Opening for in-person worship on limited basis starting 2/21

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” 1st Corinthians 12:26-27

Dear Church Family,

Last year during Lent, we had to shut down our in-person gatherings and go into isolation. Well, I’m happy to say that this year during Lent, we will reopen again on a limited basis. The church council, at the recommendation of our Reopening Task Force, approved a plan to partially reopen our church on Sunday, February 21st. Here are the details:

  • All previous rules and requirements for in-person gatherings must be followed, including mask wearing, social distancing, and pre-registration for Sunday worship;
  • *Our 9am service will be open for limited-seating indoor worship;
  • *Our 11am service will remain virtual for the time being;
  • *Details on special services during Holy Week will be available shortly;
  • *The Fellowship House will remain closed however, groups or committees that need to use it must submit a request to the office to get approval from the Reopening Task Force and Pastor John.

As before, we encourage our high-risk and older individuals, and those with underlying health conditions to continue worshiping online for their own safety. If you do test positive for COVID-19, notify the church office or Pastor John immediately. Your call and condition will be kept confidential.

I am glad that we will start getting together again. Having to shut down in December, though necessary, was a bit of a setback. I am grateful that our leadership has done and continues to do such a thorough job to safeguard our health. I praise God for them and for every time I hear that someone else in our congregation got vaccinated. I have every hope that God will see us through this pandemic.

Still, I know some of our church family are hurting right now—feeling alone, adrift, and disconnected. Maybe one of them is you. We need connection. Yes, we worship and meet online and continue to find ways to serve each other and our community but, not having those regular face-to-face interactions, no matter how small, with one another has taken its toll on our emotional, spiritual, even physical health. The Body of Christ cannot thrive when its parts are disconnected. Reopening again will help but, the truth is, we don’t need the church building to stay connected. We need each other. We need to keep reaching out intentionally to each other to talk, listen, laugh or cry with, or just acknowledge that someone cares. Because at the end of the day, we are the Body of Christ bound together not by a building but by the Holy Spirit. We are who Jesus empowers to show his love and compassion to the world, including the members of his own body.   

This is my challenge to you before Lent begins. Reach out to someone from church. Someone you know. Someone you sort of know but aren’t too familiar with. Someone you see but haven’t talked to yet. What about that person who sits near you in the worship service or is in your Sunday school class or grow group? What about that person who worked alongside you in VBS or the one you always see at a church dinner? How about that mom wrangling her kids in the narthex? Or that guy who always sits alone? It doesn’t matter if they’re not in your circle of friends. It’s probably better if they aren’t! One of them would love to hear from you. Give them a call or send them an email. See how they’re doing. If you don’t know their name or number, you can always call the church office and we’ll help you find it. It’s surprising how much a simple gesture of care can mean to a person. Let us continue to be the Body of Christ together, regardless of whether we’re in the building or not, and remind one another that none of us is ever truly alone.   

Soon, this pandemic will be behind us. My prayer is that our church will emerge from it with better, stronger, and more faithful relationships with each other and with Jesus Christ. All to the glory of God!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor John    

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