Open Letter to Our Friends and Community
March 16, 2020
Against a backdrop of sobering global news, we greet you in the spirit of grace and truth. As a Christ-centered team and nonprofit dedicated to serving the university and broader community, we seek to respond rightly to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our desire is to assure the well-being of all our friends and our community-at-large.
As you can imagine, we want to pursue a wise, God-honoring approach to minimize the negative effects of the coronavirus in our community. First and foremost, we have implemented recommendations for containing the spread of COVID-19, as outlined by:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Public Health Madison and Dane County
- UW-Madison University Health Services
All Upper House programming has been canceled through at least April 28, 2020. Moreover, Upper House will be closed to all guests for the foreseeable future.
Yet, we are committed to being a positive force in countering the isolating and fear-inducing effects of the pandemic. While we acknowledge that social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is necessary, this need not result in unhealthy social disconnection.
In the midst of what could be an acutely isolating experience, we think it is vital that all of us maintain rich relational connections that buoy our minds, hearts, and spirits in Christ Jesus. While many of these connections will need to be accomplished in ways other than in-person meetings, we believe they are worth pursuing. With our campus ministry and church partners, we are considering how we might facilitate virtual gatherings in lieu of in-person meetings. Our staff is also available to you via phone, email, Facetime, and Zoom. Moreover, we are bringing our media library up to date, including speakers from earlier this semester. As additional plans develop for virtual connection, we promise to keep you apprised through social media and our website.
As we change our norms of social interaction, we might also rededicate ourselves to pursue spiritual disciplines that strengthen our stance in Christ, that prepare our minds for action, and set our hope fully on the grace revealed in Christ (1 Peter 1:13). So strengthened, we might better serve our neighbors who are in need, as Andy Crouch exhorts us all in Love in the Time of Coronavirus:
[to] redirect social energy from panic to love and preparation. This crisis presents an extraordinary opportunity to fortify small communities of love and care for our neighbors. That will only happen if we lead in a way that reduces fear, increases faith, and reorients all of us from self-protection to serving others.
Our stance is similar, as we wrote in Confidence amidst the Coronavirus: 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us that the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. May the spirit of God fill and empower us as we seek to serve those who need us most, with love and wisdom.
We are grateful for you—our friends—and remain committed to serving you in this challenging season.
Your friends at Upper House