“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” (Psalm 95:2)
God has been so good to our congregation over the last few months. God has given us good health and the number of new COVID-19 cases in our county remains relatively low. While one family had the virus, God granted them healing and we have been able to join together again in worship. This is good news and speaks to the kindness of God, diligence of so many people in our church and region.
The health and safety of every member and visitor is serious to us, so is our ability to worship together and to meet with and encourage one another. For good reason, the writer of Hebrews says,
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24–25)
We need the encouragement of being with one another, studying the Scripture, and praying for each other. As Hebrews 10 shows, gathering is critical for our spiritual health, so we will do what we can. In the past, I have usually thought of this passage as the reason “why we should go to church”. Now, I look at the passage as saying, “this is why we need church”. COVID19 has revealed just how much we need each other.
In light of this, we are looking forward to the fall and trying to anticipate what fall ministry looks like for our congregation. While there still are many details to work out, we are committed to working them out in order to reopen ministries this fall, with appropriate safety and health measures in place.
In brief, I want to communicate what we anticipate for our fall ministries.
- Morning Worship Services – We will continue to have two services at 8:30 AM and 10:30 AM with streaming for the second service for the foreseeable future. While our commonwealth has moved to Phase 3, it doesn’t change many things for Sunday morning, and social distancing standards mean we will keep the same seating pattern.
- Evening Services – We will continue to have evening service at 6 PM with live streaming.
- Childrens and Youth Ministries – We plan to start some of our childrens and youth ministries in the fall, so long as we can practice proper social distancing. We will work with our children’s ministry leaders to organize and coordinate these efforts. Youth leaders will meet August 16 to plan the kickoff.
- Nursery – We hope to be able to get the nursery going this summer, in support of families with children. While our typical safety protocols are very good, we will work to update them to accommodate COVID19 requirements.
- Care Groups – We plan to restart Care Groups in the Fall, with some in person and some online. We will have a leader meeting in August. We will work to have online care groups for shut-ins as well, knowing that we are all in different places until this passes.
In these things, we are totally dependent upon God. Please be in prayer for us as we consider our reopening plan for the fall. Pray for the health and safety of our congregation. Please continue to be attentive to posted social distancing guidelines, and remember that there is a mask mandate for the state, excepting health and religious rituals.
“In His heart, man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
We updated our Phase 3 Building Use and Ministry Plan, which you can access online by clicking here. Updated plans include children’s ministry, a note on choirs and general guidance on food in the church.