithful care to us and, in all things, we will continue to seek and praise Him as His will is done.
Dr. Joshua and Bishop Ed
*In drafting this letter, we copied and adapted language from the public communication of two other churches, namely West Angeles Church of God in Christ and EV Free Fullerton. The Body of Christ is working together during this time.