PFCOB's COVID-19 Precautions
August 14, 2022
Dear Pomona Fellowship members and friends,
At last week’s meeting, the Executive Committee of the Church Board met to discuss our COVID-19 safety and policies for in-person worship. It was determined that as of Sunday, August 21, masks will be encouraged but not required for in-person worship. As always, please monitor your symptoms and if you are not feeling well, we ask that you stay home from worship. If you have knowingly been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please mask when you arrive at worship. If you have any questions, please contact Janet Short, moderator and board chair, or Pastor Lauren.
March 10, 2022
Tonight the Executive Committee of the Church Board voted to resume in-person worship on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, starting on Sunday, March 20.
As of March 14, 2022, LA County Public Health reported that 74% of county residents aged 5 and older have been fully vaccinated. Additionally, the county’s community transmission level is considered Low, by CDC standards. While wearing masks indoors is no longer a county requirement, the Health Department still strongly recommends wearing masks indoors, acknowledging that there are still immunocompromised residents as well as residents who are unable to be vaccinated either due to age or other health factors. Therefore we as a congregation will continue to require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. The decision was made to provide the most amount of protection for our members. Speakers at the microphone may remove their masks if they choose only while speaking, or they may choose to keep them on. You may also remove your mask if you are socializing in the courtyard or other outdoor spaces.
It was also decided that we will resume congregational singing, with some social distance between worshippers and again, with our masks on. We will not have coffee hour afterwards. We will no longer be taking temperatures at the door but we will still maintain contact tracing by asking you to sign in when you arrive. These decisions are based on guidance from LA County Public Health. These decisions are also similar to what our friends at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church are doing.
As a reminder, do not come to worship if you are experiencing a fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, or other COVID-19 symptoms.
We look forward to worshipping in-person again soon! Please also plan to stay after worship on March 20 for a congregational business meting in regards to our church’s future discernment. There will be a discussion and activity for the congregation.
In Christ’s peace,
Pastor Lauren and Executive Committee
January 13, 2022
On Thursday January 13th, the Executive Committee of our church voted to affirm a recommendation from our Music & Worship Commission to suspend in-person worship services and move all services back to Zoom until COVID cases are lower. This decision is effective immediately, which means that this Sunday’s service will be on Zoom. COVID-19 cases are at an all-time high in our area and around the country, and the exponential rise of the Omicron variant cases, combined with new Hillcrest and LA County restrictions, informed this decision. We acknowledge that this is very difficult for everyone to move back to all virtual gatherings, but we are not willing to put anyone at risk during this time, especially our oldest and youngest church members. Please continue to wear your masks (N95 or KN95 if possible), avoid large group gatherings, and remember Jesus’ command to care for the least of these (Matthew 25:40). Thank you for your patience and please pray for our church leadership as we once again pivot and make difficult decisions to keep our community safe.
Pastor Lauren Seganos Cohen & Janet Short, Moderator
on behalf of Executive Committee
July 4, 2021
Our congregation has resumed in-person worship at St. Paul's Episcopal Church at 242 E. Alvarado Street in Pomona. As renters at St. Paul's Church, we are following the guidance of their diocese as well as the advice of LA County health officials in terms of COVID-19 precautions, though this could be changing rapidly in light of state and county guidelines. Until LA County Health suggests otherwise, we are wearing masks indoors (regardless of vaccination status) and refraining from congregational singing. We are also taking temperatures of worshippers and asking for attendees to sign in, in case contact tracing is necessary. We gather at St. Paul's for in-person worship on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, and gather online over Zoom on the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of each month. Thank you for your patience and grace as we resume in-person gatherings in ways that are both safe and celebratory.
April 15, 2021
On April 15, Pomona Fellowship’s Executive Committee met over Zoom and the topic of in-person worship was discussed. COVID-19 cases are decreasing in LA County, and vaccination rates both in our congregation and in the community are increasing. LA County is also in the Orange Tier of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. However, our congregation is quite busy and focused on the many tasks of moving out and saying goodbye to our building right now. At this time, Executive Committee members felt that our congregation’s energies will be better spent on our transition out of our building, rather than planning for a COVID-safe in-person worship between now and May 22, when we vacate the property. Therefore we will continue to worship via Zoom. Stay tuned for more information about what worship might look like after May 22!
Pastor Lauren and Janet Short, Moderator
February 28, 2021
Executive Committee met to discuss returning to in-person worship based on LA County recommendations and the comfort levels of our congregation. The decision was made that for now, we will continue to worship on Zoom. But Executive Committee will reevaluate for outdoor and/or indoor services based on two factors:
1) Congregational vaccination rates (which we will be tracking and asking you to share)
2) Changes in LA County recommendations
Additionally, a final in-person farewell service for our building is possible in May (outdoors or indoors), depending on the above factors. Regardless, there will be a virtual farewell service and organ concert.
In the congregation, there was a general preference for virtual services for Holy Week (Love Feast and Easter), as opposed to in-person services. More information will be available on these services soon.
Executive Committee could see that our congregation is not of one mind on the possibly of returning to worship in-person. We know that this is not an easy time, and some of you may be disappointed in this announcement. But we hope and pray that you will continue to stay engaged both with our congregation and in your walk with Jesus.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Pastor Lauren or Janet Short (moderator).
January 17, 2021
With COVID-19 cases at a dangerous and record-high number in LA County, Pomona Fellowship Church of the Brethren continues to meet online for the health and safety of all of our members, and to model Christ-like care for our neighbors.
