26 May Guidelines for Re-Gathering on June 7th
It will have been 84 days since our church was gathered in worship on March 15th. And, the church that gathers on June 7th will be different and more emotional than the one that gathered then. Some people will be eager to return and feel like they’ve been in exile for a long time. Others will be more cautious, like those who put their toes in the water to see if its too hot to handle. Regardless of where you are on this decision spectrum, you are an important part of this fellowship! This is absolutely an important time for the grace of God to abound in this church.
The Church Council has approved guidelines for resuming in person worship services; there will be changes to what and how we do some things. Additional steps are being taken to clean and sanitize the areas we use for worship; other areas will receive similar attention as different activities are phased in.
The decision on how and when to return to in person gatherings is more difficult than the one to stop them. I am asking for your cooperation and prayers as we “phase in” different activities and use of our buildings. These guidelines are not intended to be exhaustive, but are designed to help us return to corporate worship:
We will resume the two worship services schedule on June 7th (8:30/10:40 am) but will have no combined worship services for June and July. There will be no childcare provided during worship services; families are encouraged to sit together.
Social distancing will be encouraged. The wearing of facial coverings (masks) will be encouraged but not required. Persons who have pre-existing health issues as well as those who may be uncomfortable returning to in person worship are encouraged to remain home at this time.
We encourage those who are uncomfortable returning to in person worship at this time to participate via our online platforms. Those who are sick or have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus are also urged to remain at home.
The worship services will be live-streamed via social media platforms.
We are making modifications to our worship services to minimize physical contact. For example, there will be no “passing of the offering plates” or “the meet and greet” time during the worship service.
There will be no small group Sunday School (on campus) at this time. Groups may continue to meet online in virtual platforms.
Wednesday Night Adult Bible study (prayer meeting) will continue in a virtual format.
If a member or attendee tests positive for COVID-19, we will seek CDC guidelines and local health department recommendations to determine whether our church should cease in-person gatherings, close for additional cleaning, or otherwise change our protocols.
I’m well aware that some people think our church should have resumed in person meetings several weeks ago, maybe even months ago. Others, however, feel we aren’t taking this virus seriously enough and should wait even longer to come together. Indeed, the COVID-19 virus is still impacting decisions relating to schools, sports, hospitals, businesses, and other group activities. It’s going to be a challenging summer and even Fall for our nation.
Our church may face some new challenges and decisions related to COVID-19 in the upcoming days; no one is really sure what to expect. But, I believe this church has the capacity to put on the mind of Christ and put the Golden Rule into practice.
I’ll see you soon!–DC