A Re-Gathering Update

I wanted to use the occasion of a One Call email announcing the result of last night’s business meeting to provide another Covid-19 update as it relates to our church.

As you know, the church council voted to cancel in person meetings for the month of May with the intent of resuming on campus gatherings on June 1st. This would make our first Sunday back together June 7th.

I’ve been working closely with our church staff and church council to make decisions to move us closer to this eagerly anticipated time. Fortunately, this leadership structure already existed prior to the pandemic and offers an effective way of getting input and influence from committee chairs and ministerial leadership. As such, we are mindful of the Center of Disease Control guidelines, the President’s Guidelines for Re-Opening America, and the recently released recommendations of our Governor as it relates to group gatherings.

I’ve also secured information from webinars and meetings with hundreds of pastors and denominational leaders who are dealing with the issue of when and how to resume in person meetings. What I’ve learned from my meetings is that some pastors across our state are being criticized for being too cautious in their approach to the virus, while others are being scrutinized for not taking it seriously enough. But, what I found encouraging was that most churches of our size and community context were seeking to return to their campuses in June. Smaller churches who meet in big buildings, who would not have issues with social distancing, are starting in person meetings sooner than this. There are also other churches out there who are simply ignoring health and governmental guidelines altogether.

One key facet of resuming in person gatherings is related to different phases and what guidelines are urged during those times. I believe it’s prudent to wait for some of these more restrictive limitations on group gatherings to be relaxed before we attempt to meet again.

I’m continuing to meet with our church staff and church council to review the guidelines for group gatherings as it relates to our own church. We will seek to make decisions that encourages our ongoing campus meetings in as safe and healthy manner as possible. I would anticipate this to relate to stopping some things, starting some things, and continuing some things in a new way as needed for our situation. You will be informed as to what those actionable items are prior to our Re-Gathering on June 7th.

If there are changes or additional restrictions are passed down to us, then this may change our plans. This is a fluid situation and our church will respond accordingly.

Finally, maintain your connection with our church, especially by participating in online worship practices on Sunday morning and Wednesday evenings. These times are valuable for communication and staying together as a family of faith. Pay attention to One Call updates and information from our social media platforms as well.

We are going to be together again soon. Until then (and afterwards too), let’s remember how important our attitudes toward one another and the Lord are during this season of testing. May we also “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4.1). I thank God for you all and appreciate your faithfulness.

– Danny Chisholm

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