Hey everyone! I know that you are as anxious for the church to reopen as I am. It has been a long time since we have been together, but I wanted to highlight a few things that have happened over the past couple of months.
- We have been taking care of one another
- We have written cards and drawn pictures for one another
- We have made more phone calls and had wonderful conversations
- Groceries have been dropped off at people’s homes.
- We have had the opportunity to be more involved in each other’s lives and I am really proud of the way that we have accomplished this. Leadership has worked really hard to make sure that no one falls through the cracks.
- We have stayed connected through online sources
- This has been a big one. We have gone from doing sermons on Facebook live to having higher quality video and production every week.
- Many of you had probably never heard of Zoom before all of this started but now you are all professionals.
- We have used our Facebook page, YouTube channel and website to keep everyone up to date
- Even our elders have made videos, which I am here to tell you is not an easy thing.
- Ironically, we have had More regular meetings of different people
- Some of our small groups have continued on zoom while some other groups have started up.
- Wednesday night bible study on Philippians where I have gotten to know some people that I did not know very well before
- And who would have thought that sitting at home and typing messages to each other while my family tells jokes would be such a fun time.
All of this has led me to point out that our church is not really closed. We might not have been in the same physical building over the last few months, but the church has not only survived but thrived.
I give God all the credit for that. He has blessed us with such a wonderful community, and it has been a true blessing to be a part of leading you through this time.
So, when are we going to be back together? The answer is that we do not know for sure. There are several factors that need to be considered before we can meet together again.
- Sonoma County has not yet cleared churches to meet
- I know what both the president and governor have said, but our local authorities are concerned about a recent rise in cases. They are not going to say we can open until they are sure that it is safe for us to do so.
- We respect our local decision makers, because we too do not want to put anyone at risk. It is a tough decision to make but we have been praying for them to have wisdom just as we have been praying for God to give us wisdom
- We will not open until they give us the go ahead
- We are waiting on some supplies that are necessary for us to insure a safe environment.
- As you know, cleaning supplies have been in short supply. We have ordered some supplies that will help us clean not only the hard surfaces, but the chairs as well. We are waiting for these things to arrive and are hopeful that they will in the next ten days.
- We have been fortunate to amass a supply of hand sanitizer
- We want to do everything we can so that you don’t have to worry about your safety when you are here.
- To that point, we are not going to all be together again until the leadership of the church feels that we can provide a safe and healthy environment for everyone that wants to be here.
Don’t panic! We are committed to getting back together as soon as we possibly can. Our target date is June 14th. There is new information every day, and we will be closely monitoring what the county is saying as well as preparing ourselves to open.
Let’s talk about what church is going to look like when we are back together. It is going to look different, there is no way around this point. It won’t always be different, but we are fully committed to following the recommendations from local and state government. Janice Garner is the head of our reopening team and she has already been working hard to get us on the right track.
Here are the basics
- We have a small building, and as such we want to make sure that we have enough space to allow for social distancing.
- We are going to offer two services every weekend. The logistics are still being worked out on when those services will be.
- We are going to ask that you attend one service per weekend.
- We would also like to ask that you RSVP for which service you are planning to attend. Since we will have limited seating, we want to make sure that everyone who wants to attend a particular service is able to.
- More information coming on how to RSVP
- Once we have reached capacity, we won’t let anyone else in, so please be understanding as we work all of the details out.
- Everyone must wear a mask.
- We will have masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer available at the building for anyone who needs it.
- All will maintain social distancing. No roaming the isles. No hugging. Stay at your seats. “Air” high fives are allowed.
- Everyone will enter through main door.
- Everyone will be screened prior to entering. You will have your temperature taken with a contactless thermometer and asked questions about your health
- We will not be passing the offering trays. There will be a box available where you will be able to drop your contribution. Online giving will still be an option.
- We have Individual communion wafers and cups which are sealed and will be served in a contactless way.
- When services are over, we are going to have ushers excuse you by rows.
- We are going to be streaming our service live on Sunday morning as well as publishing videos throughout the week.
The last and most important thing. We need to be loving and supportive of one another during this time. I know that some of you are very ready for us to open our doors and you may think that we are waiting too long. Others may think that we are opening our doors too soon and may still be uncomfortable being around a group of people. We want you to know that wherever you fall on this spectrum, our job as the community of Christ is to love and respect one another even if we don’t agree.
Romans chapter 14 tells us that it is ok for us to disagree with one another. But we must not let a disagreement become a means for judgment or division. We are to love one another through disagreement and hold up our relationship with Jesus as THE unifying factor. You are more than welcome to decide for yourself and your family when you feel comfortable coming back. We support you in that decision. We know that some of you may not think we need masks or social distancing, but I want to thank you in advance for supporting us as we feel that this is best for everyone.
Thank so much for your prayers and your patience. We are looking for volunteers so if you want to help, let us know.