Serving our community

Hello, everyone!


I hope that everyone is staying healthy and safe during this time of craziness!


I know this time has been stressful and confusing for everyone, but I really believe that looking outside of ourselves and to how we can help care for our neighbors. We are told in Scripture to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:39) and do good and share with others (Hebrews 13:16) There are many ways that we can be helping during this time. I have compiled 4 ways that we can be helping our community during this time. Please read below for more information.


  1. Pray for our community

Pray for the health and safety of the elderly and immunocompromised people in our community.
Pray for the health and safety of the healthcare workers.
Pray for those out of work, that they would get work, food, and support.
Pray for people who don’t know Christ to see God’s grace and provision through this difficult time and that would point them to Christ..


*We will be sending out resources and information to people in our community and also asking for prayer requests, so if you’re willing to be praying for those requests as they come in, please email me back letting me know to put you on the list*

  1. Support Local Businesses

Many local business have been forced to close their doors for now and possibly for good because of this pandemic. We would love to support these local businesses by ordering takeout and gift cards in order to support their business. If you get takeout or delivery, don’t forget to tip the staff as much as you can.


If you don’t have any local businesses that you know in your area, here are some lists by neighborhood:

  1. Donate to food banks and local organizations

There are several organizations that have been stepping up and serving the community in this time. These centers are great resources and our money will be put to good use. 

  1. Volunteer

If you’re able, there are many ways we can be the hands and feet of Christ for our community. Check out any of the organizations listed below for how you can donate or volunteer.


Thank you so much for your heart to serve the community! I will be updating this list periodically, so please email me directly to let me know of any other opportunities you know of that can help the community. 


Please email me for any questions or concerns!

Thank you, Union!


Rebekah Calano, Deaconess of Justice & Mercy

Places to donate and volunteer

  • Capital Area Food Bank

    The Capital Area Food Bank is a leading provider of healthy food with people struggling with hunger and food insecurity. They have a clear action plan for helping during COVID-19, which you can read on their website.

  • Food & Friends

    This organization puts together food and supplies for elderly adults and sickly people in our community and we can help by putting together food packages and/or delivering them to houses.

  • So others might eat

    So Others Might Eat is looking for people to donate items in order to help the families if they get sick, please follow the link and scroll to the bottom of the page. 

  • DC Dream CEnter

    DC Dream Center works to meet the needs of our community, particularly youth. They are continuing to serve our community in the midst of COVID-19.

  • American Red Cross

    The Red Cross is facing a huge shortage of blood donors. Please consider finding a drive to visit and donate.

Public Gatherings Suspended

Dear Union Church,

 

I’m writing to let you know that, in alignment with DC’s State of Emergency and public health recommendations, we have decided it most appropriate to suspend public gatherings through March 31. This includes Sunday services, community groups, and our various learning groups. Resources will be made available in their stead.

 

This decision was not made lightly but out of a deep desire to act wisely and lovingly, especially to the members of Isle of Patmos Baptist Church. As we stated in the last letter, we will be making video devotions available to you along with study guides, prayer guides, and worship playlists.

 

During this time, we would encourage you to heed the guidance of the CDC and District officials. We will be sending out opportunities for you to serve our community.

 

Please let us know if you have any prayer or benevolence needs that we can meet in this time. Know that we are praying for you and love you all dearly.


Grace and peace,

Shaun

COVID-19 Response

On Sunday, March 8th, during announcements, we briefly addressed the COVID-19 Coronavirus and the effects it is having around the world and particularly in the DMV. We want to let you know how we are thinking through this situation and the impact it may have on our church body in the weeks (and potentially months) to come.

 

Please understand that we are not a source of information about COVID-19, nor a source of medical advice. If you want more information on that, you should visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Further, you should always seek medical advice from qualified medical professionals and we are not that. As your pastors, our purpose now is simply to let you know that we are thinking ahead about the ways we can mitigate the spread of illness during our weekly public meetings, and to ask for your help.

 

First, a brief recap of what we discussed on Sunday:

  • Medical experts advise that hand-washing is the best way to protect yourself and others from disease-causing microbes. Please be diligent in hand-washing. Additionally, we have hand sanitizer available at the hospitality table, children’s check-in, and the children’s room. 
  • During our greeting time, we will instruct everyone to forgo the handshake for a wave and a smile.
  • You will notice that we have switched from a common loaf of bread that we all tear from to individualized communion wafer/juice packets.

Second, a couple requests:

  • Please do not come to service if you have flu like symptoms.  If you or someone in your household has a fever at any point the week before Sunday’s service, stay home Sunday morning.  If you have volunteered to serve that Sunday, please email Shaun, Joey, and Alicia to let us know and we will find someone to fill your role in your absence. We will miss you, but we will look forward to seeing you when you are well. The sermon will be online by Tuesday.
  • If you have recently travelled to a country on the CDC list, please follow CDC protocols.

Finally, we want to share with you some thoughts on how we will move forward in the coming weeks:

  • We want to walk as people whose hope is in the Sovereign God of the universe. We do not panic, we do not fear. We pray.
  • We want to walk as people who trust the common grace that Sovereign God has given society. We listen to and trust medical and public health experts. They are gifts from the Lord.
  • We want to walk as people who love their neighbors. COVID-19 does not appear to  be threatening to younger (under 50) folks and their children. However, part of loving our neighbors, especially our older members, immunocompromised and elderly neighbors, is to adopt practices which protect them from infection (hand washing, social distancing, and if necessary, self-quarantine)
  • We, as a church, will follow CDC and DC government recommendations. Should that be to refrain from public services and gathering for a period of time, we will suspend in person gatherings and per their instruction and instead do the following:
  1. Stream a weekly homily and reflection from me to the church.
  2. Provide weekly study, prayer guides, and Spotify playlists.
  3. Provide opportunities for benevolence for those in highest need (both in the church and our community)
  4. Use our online platform to facilitate church communication and interaction.

Thank you so much, brothers and sisters, for your help and understanding in these matters. We certainly don’t want you to be worried about this, just prudent. And we want you to know that we are thinking ahead and taking some easy, common-sense steps as the situation dictates. Above all, even as we try to exercise wisdom in these circumstances, we trust in our sovereign God that he is working all things according to the counsel of his will and that he is in absolute control.

 

Sincerely,

The Elders of Union Church