Old South Church's Response to COVID-19
Old South Church in Boston is suspending in-person worship and programs. Read on for details.
Dear Old South Church:
Science. Math. Reason. Good citizenship. Flattening the curve. It is these that inform our decision to close our doors, not literally, but effectively, that we might do our part to lessen the advance of Coronavirus. The sooner we all implement the practices urged by the CDC and W.H.O. the sooner we will come through this and get back to normal. Such is the reasoning of Old South Church's COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Task Force comprised of experts in medicine, public health, and government.
What does this mean? From now, at least until Easter, we will offer WORSHIP EXCLUSIVELY ON-LINE. Our small groups, boards, committees, task forces - anything for which you formerly came to 645 Boylston Street - will, henceforth, be conducted via Zoom, conference calls, or other digital platforms. We are in the process of contacting the leader of each group to offer support, guidance, and information on our Zoom Pro account.
Here is our new virtual line-up (to be accessed at http://livestream.com/oldsouth )
9:00 AM GODLY PLAY for children
10:00 AM ALL-CHURCH WORSHIP live-streamed from the Sanctuary
6:00 PM VIRTUAL JAZZ COFFEE HOUSE featuring the Willie Sordillo Ensemble
Beginning on Monday, we will offer additional virtual content.
12:00 PM DAILY PRAYER
4:00 PM Our version of High Tea
- Mondays: WORSHIP Matters with Mitchell Crawford
- Tuesdays: SPIRITUAL PRACTICES with Katherine Schofield
- Wednesdays: MID WEEK PEEK with Nancy Taylor
- Thursdays: SPIRITUAL PRACTICES with Amo Ngoepe
- Fridays: FRIDAY FUN DAYS with Shawn Fiedler
While these will be posted at 4 pm, they will also be available for viewing at any time thereafter. We will be back in touch as to how to access this new digital content. If you need help getting yourself digitally equipped to access these offerings, let me know.
We are in the process of compiling a calling list to check in with those most vulnerable to this novel virus and/or to the mental health effects of this disorienting season. We are also in the process of altering our messaging on our Website, social medial platforms, and outdoor signage to communicate these new, pre-Easter practices.
We are contacting all our building users to inform them they can no longer meet at the church. At this point, there are three exceptions. The first exception: groups with events today and tomorrow. The second exception: the Old South Preschool. The third exception: the classes held at Old South Church by our neighbor, Snowden High School. Both Snowden and the Preschool conform to the directives of the Boston Public Schools which has not yet made the decision to close (for a variety of reasons). We will pay extraordinary attention to cleaning surfaces and handwashing.
Our Open Door will not physically close (at least not yet). We will keep the Sanctuary open for daily prayer. This will be confined to a section of the Sanctuary, small enough that we can keep it clean and disinfected. Our hours will be somewhat reduced. As the Preschool and Snowden will be here five days a week, our Receptionist will be on duty. Our sextons will keep cleaning. While many of the staff will work from home, a skeletal crew will be here, tapping on our keyboards, maintaining distance from each other.
As a people of faith, we are also a people of science, math, reason, and good citizenship. As such, we are a people devoted to flattening the curve on behalf of the city and nation we love, a medical community devoted to health and comfort, and Jesus who counts on us to be wise as serpents yet gentle as doves. The decisions outlined above are as wise and gentle as we know how to be. They are also provisional decisions. We are is actively monitoring the situation, and may issue revised guidelines and updates as they are decided, including when we can all meet again. You can find up-to-date information on our policies at https://oldsouth.org/
Questions? Do you need assistance of any kind? How can we help?
A friend, dear reader, to thy welfare* - Nancy
*Thomas Thacher's valediction on his 21. 11. 1677/8 medical broadside "A Brief Rule to Guide the Common-People of New England How to Order Themselves and Theirs in the Small Pocks, or Measles" posted during an epidemic. Thomas Thacher was Old South Church's first minister, serving from 1670-1678, until his death, sadly, from a fever he contracted while attending a patient. His last words in his final sermon: "God help us, that as we live by faith, so may we walk in it."
Nancy S Taylor
Senior Minister & CEO
OLD SOUTH CHURCH IN BOSTON