Wausau Alliance Church

Coronavirus Update

 

Update June 3, 2020, 3:40pm

Dear Wausau Alliance Church family,

We are so excited to gather physically as a congregation! It’s been way too long, and we are so excited to see as many of you as are able to attend. 

This Sunday, June 7, we will be meeting at 10 am on the church lawn (weather permitting). 

We will do our best to make any cancellation calls on Saturday evening by 7pm. This will be announced via our church app, as well as an email to our mailing list and a facebook post. 

As an important way for us to love our neighbors, we will be following social distancing practices for the foreseeable future.

Here are the key details to know:

  • Because we do not have projection capabilities outdoors, we will be singing familiar songs and providing the words to music on our church app–like an e-hymnal!
  • Rows to sit will be marked with orange reflective poles.
  • We will not be providing childcare or children’s programming.
  • We will not have bulletins or passing offering plates.
  • We encourage you to give online through our app or your bank. We will have an offering box available on our Connect table. 
  • The building will be open for bathroom use.

We ask that you:

  1. Bring your own lawn chairs.
  2. Wear a mask before and after the service. We will have masks available for you to use, if you do not bring them. 
  3. Sit in the designated rows on the lawn indicated by reflective poles, with 6’ between you and other households.
  4. Stay home and stream if appropriate. 
  5. Come ready to worship the Lord as a church family!

We will stream the outdoor service online to best serve those that are not able, or should not attend in person. 

  • Please stay home if you or any household member have any symptoms. 
  • If you are at higher risk for COVID, we encourage you to connect through our live stream, and please let us know of ways that we can continue to serve you.

We look forward to seeing you soon! We are so excited to worship the Lord together in person again!

WAC Staff and Elders

 

Update May 28, 2020, 9:00pm

Dear Wausau Alliance Church family,

As we move closer to meeting together again on Sunday mornings, we want to make sure you have insight into our decision-making. Since closing gatherings, we as leaders have taken seriously our responsibility to lead decisively and wisely. It is and has been our desire to meet as soon as possible. At the same time, we also recognize that there is good reason to be cautious—even though the state ended its executive order with the Supreme Court ruling.

Our response below is guided by medical recommendations; we consulted a team of medical professionals, led by Dr. Bill Bowler (one of our members). Dr. Bowler is an infectious disease doctor and is at the very frontlines of the COVID fight in Wausau. Together, they have drafted the following letter:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”  -James 1:5

Last week, WAC pastors, elders and medical professionals (including one who has been directly involved with pandemic preparedness for the Aspirus Health System) met to seek God’s wisdom on when to begin meeting again at the church for corporate worship. The pastors and elders have a God-given responsibility to “shepherd the flock”, which includes keeping them safe; in this case with regard to COVID-19. Accordingly, the following key features of the pandemic were considered:

  • The COVID-19 virus is highly contagious, and is most efficiently transmitted (contagious) in the asymptomatic or “pre-symptomatic” phase of illness. There is very high viral shedding during the pre-symptomatic phase, and during the first week of illness.A single COVID-19 patient can spread the disease to a median of 5.7 people, making it twice as contagious as the 1918 Spanish flu.
    • For example, a recent CDC report detailed a church in Arkansas where 2 symptomatic people attended a church event and later tested positive for COVID-19; 35 of 92 attendees later contracted the virus, and 3 died; while 26 other people in the community with links to the church event contracted the virus, with 1 death. Although this event occurred early in the pandemic, before mitigation measures (masking, social distancing, strict hand hygiene, and disinfection) were in place, the report illustrates how contagious the virus is.
  • Singing is an especially effective way of transmitting the virus. Another report from early in the pandemic is of a choir practice where one minimally symptomatic member of the choir transmitted the virus to multiple other members, resulting in at least one death.
  • Infectious droplets can hang around in the air for 8 to 14 minutes after just talking. Masking is thought to decrease transmission by as much as 75%.
  • This is a particularly “nasty” virus. It produces a myriad of clinical abnormalities, some of them very severe. The fatality rate is estimated to be up to 1.4%; substantially higher than the 0.1% fatality rate of seasonal influenza. It is NOT “just the flu”. Even among survivors, there can be substantial morbidity.
  • The elderly, immunocompromised, and persons with common “underlying conditions” (hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cardiopulmonary diseases) are particularly vulnerable to severe infections. In WI, 15% of symptomatic people require hospitalization, with roughly 1/3 in an ICU. The majority who have died are age 60 or older.
  • There have been 1.76 million cases in the US, with over 103,000 deaths.
  • Our 6-county region of North Central Wisconsin has entered a particularly vulnerable time; May 16 thru at least June 7, the 3-week time period after the State Supreme Court nullified Gov. Evers mandated “lock-down”. Up until then, our region had comparatively few cases compared to the rest of the State. Now, with the opening of bars and other businesses, the complacency shown by many regarding masking and social distancing, and the influx of travelers from “Southern Wisconsin” and Illinois, our region is at risk of a significant “surge” in cases. Already, rates in Shawano County have increased significantly (110 per 100,000 population) and has surpassed Marathon County (33 per 100,000).

