Pastoral Letter (5/14/20) Reopening Plan

As we open our services this week,
we have a number of changes to our schedule this Sunday.
Please review this email carefully.

Meeting Together: Our Reopening Plan for May 17, 2020

Dear New Life in Christ Church Family,

Colossians 3:16–17 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”


I am very happy to tell you that we will open worship services to include more people starting this Sunday morning, May 17. The governor has expanded approved attendance to 50% of our capacity and our session has agreed that we should start meeting this week.

We are grateful for the chance to worship together, but we also take the health and well being of every member seriously, as well as the expectations of our neighbors and our governor. My goal in writing this email is to prepare you for what you will experience.

We will have two services this Sunday, to continue for the near future.

First service will be at 8:30 AM.

** Second service will be at 10:30 AM ** Note Time Change

Both services will be identical.

We will livestream the 10:30 AM service (

We have created a plan to worship in a safe way and to follow requirements in the governor’s “Forward Virginia” plan. Things will obviously look different than they have in the past, and we are just grateful for the chance to worship together. We will sing, pray and study God’s Word together.

We understand that some people will not be comfortable returning to a gathered worship service yet and we will continue to offer the livestream for everyone at home. We hope that our plan will make it easier for people who want to join for corporate worship to do so with confidence.

That being said, we recommend that some people don’t come to the worship service. All of us have heard that this virus is especially difficult and even deadly for “older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions” (you can find the CDC risk factors here).  If you are part of this vulnerable group, you may want to remain home and watch the livestream until the CDC guidance changes.

Also, we insist that you not attend if you are sick, if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, or if you have been with people who are sick with the virus. You should already know the symptoms: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell (source). Again, if you have these symptoms, for the love of your neighbor and your own health, please stay home and watch the livestream. Join us when the symptoms pass.

Finally, would you please help us by letting us know what you plan to do? We have a quick survey for you to let us know which service you plan to attend. This will help us ensure we have adequate seating at each service (RSVP here). It is only three questions, and it will help us immensely.

Let me tell you some of what we are planning to safely begin gathered worship services again:

  • We will have two services to reduce the number of people present at any one service.This will allow us to get a handle on the number of people we can anticipate in the weeks to come.Please come to whichever service you prefer. We believe natural preferences will balance attendance between both services. If one service is smaller than the other, that’s okay! Again, please let us know which you will attend.
  • We will clean after the first service and after the second service. Anybody who comes in for the second service should expect to have a clean environment to worship in. If you would like to visit with others, we simply ask that you not loiter in the sanctuary after the service, but visit outside so we can get the sanctuary cleaned after both services.
  • We have taken out most of the chairs to keep wide aisles and to maintain 6’ between rows. There are about 200 chairs in the sanctuary.
  • We welcome and invite children to the services. Please sit together with the members of your family. We will not have a nursery, but the cry room will be available.
  • Leave three empty seats between households to ensure 6’ separation standards. Please ask an usher if you need help finding a seat.
  • Please be willing to move if we need to make room for others. Please be patient with us and one another at this time.
  • We have overflow rooms available if we are not able to fit everyone who comes.
  • No nursery or Junior Worship.
  • We will not have adult or children Sunday school so we can clean the sanctuary. We will continue the class on the Apostles Creed by making it available online for streaming.
  • 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.
  • All other official group meetings will continue to meet virtually. This includes Evening Service, Youth Group, Care Groups, Bible Studies, Mission Teams and everything. We ask your patience and respect on this as we wrap our minds around reopening, and also to respect people who are not ready yet to go out. We have valuable leaders who may not be ready to venture to someone else’s house yet. We have a session meeting June 5, so if you would like for your group to meet in person, please let us know.
  • You will see pedestrian paths marked into and out of the sanctuary. The main doors will be for coming into the sanctuary. The side doors will be for exiting the sanctuary.
  • We will have soap and sanitizer available.
  • Tithes and offerings can be given online at our website, through the app, and we will make the offering plates available at the exits after the service.
  • We will not use hymn books or have a greeting time. Everything in the service should be available on the screen.
  • Please come a bit early so we can get situated before the service starts. It may take a bit longer to get seated.
  • Again, if you are not able to attend in person, the live stream will still be available for your use.

Please be prayerful and be flexible. Let’s serve the Lord Jesus, one another, and our neighbor by coming in with hopeful, generous, and positive attitudes.

This is a time for us to keep our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus. He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1). Whatever we may think about the present circumstances, we must remember that Jesus Christ brings us together as one family. We are united to one another as we are united to Him.

I am so looking forward to worshipping with you on Sunday, whether live or by the livestream. If you or someone needs a CD copy of the service, please contact the church office at 540-786-4848.

Faithfully Yours,
Pastor Sean

Remember: If you have specific needs, please let us know ( || 540-786-4848) so that we can pray for you and offer any practical help. Our elders are available as are our deacons ( Please be aware of your neighbors needs, especially the elderly and vulnerable. We are here for you.


Upcoming Events 

Saturday (5/16/2020)

Sunday (5/17/2020)

  • 8:30 am – First Service (No livestream)
  • Sunday school class will be uploaded for viewing online
  • 9:45-10:15 Cleaning
  • 10:30 Second Service (Livestream:
  • 4 pm (note time change) – Youth Discipleship Group (look for Zoom Link from Jay Storms)
  • 4:30 PM – Care Group Leaders Meeting (Speak to Pastor Sam for Zoom link)
  • Evening Word & Fellowship: Bob Rumbaugh Teaching (at 6:00 pm via Zoom) available by Live Stream
  • 7 PM- Cherokee Team Meeting (speak to Jay Storms for Zoom link)

MONDAY: Zoom Prayer Room at 5 PM:

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