(edited to reflect updated information)
Dear First Parish Community,
As the situation with COVID-19 has developed, the Board of Trustees has determined that the risk to our congregation is too high to continue in-person activities.
As of March 15th, no church services or in-person meetings will occur as a part of the First Parish community until it is safe for in-person contact. For clarity, There will not be in-person church services. The All Members Meeting, BOLA, and all other gatherings have also been postponed.
Many First Parish activities, including Sunday services, are now being conducted online. Please see our events calendar & services page for more information.
This is a decision that we have not made lightly, but we would rather our congregation be healthy and safe than put at risk.
We acknowledge that for many of our community, church is more than just a spiritual home. It’s a place where we find friendship and family. To continue meeting these needs of our members, we will be looking at options for staying in touch spiritually and as a community. We will be sending out information soon about new options for staying connected.
Our Caring Committee will also be at the ready to deliver needed supplies to members who are ill or cannot leave the house. They can contact by phone, deliver food, prayer shawls, flowers, shop for prescriptions, help with calls to doctors, etc. However, they are under strict guidelines not to have person-to-person contact (even if they have not been diagnosed with COVID-19) and will only leave packages at the door. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with them.
In the meantime, we encourage everyone to follow the guidelines from the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Health to protect themselves and their families:
- Stay home unless absolutely necessary. Limit trips to public places, like stores, as much as possible.
- Refrain from in-person contact with those outside your household. Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited in Massachusetts (as of 3/23/20).
- Stay at least 6 feet away from people who are not part of your household, at times you do need to go out.
- Wear a mask or other secure face covering (covering mouth and nose) when in public (per Massachusetts order, in effect 5/6/20).
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your face, particularly eyes, nose, and mouth, with unwashed hands.
- Cough & sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, and throw the tissue away.
- No-contact greetings — refrain from hand shaking. Use a wave or get creative with a salute, a bow, peace sign, or other no-contact greeting instead.
- Avoid sharing items such as pens, water bottles, utensils, towels, lip balm, etc.
You can find up-to-date recommendations on the CDC website:
We will revise this plan as needed as the situation and recommendations change. Updates will be sent by email and posted on Facebook and the website.
First Parish Board of Trustees, 3/14/20