We would love to welcome you to our interactive Zoom Services on Sunday mornings at 10am! Our services include music, scripture, prayer, a sermon, and often discussion.
Contact Pastor Lauren to receive the link to join our Zoom services.
June 7, 2020
Despite the fact that LA County is now allowing churches to resume in-person gatherings at 25% capacity, Pomona Fellowship Church of the Brethren continues to meet online for the health and safety of all of our members.
We would love to welcome you to our interactive Zoom Services on Sunday mornings at 10am!
Contact Pastor Lauren to receive the link to join our Zoom services.
April 2, 2020
Dear Pomona Fellowship,
Our Executive Committee met this evening over Zoom. Our original statement on March 12 stated that we would reassess our in-person gatherings around Palm Sunday. In light of the continued spread of the virus, tonight executive committee officially approved the following decision:
Pomona Fellowship Church of the Brethren will continue to suspend in-person gatherings until state and local officials tell us it is safe to resume in-person gatherings. Executive Committee will communicate with the congregation when we will resume gatherings.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me. I am grateful for your love of Jesus, your love for each other, and your love for this church.
Yours in Christ,
March 12, 2020
Siblings in Christ,
Perhaps some of you have heard by now that the first death in Los Angeles County from COVID-19, the coronavirus, took place this week at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.
Today the Executive Committee of our Church Board met to discuss what protective measures our church can take in response to this pandemic. It was decided unanimously that we will cancel all in-person church gatherings, including worship, starting today through Palm Sunday, April 5, after which Executive Committee will reassess the situation. This includes Sunday worship, board/commission meetings, choir and praise team rehearsals, small groups, and events. Some events, such as Birthday Dinner, Field Trip, and Love Feast will be rescheduled. Our prayer and our hope is to be able to gather back together for worship together on Easter Sunday, April 12, but Executive Committee will make that decision and communicate that decision closer to that date.
I understand this may be surprising, shocking, or even upsetting to some of you. As a committee we struggled with this decision, thinking that certainly as such a small group we can't be in that much danger, but the reality is that this virus begins with only one and spreads exponentially from there. Each person that joins in worship is connected to hundreds of others through work, school, family, and other simple outings such as grocery shopping, etc. And our membership, though small, includes many in the age range of those who are the most vulnerable to this illness. Canceling in person worship gatherings seems to us to be the most prudent decision in these unprecedented times. This is doing what we know works (social distancing) to lessen the impact of what is surely going to play out in hard ways over the next few weeks.
In the meantime…there will still be ways for us to worship and continue in our journey with Jesus in ways that won’t require face-to-face contact. I will be working to provide some resources each week for you to use at home on Sunday mornings, or during another time you find appropriate for worship. These resources might include spiritual practices, prayers, recorded sermons, and prayer partners, to name a few. Please check your emails, phones, and snail mail regularly for these resources.
If you have not given your tithe or offering this month, we encourage you to still do so by mailing your check into the office! And speaking of the office, we will remain open so you can still reach Acia or myself by calling the office. I will be available for pastoral care primarily over the phone, although I will make in-person visits in emergency situations only.
I want to acknowledge that this is uncharted territory for us as a congregation, and for communities around the world. Personally I have never pastored during a global pandemic before, and I do not have all the answers! But I have been paying attention to scientists and to leaders across our city, state, and country, and praying to God for wisdom during this time. I strongly encourage all of us to do the same. I also acknowledge that while the widespread impact of this virus will be an inconvenience for some, it will be devastating for others.
A few notes about how this impacts our discernment process: Our congregation has been in a discernment process about our future for a while now, and from one perspective these measures decided by Executive Committee might appear to “throw a wrench” into our timeline and discernment process. However perhaps it can be helpful to consider this: at our core, we believe that the Church is not about a building or about a group of people meeting for one hour together on Sunday mornings, but we believe that the Church is more than that. The Church is a group of people who love Jesus and who are committed to demonstrating that love to those around us. One of the ways we can show that love, especially to those most vulnerable, is to exercise these safety measures and precautions. The Church can still be the Church even if we are not physically together: through prayer, through phone calls, through video calls.
Another thought: We recently decided to brainstorm ideas for possible “holy experiments” that we could try; remaining deeply rooted in our Brethren values, practices, and beliefs while exploring and seeking new ways of being the Church together. It seems like we have the opportunity to start that experimentation right now!
I have also been in touch with Pastors David & Rita of Cristo Sion and Pastor Mark of Eden Mission Church to inform them of our decisions. I hope you will join me in prayers of gratitude for Cristo Sion as many of their members undertake the importance of regularly cleaning our facility, as well as prayers of love and support for Eden, a community of Koreans and Korean-Americans who along with others of Asian descent have experienced increased prejudice and racism during this time.
If you have questions and concerns, I encourage you to reach out to me. Either way, keep an eye on your emails, your phones, and PFCOB’s social media pages and website, where we will communicate regularly.
One more note: Many of you know I was scheduled to travel to Ohio for meetings of the Mission & Ministry Board this weekend. I was given the option to forgo that travel and to participate in the meetings this weekend via Zoom (an online video platform), and I have decided to choose this option. This means I will not be out of town but I will be committed to these meetings Friday morning through Monday morning. You can still reach me on my cell and through emails and I will do my best to communicate as needed during any breaks.
My deep prayers are with each of us during this season of unknowns. May God bless these protective measures, may we discover new ways of supporting and loving each other, and may we lean into these unexpected season of learning to be the Church beyond our walls.