United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands


COVID19 ADVISORY # 12 May 20 2020 from Rev. Norbert Stephens - General Secretary UCJCI


My sisters and brothers, Greetings,

The following are the decisions taken by the UCJCI COVID-19 Response Team, which met yesterday May 19, 2020, under the various headings:

1. Compliance with National Orders/Protocols
We continue to encourage compliance with the directives and recommendations of the legitimate state authorities in both nations.
2. Congregational Life Church Worship
• The Government of Jamaica has offered the church an opportunity to gather for worship from May 16, 2020 for a period of two weeks in the first instance, under the following conditions:
o Distancing rule of one person per 40 sq. ft., with persons being at least 6 feet apart. Congregations therefore have to measure their sanctuaries and divide the total square footage by 40 to determine how many persons are allowed in the sanctuary at any one time. o Have multiple services. (The same persons should not be present in multiple services.)
o Temperature checks prior to entering the sanctuary. We strongly recommend the use of infrared thermometers, as these give faster readings, allow for social distancing, and minimize the spread of infections. Acquiring these thermometers is a good investment, given the current and possible future circumstances where the spread of diseases is concerned.
o Ensure sanitization measures are in place at entrances. o All persons must wear a mask. o Choirs are not allowed.
o Air conditioning units are not to be used in the sanctuary.
o No gathering of persons is allowed at the entrance, gate, church yard, annex, vestry, etc. for meetings and/or greetings.
o The Order for persons aged 65 and over to remain at home has been relaxed in this particular area. Consequently, persons in this age group may attend worship services. However, since this is still a vulnerable group, the encouragement given by the Government is that they stay at home if they have access to streamed worship services.
• In respect of the regulations above, we are recommending the following:
o Organize service(s) for this Sunday, only if you are able to meet ALL of the above conditions. Our duty of care has not changed with this opportunity.
o Establish a logistics team who will help to ensure that the conditions are met, including preparing and executing the conditions for worship (determining the number of persons, marking out the spaces for seating, acquiring thermometers, setting up teams who will take temperatures at each service, monitoring the wearing of masks, sanitization, and determining and communicating the method by which the persons for worship will be selected [e.g. by age groups, districts, cell groups, etc.]).
o Where multiple services are arranged, as far as possible, different persons should lead and preach at each service. o Ministers/Lay Pastors should continue to refrain from physically greeting members.
• The restriction on gatherings for funeral services has increased from 10 to 15 persons.
• We encourage the continuation of streaming services and sharing on social media, as many persons will still not be able to attend worship services.
• We remind you of the time of prayer every Wednesday between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. We will share with you the specific suggested foci for each week.
• We will continue to distribute the weekly House Worship Liturgy, using a thematic approach with sermon/reflection notes. We welcome feedback on how this is being used within the church.
• Tune in each Sunday to LOVE 101 FM in Jamaica at 3:30 p.m. for a rebroadcast of a congregational worship service. The broadcasts are being shared among all four (4) regional mission councils. Please contact your Regional Deputy General Secretary if your congregation has the capacity and wishes to participate in this ministry.
Acquiring Thermometers in Jamaica
Given the limitations and challenges surrounding shipping, the suppliers with whom we were making procurement arrangements for the thermometers on behalf of congregations have informed us that their stock will not arrive to meet our need for this Sunday. We are in the process of seeking other suppliers, in the hope of having the thermometers available by Friday of this week. Should they be available on Friday, we will be able to obtain a maximum of 50 units at this time. If this is realized, we will seek to distribute the thermometers by the latest 3  Saturday to the congregations with the greatest need - particularly to those who will congregate for worship on Sunday, May 24, 2020.
Additionally, this expected source is anticipating that they will receive another shipment by Wednesday, May 27, 2020, from which our full requirement can be supplied. We apologize sincerely for this delay and seek your patience as we attempt to procure the most appropriate devices at a reasonable cost.
In the meantime, should these arrangements prove inconvenient for you, and you are able to source the devices otherwise, please go ahead and indicate the cancellation of your order to the Regional Deputy General Secretary by Thursday, May 21, 2020.
3. Regional Offices in Jamaica
In keeping with the lifting of the Work from Home Order, which concludes on May 31, 2020, effective June 1, 2020, the Regional Offices in Jamaica will resume their normal 5 days of operations. (The Cayman Islands Regional Mission Council Office will remain closed until the restrictions in Cayman are lifted.)
4. Pastoral Care
• Given the psychological impact of the restriction of movement caused by the coronavirus, we continue to celebrate those persons who continue to call members and offer inspirational messages and other support systems. Regional Counsellors have been appointed, and this ministry has now started in all regions.
• We continue to encourage congregations and regions to be especially sensitive to the needs of the elderly. Please ensure that their basic needs are met (food, sanitization, medication) and, where possible, offer daily contact by phone or social media to those who live alone.
5. Food Packages
Through the instrumentality of the Caribbean and North America Council for Mission (CANACOM), we have received a grant from the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) for funds to purchase food packages for the needy within the UCJCI in all four regions. The funds have been received and the distribution will take place across our regions.
6. COVID-19 Fora
• The Church and Society Sub-Committee, chaired by our Moderator, Rt. Rev. Dr. Gordon Cowans, has organized a number of fora in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
o Dr. Nsombi Jaja and Mr. Courtney Campbell will facilitate a free webinar for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) leaders throughout the UCJCI, titled, “Managing and Coping with Change: Tools for Coping and Surviving through the COVID-19 Crisis”, on May 25, 2020 at 1 p.m. 4
o The Cayman Islands Regional Mission Council will, in early June 2020, host a webinar on the topic: “The Church’s Response to COVID-19”.
7. Communication
Please continue to pay close attention to the various pieces of information sent to you via our communication channels (radio, e-mail, WhatsApp Messenger, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook).

May we together continue to depend on God, who has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of love and of power and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

Norbert D. Stephens (Rev.) General Secretary

Posted by: Administrator Wednesday May 20, 2020 16:17
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United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands