Coronavirus Update

Friday, April 2, 2021

Greeting from the Session during Holy Week,

We miss being together so much! We wanted to take a moment to celebrate the progress we have had in the Spokane community in slowing the spread of Covid-19 and the expansion of the vaccine! It is amazing! We hope most of you will get vaccinated as soon as you can as we continue to pray for everyone’s health!

After reviewing the latest information from Washington State, Session has decided to target May 16th as our return to in-person worship. As you would expect, service will look different from the past. The most notable changes include: pre-registering attendance, signing health attestations statements, social distancing/mask wearing, no passing of the peace, no food or drink served. We are hopeful with recent changes we may be able to sing as a congregation (masked), but guidance for all singing has been changing on a daily basis.

To address concerns of those who are not ready to return to in-person worship AND to continue to minister to people who have joined us because we have been virtual, we will continue to offer online virtual services in tandem with in-person service. In recent Stained-Glass Window Talks, Scott has discussed the many considerations going into our decisions.

Primary considerations for re-opening in-person worship:

  • We are early into the vaccine distribution and are monitoring its impact.

    • New variants of Covid-19 give concern about rapid spread/unknown how vaccines will have impact.

  • Creating a virtual option for those not ready while having a live service (new tech and staff needed)

  • Our beautiful building’s design presents unique challenges to the social distancing guidelines.

Secondary complications with January windstorm and February water leak:

  • Devastating water damage to the nursery has crippled us for using that space. (Destroyed carpets, remaining asbestos and wet drywall removed. Rebuilding still needs to happen). We need to create nursery and elementary education Covid-safe spaces while basement is being restored.

    • In February, the City noticed we were leaking hundreds of gallons of water. After many exploratory sessions with contractors, we have stopped the bleed by turning off the water in the east part of our building until the wisest long-term and most cost-effective solution is found.

So, what is next?

· VIRTUAL TOWNHALL: On Monday, April 12th, at 7 PM we will be hosting a virtual Townhall to discuss these decisions and seek feedback about what you are feeling and how we can best meet many different needs in our community.

· IN PERSON PILOT: We would like to start with a pilot small group (around 25) in May and hope to open up to the whole as early as Pentecost, May 23rd, assuming we can be ready.

· REOPENING COORDINATOR: We are in process of hiring a Reopening Coordinator to help facilitate reopening and assist in following established guidelines. If you know of anyone who would be interested, please send them our way! We will also need LOTS of volunteers.

CONGREGATIONAL SURVEY: A survey will be sent to your email to hear from you and get a sense of interest and comfortability in returning to in-person worship. We’d love to hear your thoughts! If you are not an online person, we will ask you to call us at the church office and we can fill it out with you!

OTHER CONNECTION/WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES: We will continue to look for creative outdoor opportunities for worship, service, or connection similar to what we have done in the past at Spokane FAVs as well as virtual coffee hours if there is interest.

Thinking of all the most vulnerable has been our mission behind these prayerful decisions! While many of our 60-plus members are getting vaccinated, we are aware of many adults in the 30's-50’s who have health issues that put them at higher risk. We are excited a light is forming at the end of the tunnel!

Lastly, our re-opening committee has had a wonderful cross section of professionals to make these complex decisions. Session members serving on the committee have professional expertise in risk assessment, Hospice, mental health, nursing, business management, and pastoral care. The committee then invited others with expertise with our children, an educator with experience with our Regional Health District, and a medical doctor who works with all generations.

We hope the recent Washington State Covid-19 updates allowing for increased connectional opportunities brings you a sense of hope as it has to us. We will miss you this holy week specifically and look forward to seeing many of you in May.

Peace and love to you all,

Manito Presbyterian Elders and Building Re-Opening Committee

Joey Addington Zak Cannard—Chair

Zak Cannard Pamela Starbuck

Janine Wikoff Shelly Owen

Shelly Owen Shari Williams

Shari Williams Darla Weber

Chris Murphy Jenny Almgren

Ruth Seignemartin Dr. Kelly Grieves

Ruth Seignemartin

Monday, April 27, 2020

In this episode of FāVS Forward, Revs. Scott and Pamela Starbuck of Manito Presbyterian Church talk about how they’re connecting to their congregation in creative ways during the pandemic, including surprise social-distance visits, music and reaching out to youth.

Listen here.

For our online worship services during coronavirus, click here.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Dear church family,

It seems that information on the COVID-19 / Coronavirus changes hourly. As Christians, we want to be proactive and solidly rooted in Christ, and not overly reactive to fear or panic. At the same time, we want to be leaders in loving behaviors for members of our church community as well as responsible partners in our beloved community of Spokane. Because of this, out of an abundance of love and care, we will beta-test a different way of being church this weekend and next week.

Because of our deep concern for the well-being of our church and community, beginning Sunday March 15, 2020 we will be cancelling all programming, events, and activities. We are taking a Lenten Sabbatical and possibly beyond to ensure we are doing all we can to keep COVID-19 / Coronavirus from spreading. This includes the cancellation of all scheduled meetings, rehearsals, and Sunday worship on our church campus. Instead, we will be sending out email links to online church this Sunday including a homily, children’s message, prayers, and music. We deeply appreciate weekly participation in your stewardship commitments during this period by mailing in contributions or using our online giving through PayPal https://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/ManitoPresbyterian. Thank you.

Each week we will update the congregation as to our plans and any changes to what is listed above. Since we are trying to be proactive, it may be the case that we are able to prudently return to gathered gatherings soon, perhaps even next week. Let’s look to this week as a chance to “practice ahead of time” to be good stewards of our actions.

Please check the church website and your email for these updates. If the church office does not have a current email for you, please notify the church office at your earliest convenience (509.838.3559).

As we continue on this Lenten journey unlike any other, please remember to check on neighbors, friends, and church members. Communication, support, and reassurance are ultimately important.

You can reach our staff members through their emails and phones.

• Dr. Scott Starbuck, scotts@manito.org, 216.3602

• Rev. Pamela Starbuck, pamelas@manito.org, 590.9772

• Shelly Barber, shellyb@manito.org.

We will continue to review and adapt on a day to day basis.

--The Session and Pastoral Staff

Manito Presbyterian Church

401 East 30th

Spokane, WA 99203