Coronavirus Update

Updated 09.03.2020
Updated 08.18.2020
Updated 08.13.2020
Updated 07.19.2020
Updated 06.26.2020
Updated 05.07.2020

Foundry family,

Can you believe that we are already one week into May? And while we typically start our updates with pleasantries such as “we trust all is well,” I am keenly aware that many of us are tired of seeing that statement. If you’re like me, the answer for the last several weeks has been “Nope, not well, tired of isolation, need to get outside, want to see my people, desperate to go to the beach, nothing right now is normal or well…except maybe my puppies.”

I am reminded daily from our clergy devotionals that as frustrated and zoom-fatigued as I am, there are many blessings to be found as we patiently wait, endure, lament, and pray during this season of uncertainty. One of those many blessings has been watching each of you and our collective staff, create spaces of meaningful, innovative worship and fellowship in brilliant ways.

Our clergy team is encouraged by the responses to the Facebook daily devotionals and energized by the participation in the newly launched Waypoint midweek virtual worship.

We take comfort in familiar faces providing spiritual resources on our website at The Well. and find joy in the relational photos captured through social media with #thisishowifoundry.

We are humbled by the overwhelming generosity of those who continue to give to our Greatest Need and General Fund, enabling us to make an immediate and direct impact for the most vulnerable in our community.
While we had hoped to be back to some sense of regularity by mid-June, we now know that this shift in lifestyle and routine will be much longer than anticipated. As such, we will continue to follow the science and guidance of the CDC, WHO, and District officials. Under no circumstance will we jeopardize the safety or health of our beloved staff and congregation, for the sake of being in the building.

Rest assured we have established a task force of lay health professionals, staff, and one Board member to determine the proper training and timing of a phased re-opening. This task force meets together regularly and has been actively participating in weekly denominational meetings with other UMCs, national panels with faith-based executives, and medical professionals for updates on contact tracing.

This team has also assisted in the development of a brief congregational re-entry survey to gather empirical data, while simultaneously taking a pulse of our community. We encourage you to participate in this survey as the task force will use the data to determine a definitive plan and timeline of when the building will be opened to the general public.

Finally, our Hospitality team has been working diligently towards offering an opt-in only online directory of Foundry folks to help us all stay connected. More information will be coming from that team this week, with specific instructions explaining how to update your contact information as well as your privacy settings.

Friends, that was a lot of information and it is my hope that we keep you updated in a timely manner. Please know you can reach out to any of us with specific questions or concerns. We miss each of you and pray for you and your loved ones often.

Stay resilient, stay healthy, find joy.

Lani Willbanks
Business Administrator

Updated 04.08.2020

Foundry family,
Holy week is upon us and I find myself anticipating resurrection Sunday with an unfamiliar feeling of heaviness and despair. This year has lacked the vibrant, pastel colors of plastic eggs and decorated lilies. I already miss the excitement of seeing the tent in the courtyard, the smells of Ms. Rosa’s hospitality spread, and the sounds of our glorious choirs and musicians. There will be no pre-dawn run through this year and my robe and stole will remain on a hanger. The most peculiar part of Easter 2020 will be sitting in a guest bedroom, 6 feet from my colleague and friend as she delivers the Gospel story from the intimate and vulnerable space of her own home. Is this really happening?

I am grieving. I want to see my colleagues, our neighbors, our congregation. I want to hear the bells in person, touch the plants in the Columbarium, stuff visitor swag bags with candy. And yet here we are, trying to digest and fact-check rapid paced information and countless distractions while trying to remain present in the season. Some of the information has slowed down and like many of you, we’ve heard rumblings that this new normal will take us well into the summer. Your operations team stands ready to adapt with every shift and offer info and updates as things evolve:

The building is secured. We have identified individuals to routinely check on the facility and the utilities. Our grounds are still being cared for, the plants in the Sanctuary and Columbarium continue to be watered, bringing fresh life into otherwise still places.

