The short answer is no. The New Life in Christ Church mask policy is: “You are welcome to wear a mask but they are not required for those worshipping at the services. We are requiring our volunteers, who are working with or around others, to wear masks. While masks are optional, the CDC recommends, “Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public.” Please read this website for clarification and safety practices: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html”
The governor of Virginia has mandated the use of masks except for religious rituals and health reasons. If someone comes in without a mask we will assume that you are not wearing a mask so you can practice a religious ritual or for a health concern.
You can read the governor’s order online to find out more. We will make a mask available to those who want one.
Visiting? Please note that most people do not wear masks during the service.
Pastor Sean’s Take:
Let me be frank, I would love that everyone would wear a mask. I know this may not be possible, sometimes it is impractical, and health concerns of masks or traumatic experiences may be too much for some, but I can’t help the desire for every person at New Life in Christ to be healthy. I want our witness to remain strong and to keep our ability to continue to meet. I also believe that masks are an important part of helping stop the pandemic, of protecting those around us, and of guarding the public witness of our church.
Like I have said in the past, we can provide a safer environment for worship, but not a risk-free environment. The way the disease is spread makes gathered worship a concern, which is why we have tried to provide adequate social distancing and health measures. We believe that we have the responsibility to make worship services available for the glory of God, love to the church, and outreach to our neighbors. Again, if you are not ready for the risk of public worship, we encourage you to continue watching the livestream until conditions change.
I don’t personally mind wearing a mask for the service, which I’ve done over the last couple weeks. It’s an inconvenience for sure, but to me not a big deal. That’s just me, plus I get to take it off to preach. Other people, for their own reasons, have to choose differently. That’s okay too. (See my article On Shibboleths). At a time like this, we must committed to giving others the benefit of the doubt and a charitable opinion, treating others as adults, and keeping our eyes on Christ.
We are one church, belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ. Each of us are at a different spot in his or her own health, in responsibilities, in relationships, and in readiness to get out, even to worship services. Some of the fears people have, especially at this point, are God-given natural concerns. The Bible upholds a high value for preserving our life and health. It is true that we are not to value life to the point of committing a sin or hurting others, but we are free to make prudent decisions and follow our conscience in preserving these things. Jesus understands our fears, and he cares. He is “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). Take your time. Be safe. Keep your eyes fixed on Christ.