We hope this letter finds both your body and soul doing well in the Lord. We are excited to announce that we will begin gathering for corporate worship once again starting Sunday, May 31st at 11:00 a.m.
As we prepare to gather again, we know that there are questions in everyone’s mind concerning what things are going to look like moving forward. Below we have tried to anticipate and answer your most prominent questions and provide recommendations.
1. What if I am sick or don’t feel 100%?
Out of love for others, please stay home and worship with us online.
2. What if I am in the high-risk category?
We are encouraging those who are in the high-risk category to stay home and worship with us online. That being said, we know that there will be some of you in this category who will elect to join us for corporate worship anyway. Obviously, that is your call to make. We trust you to make the right decision for your situation. Our basic encouragement to everyone is just to be wise and prayerful as we ease back into gathering for corporate worship.
3. What if I still don’t feel comfortable about gathering for worship?
That is perfectly fine. There is no shame in not attending during this unique season. When you do feel ready to join us, we will welcome you with open arms!
4. Will online service still be provided?
Yes. We plan to stream the worship gathering as usual on Facebook Live starting at 11 a.m. each Sunday.
5. What about masks?
Masks are optional. If the fact that others might not wear masks concerns you, refer back to question #3.
6. What about Sunday morning classes, childcare, fellowship time, etc.?
The only thing we are adding to our weekly calendar at this point is the Sunday morning worship gathering. We will not be offering family fellowship time, Sunday School classes, or childcare at this time.
7. How will seating be configured in the sanctuary?
Once you enter the building, we encourage you to immediately go into the sanctuary and be seated. Please be respectful of other people's space and avoid physical contact with each other. We ask that people sit every other row and avoid sitting with people you haven't seen recently.
8. How should we welcome one another?
Smile and wave. Do an “air-high-five.” Perhaps a bow or curtsy, but please, don’t shake hands, hug, or “greet one another with a holy kiss” (Rom. 16:16) for the time being.
9. What about families with young children?
Since we understand that “social distancing” doesn’t exactly come naturally to children, we ask that parents try to keep their children close and limit their physical contact with others as much as possible.
10. What about Communion?
We will be serving Communion on the 31st when we return, but it will look a little different. The elders will serve Communion as usual, but we will not pass the plates. Instead, the elders will bring the plates to each individual. If you are nervous about taking Communion for any reason, we invite you to refrain from taking Communion this Sunday and wait until you can take it without concern.
11. What other prudent steps will we be taking to ensure everyone’s safety?
Greeters will be there to welcome you but not shake your hand. All sanctuary doors will be propped open. Hand sanitizer will be available. Bulletins will not be provided. Bring your own Bible!
Instead of passing the offering, we will have an offering plate at the back of the sanctuary for you to place your offering in as you leave. At the end of our gathering, we ask that people patiently give each other space and not linger in the foyer as we exit the building. It will take a little longer, but let's ensure that we're respectful of each other's needs.
12. When will we return to “normal” again?
Good question. Like you, we will continue to see how everything unfolds. However, one thing is for sure, whatever “normal” we eventually get to will be a new normal.
13. What should I keep at the forefront of my mind during all of this?
This would be a wonderful time for all of us to meditate on Ephesians 4:1-2 - “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
God has called us to be a people marked by humility, gentleness, patience, love, and peace.
We may disagree with one another on a whole host of things connected to the coronavirus crisis, but, as followers of Jesus, we must work for unity and peace by relating to one another with all humility, gentleness, patience, and love.