Mail is retrieved on Thursdays. While we strongly encourage all financial gifts be made online, we know that checks are often pre-scheduled and difficult to re-route. We are also holding all vital documents for our ID Ministry neighbors, collaborating with the respective service agencies to get these to the individuals in a timely manner.

Quarterly Contribution Statements will be emailed. Later this week you will receive an email from me with a link to log in to retrieve your contribution statement. This method of delivery does not list the balance on your estimate of giving. The email will have instructions for you if you’d like to know your balance.

All Clergy and Staff teleworking. While you may not see everyone on the Sunday worship video, rest assured our team is in good health and caring for each other in new ways. We are grateful for the generosity of so many through which we are able to extend compensation to each staff member during this season.

CARES Act benefit for non-profits. Through coordination with the Board and Finance Committee, our Finance Office worked diligently to prepare all necessary information required for the Small Business Association Paycheck Protection Program offered through our banking institution. The application and supporting documentation were submitted on April 3 and April 6 respectively.

Our building has endured the changing landscape of 16th and P for over 100 years. Through all that time—and certainly in this time—Foundry has stood as a beacon of faith, hope, and love. Even though the building is empty right now, it continues to emanate our shared life and all that we stand for. Family, we will continue to show up and give our best, for however long it takes. We miss each and every one of you deeply and pray for you every day.

Much Peace and Health,
Lani Willbanks
Business Administrator

Updated 03.25.2020

Foundry family, There are moments in our lives where the right decision is painful and the pull to make an easier, wrong decision is strong. For Foundry, making the painful, right decision has meant moving worship and gatherings out of the building and onto virtual platforms as we continue to take all recommended precautions to keep our team and greater community healthy and safe.

In that spirit and in following with our Bishop’s and Mayor’s guidance for the District of Columbia, our staff has taken the necessary steps to work from home for the foreseeable future. Given that most of you are practicing this, don’t be surprised if members of our team reach out to you for best practices, how to put the filter on Zoom, or simply take time to laugh with you while in our pajamas.

This shift means that worship during this season will change—even from what we’ve experienced the past two weeks. Worship will look different and will feel different, since our team will be sharing, praying, and preaching from our respective homes. We ask that as we step into this unknown, you pray for our staff, our Senior Pastor, and our ministry partners as we fervently seek fresh ideas and creative shifts to help us stay connected with God, with one another, and with the needs of our greater community. Please extend and be willing to receive copious amounts of grace and hold tightly to the spaces, practices, and people that ground you.

Family, we will continue to show up and give our best, for however long it takes. We miss each and every one of you deeply and pray for you every day.

Much Peace and Health,
Lani Willbanks
Business Administrator

Updated 03.17.2020
  • Foundry UMC will continue with one online worship service at 11:15 a.m through May 10, 2020
  • Effective immediately, Wednesday Lenten Evensong will be online at 6:15 p.m.
  • Holy Week events will be online
  • Easter Sunday will be online at 11:15 a.m.
  • The building will remain closed to the general public, indefinitely

Additional updates regarding specific ministry areas and social services will be posted at a later date.

Updated 03.12.2020

Foundry UMC takes the personal health and safety of our congregants, staff, and clergy seriously. In this season of uncertainty, we pause to reflect on the words found in Psalm 46;

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountain shake in the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Come, behold the works of the LORD; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us.”

After much discernment, prayer, and deep concern for our most vulnerable populations at risk of exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19), effective immediately, Foundry has decided to temporarily close the building for worship and subsequent community gatherings through March 25. Recent developments from Mayor Bowser’s office, the Episcopal and Catholic Diocese, and Bishop Easterling, affirm our decision.

Regular Sunday worship will stream online, with Foundry clergy conducting one virtual service at 11:15 a.m. on March 15 and March 22. You are encouraged to participate using the following online platforms:

Facebook Live: no login or password required.
Foundry Website Online: no login or password required.
Foundry Vimeo Channel: no login or password required.

Foundry discipleship and family ministry classes and groups are encouraged to meet virtually using any of the technology platforms such as Zoom, Google meetings, etc. More information regarding training and best practices for online meetings, along with updated curriculum, will be shared soon. All other building events listed in previous communications will remain postponed until further notice.

