The Governor’s surprise announcement made yesterday (as I am writing) has put us in decision making mode. Businesses are beginning to reopen. By the time you read this they may already be open. And that means we now have to decide when to “open” the church. We want to gather the church. I believe that the church is the most important organization in any community. It is the most real thing in an unreal world. So much of the world goes on its way, oblivious of whether or not there is a God and not caring whether or not there is one. The church gathers and centers on, and worships, God. That is what makes the church the most real organization in the community. We need to gather.
But we need to do it safely, too. No matter what has happened in the rest of the state the corona virus is a recent arrival here. As of writing we have nine cases in Wayne county. That’s going to go up. Probably by a lot. A lot of thought and discussion has gone into this decision. Here is what we will do.
We will continue our worship by live stream. That’s a recognition that life is different on the other side of the virus. We are a different church than what we were before. We are an online church. We’re an internet congregation. On Sunday May 3rd, we will open our doors and allow people to come be with us, in our pews, while we worship, still focused on our live stream. The same will occur May 10th. If you want to come those Sundays you may. We will practice, and enforce, social distancing, but you are welcome to come. On May 17th, which is planned for Graduate Recognition Sunday, we will have our first full worship service. We invite you to come be with us to worship on that Sunday. With all that has occurred in their world we want to have some kind of recognition for our Seniors. They deserve it. They need it. Again, strong social distancing measures will be in place. We will close off every other row of seating. We will ask you to spread out. Sit with your family, yes, but give those who do not live under your roof space. There will be no nursery. There will be no children’s worship. It is impossible to social distance with children, so there will be no gatherings of children until we know it is safe to do so. Connection Groups, also known as Sunday School, will begin at some point in June. We will start those later than resuming worship for a number of reasons. Our Sunday morning groups place people in closer contact with one another, and we may need more time to retool and rework those Sunday morning groups. A large part of that is the need to have children’s classes while adult groups are meeting. We’re not sure it’s a safe time to do that yet. The weeks ahead will tell us more.
We are hoping that children’s and youth activities will resume on some schedule in June. VBS will shift to later in the year and take some changed format. In mid-August, as the world returns to some new normal with school beginning we will take on our new schedule and shape, too. On August 12th we’ll hold a big celebration and gather as many people as we can. On Sunday August 16th, we’ll have a big celebration Sunday, Come Back Sunday, and we’ll be back and hopefully all will be well.
Until then, pray, give, attend, love, and support.