You probably are aware that our governor provided some options for churches to gather in phases 1 and 2. In phase 1, churches can gather outside on their property with up to 100 people. In phase 2, churches can gather in their buildings up to 25% of capacity, or 50 people, whichever is less. Snohomish County is currently in phase 1, and it looks like it will be a couple weeks at least until we move to phase 2.
But for the time being, we have the option of meeting outdoors. Hans and I met yesterday, and after thinking and praying about it, we are going to take advantage of this option, weather permitting. We will be meeting this Sunday at 10:30 in our west parking lot. Holding a service outside on our property is something that we’ve wanted to do at some point, and this gives us a chance to try it. It allows us to be a little more visibly present in our community, and perhaps have the gospel heard by those driving/walking by.
One of the main reasons we have abided by the governor’s orders so far is for the sake of witness: we don’t want to seem unconcerned for the health and wellbeing of our community. While it is possible that some people may still think gathering in this way is unwise (even if permitted), we don’t think this will be the reaction of many. The truth is, some people don’t want churches meeting at all, regardless of Covid-19.
So here is what you need to know:
- We will still be streaming the service live. Some of you are not comfortable gathering yet, and that is fine. We want you to still be able to follow along at home, as you have been. As previously mentioned, we are aware of the streaming issues last week and are fixing the issue (full storage on the ipad used to stream).
- The outdoor gathering will be weather dependent. We will send an email confirmation by 7 am Sunday morning. If we don’t meet outside, we’ll stream the service as we have been.
- We will have chairs available, but suggest bringing your own (lawn chairs, blankets) to limit touching surfaces. We will disinfect the church chairs used after each service.
- We will not be serving coffee. We WILL be taking communion, but with some changes (individual cups, zip-lock bags of bread).
- We will not have any kids’ classes at this point. However, as we make a point of communicating: we love kids, and love having them participate in the service. We will be outside, along a main road, and there will be various noises and distractions. Don’t worry about kids getting antsy or needing to move around. Also know that we will keep the service a bit shorter than normal.
- We will be following the safety practices communicated by the governor’s office. We ask that you wear “face coverings before, during, and after the service.” At the least, this helps us be a good witness to those passing by. We will have sanitizer and disinfectant wipes available. We will use only the main bathroom, and have gloves, soap, and sanitizer available near the door. As required, we will have a full site-plan of our safety practices posted at the church (if you’d like to see this beforehand, respond to this email). If you are showing any signs or symptoms of Covid-19, please watch the service from home.
- To be up front with you all (literally and as a figure of speech), I am not sure that I will wear a mask while preaching and/or leading in song, (though I will wear one before and after the service). My reasoning is that this muffles the audio (both live and for those at home), hides facial expressions (which contribute to clear communication), and overall makes it harder to follow along. I am seeing if the governor’s office can be pressed on this issue, but just want you to know the reasoning for why I may not where a face covering. We will ensure there is at least 10 feet between me and the first chairs.
- Finally, to ensure that we stay under the 100-person limit, please RSVP using this link. No, we are not tracking your names to give to the government. You don’t even have to give your name, just the number in your party.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I love and miss you all, and am excited to see some of you this week, God willing.