Like most people, I am watching the coronavirus situation closely, looking into the research available, and keeping up with the recommendations of government and health officials. I have also reached out to both local churches and churches in our 3Strand Network to see how they are proceeding with church services and events. The concern for us as a church is, on the one hand, to keep people safe and limit the spread of the virus, and on the other hand, not dismiss the value of regularly gathering as a church.
At this point, there is no ban on gatherings of our size, in our region. For the time being, we will proceed as follows:
We will continue to hold Sunday services, with some changes:
- We will only have one Roots Kids’ class option, for 0-36 months. The rest of the kids are welcome (as always) to come in the service. We will have crayons and paper available (or you can bring your own).
- We will not be taking communion;
- We will have one designated person serving coffee;
- We ask that you refrain from shaking hands (bump elbows?);
- We suggest that, if possible, you leave a 2-3 chair distance between yourself and other families (per the recommendation of 6 feet of space).
- We will have hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes around the building. Additionally, a deeper clean will be performed before each service, including sanitizing all door knobs and surfaces.
- We are working on have a live stream of the service set up by this Sunday. I will keep you posted on that.
In considering whether to come to the service, please consider the guidelines given by health officials:
- If you are ill, please stay home.
- If you fall into one of the “at risk” categories (elderly, pregnant moms), please stay home.
- Wash hands well and often.
- Give people space
I realize, of course, some of you may choose to not attend even if you aren’t at increased risk, and that’s alright. I understand and leave such a decision to your own conscience and best judgment.
We will postpone the start of men’s and women’s studies two weeks. Men’s study will start Monday, March 30th, and women’s study will start Wednesday, April 1. If this needs to be changed further, we will let you know.
We will cancel the church potluck on March 23, and we will cancel the parent covenant ceremony scheduled for this coming Sunday.
Lastly, this situation may give us new opportunities to love and serve one another, as well as our neighbors. In other words, we do not stop “being the church” and doing what the church is called to no matter what adjustments we have to make. Those in the “at risk” categories may not be comfortable going out to get needed supplies. Depending on how things progress, some may be out of work, and lose income. Let’s both be aware of these situations, and be willing to ask for help if we find ourselves in these situations.
Also, continue to pray–for health officials, for those out of work, for our community–continue to comfort the hurting as you have a chance, consider how God might be working in your life and the lives of those around you though this, and live with hope in our good and sovereign God who mourns with us, but does not fear or freak out with us.