I trust you are well today and enjoying the unconditional love of Christ. His is a love that overcomes our fears in the darkest of nights and worth celebrating on the brightest of days. The good and the bad come and go but His love never ends. Do you believe that? I hope you do and am praying that you are spending much more time in the Word reading about His love than you are listening to the news these days.
Speaking of news, I have some good news to relay concerning the return to corporate worship on Sundays. Since the governor has given permission for churches to resume services with specific safety protocols followed, the Church Council and pastors are announcing the return to corporate worship on June 7th. This is a tentative date and may change (be postponed) if a second wave of virus infections hit our area causing county health officials to discourage church gatherings. We will also monitor any spikes in COVID-19 testing results that signal a common sense postponement of in-person worship. With June 7th as our target date, here are several things to keep in mind:
- 1) Two worship services will be provided, 9am and 11am. We ask those attending the 2nd service not arrive before 10:30 to allow for a thorough cleaning of bathrooms and other high touch areas. There will be no nursery, or SS until a later date.
- 2) Morning worship services will continue to be live-streamed through the internet for those more comfortable remaining at home. Please stay home if you show signs of sickness.
- 3) Touchless entry and exits will be provided with ushers helping seat all members and guests upon arrival to ensure social distancing requirements. Please wait to be seated by an usher upon arrival. Ushers will also help with dismissing of members and guests immediately following the service.
- 4) Offering boxes will be located in the foyer and auditorium for those who want to give in person. Deacons and pastors are collaborating on a different method of taking the Lord’s Supper- a plan that will not include the passing of bread and juice plates.
- 5) Bulletins will continue to be provided electronically.
- 6) Water fountains will be closed- please bring your own water. The serving of refreshments is discontinued indefinitely.
- 7) All restrooms will be open for use except those in the children’s wing. We encourage parents to keep their children with them at all times, especially during bathroom visits.
- 8) Though we highly recommend wearing a mask, we are not requiring it. Masks will be provided upon entry if you want one.
- 9) As we resume our services, we encourage all our high-risk individuals to stay home until you are very comfortable with returning to public gatherings. We would much rather you stay home and worship with peace of mind than attend and be distracted by proximity concerns. You are with us in spirit if not in the flesh.
We hope to provide a graphic outline of the phases of return to pre-pandemic ministry for you on the website by this Sunday. The graphics will explain what we recommend for each phase and give us all a better idea of what to expect in days ahead.
Lastly, we are especially thankful for the great response to the church wide survey sent out last week. Nearly 70% responded and provided great input! We have used those results as a basis for many of the above guidelines. We are also grateful for those who provided suggestions about resuming services in other ways. Though those ideas may not be included in the above outline, please know we appreciate your input and especially your prayer support. Please keep praying for us as we move forward during unprecedented days. God has a plan and Jesus loves His church- you and me!