Coronavirus: How to pass the peace (and not your germs)

By March 5, 2020

If you’ve been wondering if First Church has the coronavirus (COVID – 19) outbreak on its radar you can rest assured that we do — and in addition to watching the updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and information and advisories from our Fort Worth Department of Public Health and local health care providers, here are a few things to be aware of.

When and if we get word, that public transmission is happening in our North Texas region, task forces are already set up to monitor and stay in step with verified facts and to recommend adjustments to local groups, organizations, business, schools, etc. Until that time, we will continue to operate mostly “business as usual,” with the exception of reiterating a few important guidelines, reminders, and precautions:

  • When passing the peace during worship, it is perfectly acceptable not to shake hands, but instead to fist bump, elbow tap, or just smile and wave!
  • During communion, be sure to touch only the piece of bread you will be taking, and then dip only the part of the bread you have not touched once in the juice. 
  • Always cover your cough — even if you don’t think you’re sick — and be sure to use the inside of your elbow, not your hand. 
  • Wash your hands—at least 20 seconds, (or as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”) often, and avoid contact with doorknobs, handrails, push buttons, and any other surface touched by lots of people. Several sources also recommend wiping down keyboards and mobile phones regularly with antibacterial wipes, adding that “Your smartphone has more germs on it than a public toilet!” (Yikes)
  • Look for hand sanitizer stations strategically positioned around the church, in public areas, and in most classrooms and offices — and when you see one, use it! It’s also a good idea to carry hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes with you to use when you get back into the car, before you enter a new space, and any time you’re not able to thoroughly wash your hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick  — or think you might be getting sick — especially when you’re running any fever. Some experts assert that people can be most contagious before they start running fever!
  • Opt In to FUMCFW Emergency Alerts!

In addition to all these reminders, our Director of Operations Sandy Williams and Director of Security Ron Hicks also recommend that we all make sure to “opt in” to our First Church emergency text message notification system by texting the message, FUMCFWALERTS (all caps, one word) to 888777 (in the “to” field) and hit “send.” You will immediately receive a confirmation message in reply from this same number:

“FUMCFWALERTS: Thanks for signing up! You will only receive an alert from FUMCFW in the event of an emergency involving the church.”

By making sure you’re “opted in” to this emergency notification system for our church (and we promise, we’ll only use it in an emergency), you’ll receive any notifications we send out about coronavirus or any other emergency situation our security and operations directors want you to be aware of.

If you have questions or need help, please stop by the Welcome Center for assistance or email Sandy Williams (


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