As with almost all our brothers and sister s in the State of New York, COVID-19 has forced us to changed the way in which we do ministry. We currently have separate services (Sabbath and mid-week prayer meeting) and other meetings for both churches online, using Zoom as our main delivery platform. We have made intentional strategic plans to keep in touch with our members and to provide general counseling as well as on an individual basis when needed. The Orion Pathfinder Club out of Jefferson Avenue is also using Zoom to conduct its weekly classes. Our main challenge comes from closing the food pantry because our current layout poses a risk of volunteers becoming infected by the virus. We know persons have been adversely affected, but we think the good far outweighs the bad. We also are challenged with returning tithes and offerings as some members have been laid off. However, we continue to encourage and offer support where possible.
To date, none of our members have been directly infected by COVID-19, however, at least one member has a sister who died from the virus in NYC and several others have relatives living outside of Rochester who have become ill due to it.
I met with some of my leaders on April 1, 2020 and made plans to have counselors trained in mental health and other related areas do presentations for our members and online listeners. We have been making scheduled robocalls to keep our members informed in addition to giving health tips. We are scheduled to start an online Bible study on April 20, 2020 with some interested individuals we had prior to the pandemic as well as members who want to join. In preparation for this, a training will be conducted the week before the study.
I pray that God will grant us the wisdom and patience to cope, as well as to minister to our congregants and those in need.
by Pastor Hanson Drysdale, Jefferson Avenue and Rochester Outreach Community SDA Churches