Pastoral Update- March 12, 2021
Beloved members and friends of Family of Christ,
Over the past few weeks, our staff and lay-leaders have again entered into discussion about a worship re-opening decision. We are at the one-year mark since the initial closing down of our church and it is time again to make an intentional effort to begin the process of safely re-opening and safely re-engaging with in-person worship and learning opportunities. We continue to keep a close watch on the ramping up of vaccinations, while also tracking the grip that the Covid-19 virus still has on our communities. Though infection rates are falling, Coronavirus variations do present an ongoing concern. We continue to take our cues from government and health officials as they advise the cautious re-opening of restaurants, gyms, theaters, and yes, churches too. With all that said, it strikes us that it is time to try again to allow for indoor in-person worship. We’ll take small steps forward in the hopes of taking bigger steps once we get into May and June. We appreciate all the ways that our church members and friends have shared their prayerful support to those of us in leadership, being patient with our pace of re-opening, and helping us keep everybody as safe as we possibly can.
So here’s the plan:
Starting on April 11, we’ll begin welcoming up to 50 in-person worshipers at the 8:30 AM worship service. As before we’ll ask you to pre-register, and when you attend, follow all the common-sense precautions, as well as be fully masked during your time in the church building. The service will be kept short at 30 minutes, with minimal singing, and we’ll refrain from a coffee fellowship time for now. If weather permits, we can gather on our outdoor patio afterwards for conversation and fellowship.
Starting on April 25, we’ll begin welcoming up to 50 in-person worshipers at the 10 AM worship service, which also will be livestreamed. We will ask people to pre-register, and to follow all the common-sense precautions, and of course, to be fully masked. Indoor fellowship won’t start up yet, but if the weather allows, we may gather on our outdoor patio afterwards for fellowship.
We will not be setting up in-person nursery availability yet, nor Sunday School, nor Christos of Confirmation classes. Initially, we want to take small steps with our in-person worship services. We will also be welcoming welcome committees or Bible/book studies to return to the building, but please do communicate with those of us in the church office so we can plan for you. If anyone feels unwell, or has been around someone who tested positive for Covid-19, we ask that you refrain from attending until you have passed through a time of quarantine.
Our guiding principle continues to be to keep people safe, as best we can, even as we increasingly begin to return to in-person events at Family of Christ. As needed, we’ll make necessary adjustments or recalibrations to this plan, including allowing more people into the worship time as state guidelines permit. Our staff and lay leaders always keep these Covid-related issues at the forefront of their discussions and decisions.
The writer of Psalm 84 eagerly shouts out, “Better is one day in your courts, O Lord, than a thousand elsewhere!” So it is that we will come into God’s gates with singing: carefully, cautiously, re-entering in-person experiences for worship and meeting. We’ll take this a step at a time, loving our neighbor by keeping each other healthy, but also loving our neighbor by being together again.
May God’s peace be with us all!
Pastor Josh Nelson