A Pastoral Letter to Family of Christ – June 12
Beloved friends and members of Family of Christ,
As the state of Minnesota has begun reopening businesses and restaurants, malls and theaters, churches have been given the go-ahead to start the process of incrementally reopening as well. In our efforts to provide more on-site and in-person ministries, it will continue to be our goal to lower the risks of Covid-19 infection in as many ways as we can, and we’ll utilize the guidelines that the Minnesota Department of Health has provided for faith communities. We will also rely on the guidance of our own synod, who has put together a “Pandemic Preparedness Team,” dedicated to keeping up-to-date with public health.
We will continue to encourage people to practice physical distancing, and to make their best decisions in regards to attending a Bible Study, a Worship Service, a youth event, or a meeting at Family of Christ. And in fact, in most cases, we will have the capability for you to tune in to our events online. So know that if you choose to stay home, you’ll still be able to participate online in our ministries! That is my first encouragement to you – if you are unwell, or have an underlying condition, or are feeling anxious, please do stay home and tune in. We want you to be fully engaged with the ministry we share, but most of all, the staff and the church council want you to feel as safe and secure as you can.
With that said, we are now opening our doors a little at a time to more and more activities. We are listening to both our state and our synod as we adhere to their guidelines, and if we receive advice to dial things back, we will certainly do so. As part of the re-opening, we are ready to now list our open office hours as well as hold outdoor worship services, and hopefully later this summer, indoor worship services can begin too, with managed crowd sizes. See below for some key dates and times for your consideration.
When at church, there will be plenty of hand sanitizer available, plus know that we are utilizing a sanitizing spray in any areas that have heavier usage. We strongly encourage the wearing of masks. We will help people keep a physical distance in the ways we set up our worship and meeting space. And for communion, we will utilize unique communion cups that are self-serve and disposable. When we have any larger gathering, we will release people in small groups so as to not create any bottlenecks at the doorways. We will also limit fellowship time, and we will not be providing in-person Sunday School for the summer. Again, all of these efforts are intended to lower the health risks for us all. Though zero risk cannot be guaranteed, we can and will strive to be as safe as we can in our contacts with each other.
When I wrote to you about closing things down last March, I ended by saying “Jesus is with us on this journey.” I continue to proclaim that, and we can all trust in God to continue making both our virtual ministry and our in-person ministry meaningful for us all. We now begin to take our first careful steps back toward being together, loving each other, caring for each other’s safety, and striving always to journey forward in faith. God’s abiding peace be with you all!
With love, Pastor Josh Nelson