At a time when social services are stretched to unimaginable limits, Foundry’s Social Justice department will continue work supporting community partners who provide direct services. More information about our modified practice will be communicated directly to the Social Justice Ministry teams. We strongly encourage each of you to check in with one another, call your small group friend, and stay connected in the safest way possible.

In Peace,
Foundry clergy and staff

Updated 03.11.2020

In response to the latest development from the DC Health Office regarding communal gatherings, the subsequent building updates have been made:
The following events have been postponed until further notice:

  • Choir Rehearsal Wednesday, March 11
  • Orchestra Rehearsal Saturday March 14
  • Special Music Sunday March 15
  • Funeral for John Harden postponed, date TBD
  • The Howard Thurman Retreat postponed, date TBD
  • Great Day of Service postponed until October

The following events this week remain as scheduled, as of 3:00PM this afternoon:

  • Lenten Evensong mid-week worship
  • Sunday Worship with New Members see 3.10.2020 response to modified worship experience
  • ID Ministry
  • Recovery classes
  • Cooking classes
  • ESL
  • Discipleship classes
  • Books 2 Prison

We encourage folks who are in any of the identified vulnerable people groups outlined by the CDC, to selfselect their level of participation in any of these activities. Our primary goal is the health and safety of our congregation. We will continue to monitor CDC, WHO, and DC Health updates as they develop.

In Peace,
Foundry clergy and staff

Updated 03.10.2020

Foundry continues to monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely participating in the Bowser Administration’s Update and Preparedness for Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and Faith Leaders, publications from the CDC and WHO, and working closely with other community leaders who are recipients of the various ministries extended by Foundry.

Out of an abundance of caution, and in addition to the measures already taken and listed in our 03.06.2020 update, Foundry has made the following adjustments to the facility and Sunday worship experience as follows:

Effective immediately, there will no longer be tissue boxes or black binders in the pews. We would kindly ask that you submit all prayer requests through our online link found on the main page of our website at We are also asking folks who are present in Sunday worship who would normally share their attendance with us through the black binders, to check in online through the Church Center App. If you have not yet downloaded the App, it is available on both IOS and Android devices.

Effective immediately, Sunday morning offering will be collected in stationary baskets located at the back of the Sanctuary, Bell Tower Lobby, and Community Commons. We will have ushers stationed at these areas to ensure proper collection, monitoring, and transferring of offerings to the Finance Office. If you have not done so already, we invite you to utilize our online giving platform through the Church Center App or directly through our website at

NEW VISITORS Effective immediately, we will ask all new attenders or visitors to fill out their information online through a form found directly on our website at

COMMUNICATIONS A new link on the main page of our website will have this information, as well as building updates for any cancellation of classes, meetings, or events until further notice.

In Peace,
Foundry clergy and staff

Updated 03.06.2020

Foundry UMC takes the personal health and safety of our staff, clergy, and congregants seriously. As a result of the growing concerns related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Foundry offers the following recommendations to remain safe:

  • Hand-washing is your best self-defense against the spread of germs. Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, specifically after using the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Utilize one of the hand sanitizing stations throughout the facility.
  • Substitute handshakes with elbow bumps, peace signs, or hand-waves, particularly during Passing of the Peace.
  • If you are not feeling well, or experiencing any signs of illness, please take advantage of our online worship through Facebook live or our Vimeo link on our website.

Foundry staff and clergy will continue the following practices:

  • Washing hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Sanitize hands repeatedly during communion.
  • Wiping down door handles 2 times a day, 4-6 times on Sundays.
  • Closely monitoring updates by both the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

Out of an abundance of caution, Foundry is also doing the following:

  • Advising staff to telework, as outlined in our personnel handbook, with any signs of illness.
  • Prepared to serve communion in the following months using individual, pre-filled, sealed, compostable communion cups and individual wafers.

We will continue to update this document as the need arrives.

In Peace,
Foundry clergy and staff