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 10:25
We are very excited to announce that we will begin regathering for in person worship on Sunday May 24th. Back in April we put together a “Return to Church” team to start working on logistics, precautions, and all the things we will need to consider once we start meeting together again for corporate worship. We realize it is going to be much different when you have to sit six feet away from others, avoid handshakes and hugs, wear mask, and have to avoid congregating and fellowshipping together before and after the services. While we are not excited about having to take all these extra precautions, we are excited that we can begin to come together to corporately worship our great God.
I have mentioned before, I do not like the terminology of “reopening” the church because the church is the people and the church has never been closed. We all have opportunities to minister, serve and be the church every day. We will be communicating a lot the next few weeks as we communicate times of services, precautions we much take and actions we need each of you to take if you decide to come back to church. We are going to do everything we can to abide by Governor Beshear and CDC guidelines. When we first heard that places of worship could have services on May 20th, we immediately began making plans to gather on May 24th. Some of our initial plans were adjusted to better align with the “Guidelines for Places of Worship” that were sent out on May 9th.
On May 24th, we will plan on having an 8:45 and 10:45 service. With the cleaning that is required after each service, we felt it necessary to have at least an hour between services. Basically, we will start our first service 15 minutes earlier than normal and our second service 15 minutes later than normal. Because of social distancing requirements, we have removed every other row of chairs and put 6 feet distance between rows. Given the six feet distance we must maintain, we only expect to be able to seat about 95 people downstairs in our worship center. We will reserve the balcony for our sound technicians, praise team, and other volunteers. Because we are so limited in seating, we are going to be taking reservations. We will likely be adding another service in the next couple of weeks so that we can have room to accommodate as many as desire to gather for worship. We expect to learn some things and make adjustments after we meet together on May 24th.
Again, we realize that opinions about this virus and precautions that should be taken are very diverse. Yes, there are lots of uncertainties about this virus and so we will take lots of extra precautions to protect attendees. We recognize that many of our members will not feel comfortable coming back to the church building at this time and we certainly understand that and want everybody to use their best judgment in returning. We will continue to offer online services (each week at 10:30 AM).
I would like to ask for 3 things from our members: prayer, patience, and grace. Pray that God will give us wisdom in our decision-making and that we can honor Him and protect those who come. Be patient as we are making decisions, making adjustments, and learning as we go. Our return to church team are meeting and trying to make sound decisions. Finally, we all need to offer grace to one another during these chaotic times. We don’t have to agree about the issues related to Covid-19 to love one another. Individuals and churches will make different decisions based on what is best and safest for them. It’s ok to have differences of opinion. We are united in Christ and want to extend love and grace to one another.
Yes, I hate the idea of not shaking hands and offering a hug. I hate wearing a mask, not being able to fellowship with people or go out and eat together. I hate the thought of visitors coming to church and not being warmly welcomed and having to sit socially distanced. We all have a list of things we hate about all of this. Yet, we love God and want to gather together as His children to worship. We love each other and want to do all we can to protect one another. All these requirements will slowly fade and we will be able to shake, hug, and enjoy being together soon. By God’s grace, we will gather to sing His praises. I can’t wait! Start praying now!!!