Below is a letter from Pastor Paul to the Elim Community.
A Star Tribune Article here was published today. Elim’s building remains closed to the general public however we still livestream from our sanctuary every Sunday at 10:30am on facebook.com/elimchurchmpls.
Monica Nilsson the director of the shelter posted an article here.
Hello Elim Community,
I am writing to inform you that we learned that a guest of our shelter program tested positive for Covid-19. This gentleman is no longer staying at the shelter and left about one week ago. We are following health department guidelines and procedures and taking cues from their leaders. So far no one else has shown signs of having the virus. While this gentleman stayed at Strong Tower Parish next door for 4 nights last week when he would have been contagious, he may have eaten at Elim. Our church staff has had limited interaction with guests and that has been by design. I am particularly thankful for our custodians who have been keeping Elim clean and safe.
As you may know, most people who test positive have a home. In Minnesota, less than 1% of all who have tested positive are experiencing homelessness. The MN Dept of Health does not provide the patient’s name. Shelter leadership informed us, shelter staff and guests yesterday and all guests were screened Wednesday night. There were no other guests found to be symptomatic of the nearly 80 sheltering . I visited the program (with protective mask) at dinner time and was invited to offer prayer before meal and a word of scripture following dinner. Monitoring will continue daily and every measure will be taken to continue to have a healthy program.
Monica Nilsson our shelter director has acted with speed and compassion to address this. On the night she found out, she called the president of UCare and they sent their Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Julia Joseph-Di Caprio, to perform screening and inform the shelter guests. I am so impressed by the staff and the quality of service and care. I was also impressed by the good questions that were asked. The Star Tribune was there to report on the reactions of guests and to highlight the situation.
For a long time Elim has been on the front lines of serving the most vulnerable in our midst. We are a church that often gets the moniker of “first…”. Well, this is the first known case of COVID 19 amongst those experiencing homelessness in Minnesota. We knew that over time we would see this moment and we are committed to serving our guests in Jesus name.
PLEASE continue to use wisdom and caution wherever you go in these next weeks. Please continue to pray. Despite the lifting of some restrictions here and there, our community is still at risk. We ask for your continued support and love as a leadership team and staff. God is weaving a grand story of his grace love and compassion through you Elim Church. I am honored and humbled to serve as your pastor.
In God’s mighty hand,
~ Pastor Paul