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Coronavirus updates

                                                                                                May 5, 2020

Dear Church Family,

            Yesterday afternoon (5/4) our Governor presented the guidelines recommended for churches who choose to meet entering Phase 1 of reopening. That evening Mitch and I met with the deacons and arrived at a decision I will present and then detail in just a moment. Before I do that however, I want to acknowledge we are fully aware that there are differing opinions within our church on this issue—and that’s okay!

            Let me encourage you to spend some time meditating on Romans 12-14 to help explain. In Romans 12, Paul calls the church to love one another. In Romans 13, Paul calls the church to submit to the governing authorities. In Romans 14, Paul calls the church to exercise their freedoms in faith. Each of these principles are vital for us to navigate this pandemic as a church in a way that honors the Lord and promotes unity.

            By continuing to care for one another and being considerate of different understandings, we are seeking to love one another. By abiding by the guidelines proposed by our state government, we are seeking to submit to our governing authorities. By arriving at a decision while still encouraging those convinced otherwise to abide by their consciences, we are seeking to act in faith.

            With that being said, we have decided to begin meeting together again this Sunday (5/10) at 10:00 a.m. The specific guidelines I will pinpoint here will be in place through Phase 1, or until new information changes our course. There is a lot of information to cover, but hopefully these bullet points will give you the gist:

  • Sunday morning corporate worship only (no Sunday school, small groups, or nursery

  • Meeting at 10:00 a.m.

  • Space on far side aisles will be available for strollers

  • Aiming to meet for 45-60 minutes

  • No coffee stations, bulletins, or greeters before or after the service

  • No announcements, greeting time, or offertory during the service

  • Please continue to give as you have been or in boxes stationed at exits

  • Front and side doors will be propped open to avoid contact

  • Security team will watch doors and parking lot, but not function as greeters

  • Signs on doors prohibiting those with possible COVID-19 symptoms

  • Hand sanitizer stations at doors

  • Masks worn by all over 10 years old (if you don’t have one, we will have extras)

  • Maintain 6 feet of distance outside of household members

  • Seating available in every other row and three seats in from aisles

  • Directed exiting by rows to the front and back to control flow of traffic

  • Continue to use email/mail/OneCall for announcements

  • Songs and Scripture texts will be emailed out before Sunday

  • Sermon audio will be posted to Facebook and our church podcast on Sunday

  • Virtual Zoom prayer meetings on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. (Meeting ID: 992 0624 2251 for 5/6)

            Please understand that the decision to meet is in no way a condemnation of those who will temporarily decide not to meet. Given the current situation, there is freedom to act in faith on both sides of this issue. However, let me plead with you to prayerfully make your decision after seeking counsel from medical personnel and family members. The desire to gather back together is a good and right desire. However, the same grace of God that has sustained us while we haven’t been able to gather will continue to sustain those who remain unable to gather with us.

            The reality is, no one can make this decision for you. You will have to seek the Lord and make it for yourself in faith after being fully convinced in your own mind. If you decide not to gather, you should not feel guilty or in any way inferior to those who do. Praise the Lord our right standing with God is rooted solely in the finished work of Christ and not our church attendance! These are trying times, but as we’ll see from James 1 this Sunday, Lord willing, God is using these trials to produce steadfastness in us. May we continue to show unusual grace and charity to one another in this unusual time.


                                                                                                With love,