COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update

Caring for our Shepherd Family

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Click here for a 17 March 2020 letter from Pastor Scott.

March 14, 2020 from Pastor Scott. 

Read the full letter here.

  • We will be holding worship services as normal tomorrow, March 15, at both our campuses. Our gatherings number in the 125-200 person range, under the 250-person threshold that is being suggested as a red-line for public gathering decisions.  We will put in place several additional layers of wise care such as not passing the offering baskets or the friendship registers, along with other caring things we’ve done thus far like limiting our greetings to waves and encouraging those feeling sick to stay home.
  • We will be suspending our preschool operations immediately and lasting through Friday, March 27, following our Scottsdale school community’s action.
  • We will be suspending all non-essential ministry activity such as our St. Patrick’s Day gathering and our Lenten midweek dinner. We will be postponing our 40th Anniversary celebration to the Fall to ensure all that want to participate are able to come to this momentous occasion.
  • For now, our Wednesday mid-week service will turn into a 12-hour day of prayer from 8am to 8pm. Our Shea sanctuary will be open throughout the day for congregation members to come and pray.  We’ll have screen prompts and music playing.  At noon and 7pm, Pastors Alan and Scott will have a brief devotional time lasting about 15 minutes.
  • Additional considerations regarding Bible studies and other small group meetings are pending. At this stage, each group is tasked with determining its own response.
  • With that last point, however, all groups that choose to meet at Shepherd will be confined to the youth room in Building A so we can control the cleanliness and sanitizing of the space. Buildings B and C will be closed for ministry activities.
  • Finally, the Church Office will be closed for in person visits except for appointments made in advance with specific staff. At this time we need to ensure our staff can remain focused on this moment in ministry and preserve their health and well-being as much as possible.  If you have a need to meet or talk with a pastor or staff member, please call or email.

Thanks for your patience.  Thank you, even more pointedly, for your prayers for your ministry staff during this time.  Together we want to be a blessing for our community.  Please stay in touch daily with us through social media and Facebook and our website — www.shepherdaz.church.  More to come in future days on how we plan to continue to bring ministry and prayer to you and all others we have the opportunity to serve with His word.

Under the protective and encouraging care of our heavenly Father,

Pastor Scott and Pastor Alan.

14th March 2020 regarding the Shepherd Preschool

Given the recent closures of area schools, specifically Scottsdale Unified School District and our local Charter Schools, we have reversed our decision to remain open.  Our plan is now to be closed through at least March 27th in an effort to support our community’s actions to minimize the potential spread of this disease.

This decision was not an easy one to make and we understand that it does affect families in many different ways.  If you are a family with a hardship due to being first responders, medical professionals, or on the front line of combating this disease and need care for your child, please contact me directly so that we can explore possible solutions to your child care needs.

Click here for the full letter regarding the decision to temporarily close the preschool decision.

13th March 2020

Dear Shepherd Preschool Families,

First and foremost, our prayers as a ministry are with each of you and your families during this awkward and chaotic time in our country’s history. Our staff, like you, have been monitoring the unfolding situation continuously. 

As some local school districts make the decision to close due to the threat of the coronavirus, we have made the decision to remain open per the recommendation of Arizona Department of Health Services and guidance from the Arizona Department of Education. We will continue to monitor state and local recommendations and communicate to you immediately through email and teacher posts if there is a need to alter our current status. 

Be assured that we will continue to be diligent about hand-washing, disinfecting, covering coughs and sneezes in order to facilitate a healthy environment for our students and staff. We ask that you do the same as well and that you keep your child at home if they or anyone in the household has a fever, an unusual cough or shortness of breath. Also, under an abundance of caution for all, if any families have traveled to high risk areas while on Spring Break, we would expect that you follow the guidelines established by the CDC for voluntary self-quarantine

We recognize that it is ultimately your choice as to whether to send you child(ren) to school or not.  Please know that we respect whatever choice you make. 

If you choose to keep your child at home, we will put together packets of activities that have been utilized in the classroom throughout the week that you will be able to pick up at the end of the week and complete at home. In addition, don’t forget to read your teacher’s email/blog/update each day to see what is happening at Shepherd in order to reinforce what is being taught in school at home. 

Keeping our preschool open will be based on the recommendations from local authorities and is also contingent on our ability to meet licensing standards for staffing. If it comes to the point that we need to close, our teachers are prepared to post online resources for families throughout the week, and we will be assembling student take-home packets each week as well filled with fun learning activities for you and your child at each age level.  We care about the continued growth and development of all of your precious little ones and want to ensure learning continues even if they are not in school with us! 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. I pray that each one of our students and family members remain healthy, and that the fear and craziness of this time be calmed by knowing that we are all in His care.

Looking to Him,

Debbie O.

11 March 2020

Dear Shepherd Family,

I wanted to write a brief note on a matter that is at the forefront of many minds: the spread of the Coronavirus and our practices here at Shepherd, especially in worship and in our preschool. In advance of any disruptions, I want to make sure you are aware of what your ministry staff are doing in order to prepare for a broader outbreak in Arizona.

a. We will continue to “awkwardly bless” greeting each other with waves, “fist bumps of faith”, and “knuckles of never-ending life”.

b. We will be working to install additional hand sanitizer stations on both campuses and evaluate other sanitizing procedures for the betterment of those we serve.

c. As we receive communion, we will continue to the use of the common cup for now and evaluate if other action is needed. That is a personal choice. Of course, we will continue to have individual cups if you prefer to make a switch for a time.

d. Our preschool staff are keeping track with Scottsdale schools and will follow their lead in addressing any outbreak.

e. We continue to recommend, even request where appropriate, for worshipers and students to remain home if showing any signs of illness to prevent unnecessary exposure to others.

f. Finally, should the outbreak become especially severe, we are ready to increase our digital ministry through podcasts, online sermons/worship & other means.

Please pray for people around the world who are currently suffering from coronavirus and their caregivers, families and community. Pray for those who grieve loss of their loved ones to the virus. Pray that our medical professionals find the proper treatment for the virus and keep it under control. Pray that our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world would be a beacon of light and love to those who are suffering.

In all of this, I don’t want to over-respond or under-respond. The actions outlined above seem prudent and measured. My greatest concern is for our older adults here at Shepherd who appear to be potentially the most severely affected by this virus. If you have any suggestions or additional concerns, please do not
hesitate to raise them. As Pastor Alan and I continue to focus on the ministry of the Gospel, our Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Armstrong, is the person I’d ask you to contact with these concerns. He can be reached through the church office @ 480.860.1188 or via e-mail @ aarmstrong@sotdaz.org.

Pastor Scott.

(Full letter can be read here)