I want to communicate transparently with you about the next few weeks as we make plans to re-gather as a church body for corporate worship.
First, I’d like to talk about gratitude. I am grateful for your faithfulness to watch online services and your steadfastness in giving, both in money and areas of ministry. During this time, opportunities for outreach and community involvement have been increased, and many of you have served and volunteered above and beyond. We should all be grateful that we are nearing the end of this trying season. While many restrictions remain in place, I’m thankful that churches are exempted from the large gathering limitations and we can begin to proceed wisely about having regular services again. (Psalm 122:1, Hebrews 10:25)
Second, let me be clear about some guidelines. We assembled an 8-person “task force” with people from various backgrounds and differing opinions to ensure that our church would take a balanced approach to the re-opening process. We want to walk in wisdom toward those in our community as well. (Colossians 4:5) Assisted by your input from the church-wide survey, recommendations were made to the deacons and staff to make final decisions on the following guidelines (subject to change) beginning May 17:
● Masks for those 2 years and up while in the buildings. Masks provided if you need one.
● Social distancing of 6 feet, seating every other row, 3 seats between families, no contact.
● No passing offering plates; collection boxes will be used instead. Online giving still
● No choir or orchestra until further notice.
● No nursery or children's church offered; all services are family worship until further notice.
● Two morning services: 9AM for elderly/vulnerable population & 11AM for all others.
(Livestream same times)
● We request anyone who has fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of taste
and/or smell, or other symptoms not attend.
● No Sunday PM or Wednesday PM physical gatherings at this point.
● Everything will be sanitized between and after each service.
This leads me to remind everyone of the need for grace. Let’s be honest, the Bible doesn’t speak specifically about how to behave as a Christian during a pandemic....or does it? We must lean on Bible principles during seasons of difficulty, confusion, frustration, and disagreement. The Scriptures about “one another” are clear that in our relationships, we are to admonish, edify, love, forgive, be kind to, honor, and prefer one another. Not everyone will agree on all aspects of how this virus has affected or will continue to affect our country – but we can all show grace. If some choose not to return yet, we should all show grace. On the spectrum of the young to the old, we may not all think wearing masks is right or even helpful, but we can show grace. The lines are divided over those who think this is serious and those who think this is ridiculous. Some are concerned, some are cautious, and some are carefree, but all can show grace to others. What an opportunity to live “in honor, preferring one another.” (Romans 12:10) Not everyone will agree with our reopening plans, but I plead with you to show grace.
Finally, let’s work and pray for growth. God has sent us to the schoolroom of isolation, flexibility, economic upheaval, sickness, death, event cancellation, and much more. We have undoubtedly learned things about our country, our families, our friends, our church, and ourselves that we would not have learned otherwise. God allows these teaching times so that we conform to the image of Jesus Christ. There is a purpose, so let’s not waste the lesson. Let’s strive to grow in our love for others, and not just emerge from social distancing thinking only of our needs and opinions. I am praying that when things return to normal, the result will be a renewal that will bring not just numeric growth to our church, but most importantly, spiritual growth. May we walk worthy, continue to be fruitful, and increase in our knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10)
You are loved and missed!
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