Update March 14, 2020

A full update has been posted here: https://jackson.church/jackson-church-update/

Update March 13, 2020

We are going to be live-streaming on Sunday morning! Stay tuned for details.

Jackson Arts Ministry (JAM) is suspending all classes temporarily. More information is on the JAM site.

Updated March 12, 2020

As you know, there are a lot of concerns and uncertainties about Coronavirus. We are concerned about the safety and well-being of our church and community. At this point, we are continuing as usual with our ministries and worship. Below is our action plan.

Jesus calls us to be a light in dark places and in dark times, so for us to be a light in this time for our community, it is necessary to stay spiritually and physically healthy. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” As you will read below in our action plan, we are taking steps to ensure that both our spiritual and physical health needs continue to be met by the church and ministries.

What is Jackson Church doing concerning current and future facility upkeep?

As far as our physical building is concerned, our staff has increased the cleaning and disinfecting protocol above our normal means, with heightened sensitivity for all levels of ministry.

IF necessary, how would a decision to close Jackson Church and its ministries be made?

There are two scenarios in which we would close:

  1. We might be required by the state or local governing authorities to close the church due to the health concern.
  2. The decision to close our church could be made in consultation with local health officials, our Board of Trustees, and the pastor if such an action becomes necessary.

What IF we need to close our church?

IF we decide to close temporarily, we would send an email to you concerning any decision and include links to that week’s scripture, sermon, prayer concerns, and giving. Plus, we would keep you informed through email and our website of any changes or pertinent information.

IF such a decision is made, JAMSunbeam, and our other ministries would also be canceled. They are currently formulating action plans pertinent to the specific needs of their ministries. The action plans are being designed so that the spiritual needs of our members and constituents will continue to be met to the best of our abilities. If you are directly involved in any of these ministries, we will notify you of any changes necessary from the norm by email, listing it on our website, and on a sign placed on the church door.

From UMC.org

Coronavirus: What to know, how to help
With new cases being diagnosed seemingly every hour, the question of “How concerned should I be about Coronavirus?” is being asked by many around the world. 

The first cases of Coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, were diagnosed in China in December 2019. Since then, the illness with pneumonia-type symptoms, has spread to 37 nations to-date, including countries where United Methodists reside and attend church. 

While places where people gather in close proximity, such as worship services, may be vulnerable, there are simple steps to take to limit risks, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Above all, anyone feeling unwell should stay home and seek medical care.

Other tips include:

  • Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Maintain social distancing. Keep 3 feet or 1 meter between yourself and anyone who is sneezing and coughing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Viruses can live on surfaces, where your hands may touch. Once on your hands, the virus may enter your body.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissue immediately.
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Call ahead for an appointment to limit your exposure to others.
  • Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider. Stay up-to-date on Coronavirus by checking reliable sources, such as the WHO, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and Global Health Tracker.

Staying healthy is in our DNA

Discussing health in the church dates back to John Wesley, who wrote extensively about staying physically healthy, as well as spiritually healthy. Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, in a recent blog post, reminds United Methodists that holding spiritual and social holiness together is a “mark of Methodist distinction.”

Particularly as we move through the Lenten season, Stanovsky encourages all United Methodists to practice reasonable precautions to stay virus-free.

Staying calm tops of the list of how to respond to Coronavirus, writes Bishop David Bard. The Michigan bishop has asked the Conference Disaster Response Coordinators and the Conference Committee on Finance and Administration to consider how congregations can best respond to the global health crisis.

“There is no need for immediate action,” Bard writes. “But now is a good time to calmly assess the possible impact on our local churches if an outbreak occurs in Michigan.”

How to help

The United Methodist Church, through UMCOR, has been helping with the crisis in China since early February when the United Methodist agency issued an emergency grant to an organization working to limit the spread of Coronavirus in China.

Funding for all continued assistance is being provided through UMCOR’s Global Health fund. Learn more, including how to give to Advance #3021770, at advance.umcor.org.

Additional Resources:
Ocean County Health Department
New Jersey Department of Health
National Institutes of Health 
World Health Organization (WHO)
Global Health Tracker