Wanting to interrupt the constant interruptions of poverty, the erratic movements of survival, the hourly readjustments on the precarious edge, Haywood St. was founded as a touchstone of consistency. The same church building, same gathering every Wednesday, same worship service at 12:30, same homemade breakfast on Sunday, same continuity of care from the same caring faces.
Many in our community are now aware of the COVID-19 testing event that took place on the Haywood Street campus Wednesday (December 9, 2020). While initial rapid antigen testing pointed to 17 positive cases, the follow-up confirmatory PCR testing showed that all 17 results were false positives. All individuals at this event who had positive rapid antigen tests, had confirmatory PCR test results that were negative and showed no evidence of infection.
While we are grateful for these negative test results, we recognize that Buncombe County is experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases and risk is higher locally than it has been since March. We have decided to pare down while continuing to operate our core ministries and create a 6-8 week plan that prioritizes the health of our staff, volunteers, and highly-vulnerable population through what is projected to be the worst of this pandemic.
During this holy transition, all volunteers will be asked to stay home. A skeleton crew of staff members will conduct the functioning of the core ministries. In an effort to mitigate the risks associated with congregating, worship will be put on hold and new, alternative forms of connection will be dreamed up. The Downtown Welcome Table will continue outdoor meal distribution on Wednesdays and Sundays. Respite will remain open and operational, accepting new referrals with negative COVID-19 test. The clothing closet will receive contactless donations of only warm weather clothing, shoes, and camping gear on Tuesdays from 10am-12pm, to be given out on Wednesdays. Additional safety protocols have already been implemented across all programs.
For over 11 years, we’ve kept the lights of ministry on through power outages, second-floor floods, dumpster fires, multiple overdoses and more. It is our assumption, that when we combine the understanding of our community with the dedication of our staff and the determination of the Holy Spirit, the lights will stay on through this wily, and mightily disruptive, global pandemic as well.
The Haywood Street staff