Dear Church Family,
We are in a time of uncertainty, and we are grateful that God is an unchanging God and that He has given us an unchanging Scripture to guide us and an unchanging Holy Spirit to abide with us.
It is time to consider a resumption of worship services. Your church staff members and I have prayed about this and looked forward to the time when we can reassemble as a church. We recognize that not all our members will be able to gather at this time and we are praying that God will hasten the time when we can all be together.
We have considered various approaches to a restart. It is unusual for a Pastor to say that there are people that we encourage not to attend as we begin to gather for worship again. If you are ill, if you are elderly, if you have a medical conditions that puts you at risk for the virus, if you have children and are concerned with their risk of infection, if you are uncomfortable with the idea of returning to church at this time for any reason, or if you would attend only because you feel a sense of guilt in not attending, we encourage you to wait until a more safe time to begin to attend.
On May 31, we will begin to “re-start” our worship together, but there will be some changes to our normal approach to worship.
1. Sunday School will not meet on campus at 9:15 as it did before the disruption of services. Those classes meeting online should continue to do so, and those who have made other arrangements to meet should also continue as they see fit and feel comfortable.
2. There will be no nursery.
3. The doors of the church will be propped open prior to the beginning of the service.
4. There will be no offering plates passed; we will provide a way to give at all entrances to the sanctuary. Online giving is still an option.
5. There will be no bulletins, so bring a pad if you want to take notes.
6. The ushers will not greet you with a hug or a handshake.
7. There will be no choir.
8. All pew tops and door handles will be sanitized.
9. There will be no official congregational greeting time.
10. Available pews will be marked in six-foot increments. When choosing a place to sit, please think about your proximity to others. Both your comfort and safety and theirs should be considered.
11. There will be hand sanitizer at each entrance and exit to the sanctuary.
12. You should wear a mask if you are comfortable doing so.
13. An invitation will be offered. We will gladly receive you or you can set up a time to meet with a staff member during the week.
14. We will continue to “live-stream” the worship service for those who wish to worship at home.
I cannot stress too strongly that if you are in a high risk group for the virus, if you are ill, if you have small children, if you are uncomfortable for any reason in attending, please, please do not attend.
If we need to make changes to the services, we will make them on a week to week basis, informing you as we make them. Additionally, a team has been assembled to help plan a celebration service as we return to worshiping together. This celebration service will occur when attendance levels can return to “pre-Covid 19” levels.
God has been faithful to us in these difficult times. We are more dependent on Him, our prayer lives are stronger, and we have had fewer distractions in our walks with Him. More importantly, His work and presence in our lives have become more precious to us. As we return to worship, and as we begin to make progress in the Intentional Interim process, this heightened sensitivity to Him will be a great asset to us. Pray for your church family, pray for me, and pray that you will continue to walk with the Lord as we move forward.