Regathering to Worship Guidelines
Click the button below to access our guidelines which have been developed to properly balance our love for God and our love for our neighbor.
How special it will be to finally gather in the church building! We anticipate the reopening of our church building to be filled with the sounds of fellowship and worship once again. Before I get to the timeline we have developed, I want to explain a few important considerations which have guided the leadership in this decision.
First, we want our decision to always reflect well upon the name of Christ. We will not proceed rashly but rather methodically. Second, we want to maintain a history of respect and compliance. If our general practice has shown respect for our political leaders, then in the unforeseen event we should ever have to disagree with them we have established a precedent which speaks well of this ministry. Third, we are teaching the next generation how to navigate difficult situations and how we ought to respond biblically. By praying for wisdom and appealing to Scripture, we teach them how you can respect the authorities God has placed in your life regardless of whether you agree with them or not. Fourth, we are a church family. As much as possible, we want to make these decisions so we can all transition together as a church family. There are many in our church family who would fall into the high-risk category and it may be a little while longer before we are able to worship together in the church building again. However, within our church family, people are spread across the spectrum from concern to cautious to carefree. As we have chosen to do with other decisions, we wish to not rush ahead of some and at the same time not stand still for the sake of others.
Family Conference and Homecoming Service
For the upcoming Family Conference and Homecoming services we plan to set up the large white tent. We will have the rows under the tent arranged in compliance with social distancing. This affords the benefit for some who are not yet ready to gather closely to still worship from their vehicle surrounding the tent. Our guest speaker, Evangelist Chris Miller no doubt will enjoy having some folks sitting in the tent to speak to as well. We celebrate typically with dinner on the grounds. We are encouraging each of you to bring a picnic lunch next Sunday. After the morning service, you can either eat in your vehicle or you can throw a blanket out on the fields and enjoy. Let me again stress, everything we do should follow the authorities’ desires within reason. After the picnic lunch, we will have a second service which will conclude our weekend conference.
Prerequisites for Regathering
With regards to regathering in the church building, we have three items that must be addressed for compliance and to simplify the transition. These items are the following:
- We need to have a supply of hand sanitizer and other PPE materials available.
To regather, it has been recommended by legal counsel to have these supplies on hand and available. These are difficult to acquire, but I felt if I asked the entire church for your help gathering these supplies, we would be successful.
- We need to have three teams of volunteers to sanitize the facilities following their assigned service.
One of the reassurances to the authorities and community is that we will have a sanitized environment. For us to share this load, I am asking for many volunteers to help with this responsibility. It would be ideal to have three teams and each team would have an assigned service. They would quickly sanitize the church building after their assigned service.
- We will release worship-in-person guidelines developed from wise counsel and request the church family’s agreement.
Every decision we make has been informed by a desire to protect this ministry and present an incontestable timeline. This final item will put into writing worship-in-person guidelines which will seem common sense, but according to legal counsel should be in writing and clearly posted.
Once these items have been addressed, we will begin reopening the church. In the meantime, we plan to continue meeting under the tent which should prove to be refreshing. There is confusion regarding the limitation set for no large gatherings of more than 25 people. I have repeatedly verified, including a call to our state representative, this restriction does not apply to churches at this time. It is my belief if we are wise in the way we self-regulate the regathering process, then we will not ever experience restriction. The dates I am about to list are contingent on these three prerequisites.
Regathering for Wednesday and Sunday Evening Services
It is our desire to open for worship-in-person the Wednesday and Sunday evening services beginning June 3, 2020. There will not be any nursery, childcare, or additional services offered during this phase as recommended by several sources. We will plan to livestream the services so high-risk individuals can continue to worship with us virtually.
Regathering for Sunday Morning Worship Services
It is our desire to open for worship-in-person the Sunday morning worship services beginning June 21, 2020. There will still not be any nursery, childcare, or additional services offered during this phase as recommended by several sources. One of our framing considerations has been to move together as a church as much as possible. As this date approaches, please do not hesitate to give me feedback. If you are still concerned, then please let me know. It helps me make informed decisions when I hear from you. We will plan to livestream the services so high-risk individuals can continue to worship with us virtually.
Regathering for Sunday School
It is our desire to open for worship-in-person the Sunday School program beginning July 5, 2020. The format may be altered for the short term when we get to this point, but it will be good to provide something for the children and I know the adults will enjoy meeting as a class again. It is at this point when we will consider reopening nursery as well, but the decision will be based on recommendations from several sources.
We will have two summer activities, which will be scheduled in August and September, to help the boys fulfill their badge requirements. We hope to begin this fall without having to carry over anything from the previous year.
As things stand right now, it looks like camp may be a strong possibility. The campground anticipates any restrictions will be lifted by mid-June.
They are waiting until the last possible moment to make the call regarding the Town Meeting. When we know for certain what they will be allowed to do, we will decide how we will participate in this key annual outreach.
We are still evaluating this ministry. It is highly probable that this ministry will take place in a different format. We are weighing all the recommendations regarding VBS as we make the decision necessary for our ministry.
Thank you for being faithful to the Lord during this time. These decisions are not easy to make. Many hours have been spent researching and receiving counsel so we will make the wise decision.
If you have any concerns or questions, then please share those with Pastor.