Greetings FAME Oakland family,

I want to first express my deepest concern for the safety and health of our membership during this global health pandemic. As you know, I recently returned from the 5th District mid-year conference. At that meeting several discussions took place regarding coronavirus, COVID-19. Additionally, I joined a faith-based leaders teleconference; sponsored by Supervisor Keith Clarkson. The principal participant was Dr. Nicholas Moss, a divisional director for the Alameda County Heath Department. Several questions were answered regarding COVID-19, particularly relating to the faith community. One of those questions was, “Should churches cancel worship services?” Dr. Moss’ clear response was, “we should follow the procedures that has been established by California Governor Gavin Newson, i.e. no more than 250 persons assembling at a time. Other questions regarding specific ministries such as feeding ministry were discussed. I will be in contact with members of those ministries regarding suggested modifications.

We understand you may be feeling concerned about the coronavirus , COVID-19 , which has been labeled as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The AME Church as well as FAME, Oakland are taking steps to decrease the spread of infections. We must all work together, follow basic infection control and behavior modification to decrease the spread of illness and disease. “Faith is the key that will empower us to become educated and collaborate during these times of concern.”

FAME, Oakland has taken the following initial steps to decrease the spread of the infection:

Make hand sanitizer available in the front and back of the church
Upon entering and leaving, I am asking people to sanitize their hands
Postponed the Tent City, which was scheduled for March 21st
Suspended the in-house Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday feeding ministry held in the social hall
Ensured we are using antibacterial soap in the six restrooms
Confirmed both the feeding ministry and cleaning service have been using anti-bacterial wipes and bleach to clean the tables, doorknobs, light fixtures, etc.
All non-essential face-to-face meetings will be converted into conference call meetings or postponed.
To help protect you and other members from possible exposure to the COVID-19, we strongly recommend that if you have cough, cold, flu symptoms or have been exposed to anyone who tested positive for the COVID-19, please stay at home and rest. I encourage all FAME members to read and share the COVID-19 information and prevention practices available on the International AME Church Health Commission Website.

During the past several Sundays I have made statements regarding COVID-19 and connecting with persons around you in a manner that you feel comfort. Let’s love our neighbors by washing our hands often, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer and disinfect public and personal surfaces. Let’s love our neighbors by coughing appropriately into our elbows, sneezing into a tissue, which you quickly discard and practice social distance guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines social distancing as “creating ways to increase distance between people in settings where people commonly come into close contact with one another” (https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/community/index.html).

Finally, I am calling FAME to pray collectively and individually. We are admonished by way of scripture that “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NRSV).

We will make it through this together. We are FAME strong! Our preservation is rooted in the grace of God.

Blessings,

Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry
Senior Pastor
First African Methodist Episcopal Church