Dear Church Family,
The last two weeks have been very challenging for our congregation, but it’s still easy to see God’s gracious hand guiding us. After several church members and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 and suffered through many symptoms and setbacks, it appears that the spread in our congregation has essentially stopped. I would ask that you continue to pray for a few of our members who are still dealing with more serious symptoms and issues related to the virus. By God’s grace, my family has come through this virus and we are doing well.
Two things are abundantly clear to me at this point. First, it is important that we as a congregation gather as best as we can in order to worship and grow as a family of faith. These are difficult times in which we are living, and I believe it is as important as ever that our church be united together for worship and spiritual growth. Second, we must take significant steps to ensure the public health of our congregation so that we do not put already vulnerable church members at more serious risk. With all of this in mind, we have decided to regather for corporate worship on Sunday, September 20. While we planned to reintroduce Sunday School on September 13, we are looking at a date later this fall to hopefully reconnect in groups.
The church facilities have gone through a thorough cleaning, especially focusing on sanitizing the worship center and sanctuary common spaces. Our facility staff has consulted with those who service our HVAC units to ensure our equipment is properly circulating air and allowing for fresh air intake. Our staff has revisited all of our health and safety protocols and decided to increase requirements in certain areas in order to better ensure a safe environment for our full congregation.
We cannot know exactly how the virus spread at our church but we want to do all we can to prevent it in the future. The best information about this virus is that you are likely infected and contagious for 48 hours before symptoms begin to show. That means someone could get infected on a Friday, come to church on a Sunday without showing any symptoms, and spread the virus to others before showing symptoms that Sunday evening or Monday morning. Therefore, the best thing we can do is encourage folks to take precautions to prevent spread by maintaining physical distance from others and wearing a mask. We also will be placing a limit on the number of people in the service and looking at options for overflow or a second service.
There are five key components to our health and safety protocols:
Reservations: Everyone should make a reservation via the church office or website so that we have a record of who is attending and can contact you in the event anything should change. Those who arrive without a reservation are asked to check in at the Connection Desk in the foyer.
Personal Responsibility: Anyone testing positive, showing symptoms of COVID-19, or who has been exposed to the virus should not attend until cleared by medical officials or allowed to be around others according to public health regulations.
Temperature Checks: Upon entry to the church, volunteers and staff will conduct temperature checks with touchless monitors at all building entrances. Anyone registering a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be asked to return home and monitor your health.
Masks: Everyone over the age of 10 is required to wear a mask upon entry, exit and while moving around the church building. We strongly encourage people to wear masks during the service, especially while singing. There will be masks available at entrances for those who forget or do not have a mask.
Seating: Pews will be marked for seating in order to ensure social distancing between family units. Those who arrive at the church in the same vehicle or from the same household should sit together on the ends of available pews. The center portion of the pew sections will be blocked to better organize our seating.
My hope is that you will be assured of our church leadership’s commitment to providing a safe environment and that you will be supportive of these protocols. I know that some of these guidelines go against the grain of our individual desire for personal preference and will make some of what we do as a church more difficult to accomplish, but I believe that this is what we must do at this time in order to move forward as a congregation. May God bless us and guide us.
In Service to the King,
Pastor Wes Church