Response to COVID-19

Mar 12, 2020

Dear Highrock Family,

Yesterday we spent several hours in conversation with the pastoral teams within the Highrock Network on how we might respond to the spread of COVID-19. We continued the discussion as a staff team and with a core of local leaders. 

As a result, we have decided to suspend in-person Sunday services and all official Highrock gatherings for at least the next two weeks. This includes our sacred space scheduled for this Saturday. 

The window for containment is closed...we now shift to slowing the spread of this illness. Meghan O'Rourke wrote in The Atlantic this morning: "Today, perhaps the best way to acknowledge this reality...is to embrace solitude...If you are privileged enough to skip an event or work from home, you may save lives—even though the lives you save may not be your own. It might be the life of your cousin with cancer, or your colleague’s brother, who has diabetes."

We agree that the best way to serve our neighbors is to slow the spread of this virus so that medical facilities and professionals are not overwhelmed by more patients than they can care for. Health officials have urged that gatherings of more than 25 people should be avoided. In smaller gatherings we are safest if we maintain social distancing, which includes remaining at least 3 feet apart and frequent hand washing. 

If you are interested in the science of why distancing matters, these two articles (Cancel Everything and Flatten the Curve) are resources that have helped us make this decision.

While I lament losing our regular Sunday gatherings, I wonder what invitations God may be giving us in this season - and new ways we might connect to each other and our communities. Our staff team is exploring ways to connect our church community virtually, including the option of gathering online this Sunday morning. We will send out more information about this soon.

In addition, we are looking into ways that we can serve those who are impacted by either the disruptions caused by COVID-19 or by the disease itself.  We want to develop ways we can serve others in this anxious, difficult time. If you have ideas of what would be helpful for you and your family, please share them with us at info@highrockhaverhill.org.

Finally, I want to say THANK YOU to those who are on the front lines fighting this pandemic.  Let’s pray for those who are working even harder to protect everyone else, and in many cases, facing much greater risks. 

In the meantime, check in on each other. If you have needs, share them with others in your small group, your circle of friends, or online using this form. We are a body together, not characterized by fear, but by love. This moment provides an opportunity to frame our response not in the context of panic or overwhelming anxiety, but as care. 

Love,

Matt, Marcus, Kristi-Lynn and Katy