June 19, 2020 Letter from Pastor Mark

June 19, 2020

Good Morning Church Family….

We are thankful to continue in-person worship this Sunday at 10am.  Further, we have taken appropriate measures to mitigate the risks associated with mass gatherings. Please note the following requests for this week’s service:

1.  We request the wearing of masks during congregational singing.  Masks will be available in the narthex.

2.  Persons who are sick (including family members) are encouraged to remain at home. The online service available on YouTube

3.  Please check the church website regularly for the latest reopening updates.

Moving forward, Paul’s words to the church at Philippi are helpful, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:4).  Thank you in advance for honoring our Lord and one another during this time.

For The Elders,

Pastor Mark

May 18,2020 Letter from Pastor Mark

May 18, 2020

Dear Church Family…

After reevaluating the current risks associated with in-person worship, the Session has agreed to postpone this week’s service, scheduled for Sunday, May 24th.  In so doing, all current risk factors were considered: namely, the risks associated with congregational singing and the risk of spiking infection rates due to the reopening of businesses and other public domains.  Further, the congregational survey revealed the need for two worship services, causing reevaluation of logistical and volunteer support.  Therefore, we will execute our reopening initiative in stages and each stage will allow for mitigation of current risk factors as we progress to “normal operations.” Presently, our church remains in stage one with a tentative stage two date of Sunday, June 14th.  See below for the three stages of this reopening initiative:

Stage One: 

  • No in-person worship at this time.
  • Continue online worship.
  • Continued evaluation of in-person gatherings.
  • Prepare for increased risk reduction measures in the church buildings such as sanitation/cleaning and hygiene measures.
  • Encourage members to adhere to local, state and federal guidelines when gathered for in-person ministries and church activities.
  • Maintain unity in the bond of peace.

Stage Two: (Only if the risk of community transmission remains low)

  • Resume public worship with attendees having no underlying conditions or family members with no underlying conditions at home.
  • Implement increased sanitation/cleaning and hygiene measures at church.
  • Refrain from handshakes and hugs.
  • Maintain physical distancing in worship (at least six feet, excluding households).
  • Reevaluate passing of the offering bags and distribution of bulletins.
  • Implement precautionary measures for serving communion.
  • Continue online worship for those who remain at home.
  • Keep the fellowship hall and church offices closed.
  • No nursery or Sunday School offered.
  • Require all persons engaging in worship, to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and/or gloves.
  • Maintain unity in the bond of peace.

Stage Three: (Only if the underlying risks are significantly reduced)

  • Church building occupancy in accordance with official recommendations.
  • Maintain increased sanitation/cleaning and hygiene measures at church.
  • Resume public worship with other members (as they feel comfortable).
  • Continue online worship.
  • Evaluate opening nursery and Sunday school.
  • Continue communion without precautionary measures as necessary.
  • Physical distancing may be relaxed and masks may become optional in some places.
  • Maintain unity in the bond of peace.

As we resume in-person worship/church activities, please know we will do so through prayerful discussion, discernment and concern for the entirety of our community.  Surely, we will encounter awkward moments as we adjust to new protocols/practices and there will be times of frustration and disappointment.  Nonetheless, these will be opportunities to exercise love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  It is our heart’s desire to once again physically experience great celebrations, sincere fellowship and worship as the body of Christ.  As we progress toward those goals, let us remain faithful to God and one another as we strive together amid these challenging times in our church and in the world.  Thus, we echo the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Rome, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 8:38-39

For The Elders With Sincere Love,

Pastor Mark