In summary, anytime you have a lot of people together in an indoor space and one of them is infectious, you can have a lot of cases. One person’s decisions can impact others; what they do can affect others because this virus is highly contagious. This virus will be with us for a long time.

After prayerfully considering all of the above, WAC “shepherds” have decided to be very deliberate in resuming corporate worship at the church. Depending on the trends in new cases over the next 2-3 weeks, the TENTATIVE plan is to meet as a congregation, outside, on June 7 at 10:00am.

We will ask you to:

  • maintain social distancing
  • wear a mask while mingling before and after the service
  • practice strict adherence to hand hygiene and disinfection

Some will no doubt find this plan objectionable; however, a shepherd has a responsibility to be wise in order to lovingly protect the flock, even if this love seems hard. By God’s grace, we pray that over time, we can resume more “normal” operations.

Sincerely,

Dr. Bill Bowler
Dr. Dave Mathias
Dr. David Holz
Noel Boismenue
Dr. Nathan Grabher
Dr. Eric Minnihan
Dr. Jon Laack

 

We have two options for services going forward into the summer. The first is our online streaming as we have been doing. We encourage those who are high risk and require those who have illness in their home to do this option. Our second option is an outdoor service that will be held on our lawn, weather permitting, following the above recommendations. Any outdoor service cancellations due to questionable weather will be announced via our app, facebook, and email—and online services will be available instead. We will have no nursery or children’s service’s during this time.

To reiterate, we ask that if you or someone in your family has any symptoms, please stay home. We will give you further information next week.

We covet your prayers during this time. We are seeking to provide wise and faith-filled leadership. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

For God’s glory,

WAC Staff and Elders

 

Update March 20, 2020, 9:46am

We have been monitoring the unfolding Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and are seeking to operate with wisdom, neither overreacting or underreacting to the Governor’s declaration of Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19. We are guided by and compliant with state and federal recommendations.

We have online services that are made available each Sunday morning by 8am for viewing from home. Currently, these are pre-recorded and they will be available for you throughout the week. We encourage that you establish a regular “service time” and develop a routine that works for you so you can have consistency in that from week to week.

As this situation continues to change in coming weeks our methods of delivery may as well. Stay tuned for updates as we are continuing to navigate this new season.

All other physical gatherings until further notice are canceled.  This is not a static situation; things will change as we continue to closely monitor the latest developments. Stay tuned for more updates; the most up-to-date info will be on this webpage. Subscribe for push notifications on our church app to receive alerts when there are any significant changes to this page

 

Sermon Video Streaming:

Every Sunday there will be a home worship guide included alongside the online service. Check Sunday morning for updated info. There is a worship music playlist, along with lyrics, as well as discussion questions you can think about together.

Home Worship Guide       Give Now

 

Sermon video will be available by 8am each Sunday, through the church app, and additionally at the link below.

Watch / Listen Online       Watch On Our App

 

What We are Doing in Response:

  • All services are canceled until further notice.
  • All church events are canceled until April 6th and further ongoing evaluation will determine how much longer this is extended. . 
  • We have online services available for streaming anytime after 8am each Sunday morning. There may be changes to this in coming weeks, stay tuned for updates. Subscribe to our push notifications on our app.
  • We are implementing daily sanitizing practices of office surfaces and door handles
  • Office hours will remain relatively normal, but with implementation of social distancing practices.

 

What We are Asking That You Do:

  1. If you or anyone in your family are sick, please stay home. The symptoms for COVID-19 are subtle enough that it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
  3. Please don’t shake hands, just wave. 
  4. Follow CDC Level 3 and Level 4 recommendations for self-quarantine.
  5. Familiarize yourself and follow CDC recommendations: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Please help us cover our ongoing costs of ministry by giving online or through the mail. Our operating expenses do continue during this time.

At uncertain times like these, we can be bearers of hope. We encourage all of you to be praying for those in health care and governmental roles for wisdom as they carry out their vocations, and for us as the people of God to exercise faith and not succumb to fear. Remember in prayer those around the world who are being impacted. We are praying for you, and are encouraging you to remember with us, that God is faithful, and he will sustain us with loving care.

WAC Staff and Elders

 

2 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”