Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Words from Laura

March 29 – Palm Sunday

March 20 – A New Kind of Sabbath

March 12 – Flattening the Curve

Are You Sick or Quarantined?

As COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has a greater impact in our area, we want to be sure that our community remains connected, even when illness or quarantine require physical separation.

Please use this form to notify Western’s pastors of your situation. All information will be confidential unless you note otherwise.

Sunday Worship: March 22 and following

  • We will be worshipping together via livestream, in order to practice social distancing and care for our larger community.
  • Register for the Zoom (video or phone) livestream. We now have a recurring webinar setup, so you only need to register once but will receive a weekly reminder email with the link and phone number.
  • All other activities and events are cancelled or moved online.
Livestream Options

Choose one:

  • Zoom video: Register using the above button.
    • The confirmation email will include the web link for the video livestream. A reminder email will be sent again Sunday morning. Click the link in the email. You will be prompted to open the video in your web browser or to download the Zoom app.
      • If this is your first-time using Zoom, we recommend trying it out before worship starts. You can click the Join Meeting link in your email at any time to try it.
    • Those viewing the Video live stream will be able to send in Joys and Concerns by text.
  • Zoom phone call: Register using the above button.
    • The confirmation email will include a phone number you can call to listen in on the live stream. A reminder email will be sent again Sunday morning.
    • You will not be able to send in Joys and Concerns this way.
  • Facebook Live: View the video on our Facebook page.
    • This doesn’t require a Facebook account.
    • You may not be able to send in Joys and Concerns this way.

Video will include slides with the worship cues.

If you normally place your offering in the collection plate, consider giving online.

Livestream FAQs

What is a livestream?

Live streaming is a way of broadcasting live video over the internet for many people to watch and interact together in real time from different physical locations. Video live streaming can be viewed on a computer or mobile device. You can also call in by phone to hear audio.

We’ll be using two platforms to live stream:

  • Zoom allows video streaming and also allows folks to call in by phone to listen along. The video will be recorded and can be viewed later.
  • Facebook Live video can be watched on our page, with or without an account.

Will others see or hear me?

No, for worship services we use a webinar format so only the “host” can be seen and heard. In Zoom, you can use the Chat feature to type in Joys and Concerns.

What if I can’t get setup to watch the video?

You can join by phone. On Sunday, dial one of the numbers below and enter the Webinar ID found below.

(Zoom is having higher call volume than usual. If you call and are told “all circuits are busy,” try another phone number in the list.)

Phone Numbers:
646 558 8656
312 626 6799
669 900 9128
253 215 8782
301 715 8592
346 248 7799

Webinar ID: 306 869 593

Event Changes

Sunday Worship: Worship will be livestreamed, see more info above.

All events are cancelled or moved online.

Past Events and Worship Recordings

July 5 – Worship: Recording Available

June 28 – Worship: Recording Available

June 21 – Worship: Recording Available

June 14 – Worship: Recording Available

June 7 – Worship: Recording Available

May 31 – Worship: Recording Available

March 26 – Discussion on Anxiety and Strength with therapist Lena Derhally: Recording available

What We Are Doing Now

The Building is Closed and Staff are Working Remotely

Western has closed the building, except for the Miriam’s Kitchen staff members who continue to serve outside twice a day. All events have been cancelled or moved online.

Church staff members will be checking their voice mail periodically; the postal mail will be collected each day.  The best ways to reach us will be by email – our first (see the Staff page for exact addresses). We want to remain in touch; please contact us as necessary.

Launching 1 to 1 Connection

In this time of crisis, “your” volunteer Western Connector will soon be contacting your family by phone or email to ask how you are and to share information about online worship, prayer, giving and spiritual resources. 

Our desire is to ensure every family has at least one Western person who relates with them, who can answer questions, and offer help as needed. We do not intend to intrude, but we do want to stay connected with you. Thank you for taking this opportunity to encourage stronger relationships at Western.

Contact the Revs Bennett for more information and

Supporting Miriam’s Kitchen:

  • MK is working hard to keep their doors open, while also minimizing risks for guests who may be vulnerable to illness.
  • Read the March 19 update from Scott Schenkelberg
  • The Post’s food critic Tom Sietsema wrote about his visit to MK
  • As of March 12:
    • Meal services and streamlined case management will continue. 
    • MK has decided to temporarily suspend the volunteer program effective immediately. This temporary action will last through April 5, at which point they will reassess the situation. They have also cancelled the upcoming volunteer orientation scheduled on March 20th.
  • Ways you can help:
    • Donate to support the Emergency Flex Fund to: 
      • Provide a two-week supply of pantry and essential items for older residents
      • Adapt our meals program as needed to serve guests wherever they are (e.g. to-go containers)
      • Work with community partners and DC government to create a coordinated response that keeps our guests and the wider community safe and healthy  
    • Give in-kind. Please email if you can donate (or can organize a drive to collect) hand sanitizers, sanitation wipes, disposable gloves, tissue packs, soap, or conditioner.  

Anyone feeling ill should stay home to avoid spreading the infection to others:

Intentional cleaning at Western and encouraging good hygiene habits

  • Cleaning is happening daily, including high-touch areas.
  • Reminders about good hygiene habits have been posted at sinks and in the kitchen.
  • The water fountains have been turned off and disposable cups are now available at the water dispenser in the kitchen.
  • We are clarifying procedures for the cleaning of toys and items in the nursery, for practicing good hygiene in Children’s Sunday School and Choir, and for preparing and serving food.

How We Determine and Communicate Closures

  • As we do with inclement weather, Western will follow the Federal Government for weekday closures.
  • We will observe guidance from the DC Mayor’s Office regarding closure on Sunday mornings and cancelling other events.
  • In the event of closure, announcements will be made through:
    • text alerts (sign up)
    • the church email list (sign up)
    • this website
    • social media and church app
    • the outgoing voicemail message on our phone system – (202) 835-8383, dial “6”
  • Should we need to “worship-in-place,” we will strive to provide options and resources to be used at home (see below).

Spiritual Resources to “Worship-in-Place”

Worship and Sermon Recordings and Livestreams


  • Becoming a Beloved Community – PC(USA) 2020 Lenten Devotion (PDF, Paper copies available at Western)
  • Ashes to Rainbows – A Queer Lenten Devotional from More Light Presbyterians and Justice Unbound (PDF)
  • Wilderness Lent Devotional – from A Sanctified Art ($18, PDF)
  • Our Bible App – Progressive, diverse voices (App with articles, podcast, and more)
  • – Daily devotions written for youth and young adults, by PC(USA) and other denominations (Website or app)

COVID-19 Resources