Navigating the COVID-19
The Highland Church values the health and well-being of our staff, congregation, and communities we serve in the name of the Lord.
With the announcement from Governor Cuomo in the State of New York concerning the pandemic coronavirus outbreak, we are facing one of the most challenging times for churches around the world, including the Highland Church. Congregants must be informed and prepared. Both the Governor and the Mayor have predicted that things are going to become worse before they get better.
The Government authorities have put into place limitations of 500 people in public gatherings, which would prevent our usual larger congregational meetings. We have to balance our gatherings with sensible safeguards, even if it means that suspending some meetings will help reduce "the spread" of the virus.
In addition to regular office hours, the church will remain open on Wednesdays and Sundays for services, but we will take precautions during this time. Thus, I advise some of you who typically attend our 10:30 am service to please visit the 8:00 am service, so the 10:30 am service will remain under 500 as mandated by the State. I would further advise some who attend the 8:00 am service to shift to the 7:00 am service so we can evenly space out attendance in the authorized number.
This is what we will do:
1. We will take precautions during this time, including frequent disinfecting and cleaning of our building.
2. We will practice 'Social Distancing.' Our Main Sanctuary is large enough for adequate spacing between congregants. We ask that at least two empty seats be left between each person, except family groups. Giving hugs, shaking hands, and the like should be replaced with bumping elbows, hands over the heart, or tapping feet with each other.
3. We will shorten our service time, refrain from (laying of hands) prayer-touching, altar call-touching, and eliminate the after-service gathering.
4. Food and beverage services will be suspended.
5. We will suspend ministry events and meetings except those directly related to churchwide worship services.
6. Senior Adult ministries and programs will be suspended primarily so that those at risk are best protected.
I certainly encourage all congregants to exercise general good hygiene and commonsense wisdom. Statistically, children and young ones are less vulnerable to severe illness or death from this virus. However, I advise those over 60 and particularly over 70 who are most vulnerable to this virus to use discretion with regard to attending church services. If you should come, be mindful of safe distancing. If you are not feeling well, please stay home from church. If anyone has traveled to affected countries or have been exposed to someone with flulike symptoms, please, please, stay home and seek medical attention. Anyone who presents with illness should be quarantined and be cured entirely before they participate in any aspects of the church service.
In an effort to make it possible for you to participate in worship while at home, I invite you to watch our online worship service on Facebook, Youtube, or our Website at www.highlandny.org. DVD's & CD's are available for a nominal donation.
We want to do everything possible to keep up with the regulations to control and ward off this accursed Coronavirus. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will provide further advice and updates as appropriate.
Whether we meet corporately or individually, we need to be in fervent prayer that the proper vaccine, drugs, and medications will be discovered and Coronavirus might be arrested, restrained, or eliminated through the help of our Lord!
We understand that the uncertainty and confusion surrounding the pandemic nature of this virus can cause stress. If you are anxious, worried, or overwhelmed, please know that you are not alone. Please reach out to us at 1 (718) 297-7475 or via Facebook messenger, or Instagram DM. Our pastors, prayer warriors, and staff will be happy to speak with you.
May God Bless and Keep You,
Ps. Subash Cherian