Weekly Update - May 7
The doorway has been cracked open and we can begin to see light inside the room of a more open society within our community’s recent steps to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Jackson County released their plans for Phase 1 of reopening the area for regularity of life. The initial steps begin Monday, May 11, with the lifting of the Shelter-in-place order, which allows for groups no more than 10 to meet and some businesses to re-open. However, Phase 1 does not include our regathering as a congregation. We understand the caution as churches are in fact very unique venues for large gatherings of people singing, socializing, physically greeting, and being places for the easy spread of this unique virus.
What does that mean for us immediately? Please review our own Phase 1 plans that will begin next week and continue through May 24 (tentatively according to County regulations):
- The church office will be open for staff to work on premises, Monday, May 11, but not open to the public until Monday, May 18 (allowing us to make necessary preparations for walk-up visitors to the office). In-person appointments may be held by scheduling in advance so as to ensure acceptable numbers in the facility and physical distancing.
- Scheduled guests to the office will be encouraged to bring and wear a face mask or one will be provided. Staff will wear face masks for in-person meetings.
- Small discipleship groups are encouraged to meet in person if all are comfortable doing so and appropriate physical distancing and size (no more than 10) is maintained. However, no in-person meetings will be conducted in the church facility during this phase.
- All other gatherings (i.e., Growth Groups and our Morning/Evening Gatherings; Mid-Week Fellowship Ministries) are encouraged to take place through video/phone conferencing. No gatherings will be held at the church facility.
- Resources for in-home Sunday worship, including video recorded sermons will continue to be provided each week.
Jackson County has not released numbers associated with permitted size of gatherings for the remaining phases of their plan, therefore, it would be impossible for us to suggest any future plans, which includes any anticipated dates for our re-gathering as a congregation. As the County communicates and rolls out each phase, we will likewise.
As we anticipate our society beginning to open up again and as we face personal and congregational challenges, we would do well to consider the application of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. These are momentary, light afflictions when you think of them as tools of preparation for the eternal weight of glory we will experience. Remember, our ultimate goal is not meeting together as a congregation here on earth (though we long for that time to come soon). Our ultimate goal is meeting together in glory together before Christ. And what is happening in our lives this very moment are feather-like afflictions in comparison to the concrete-like glory God is working in us through these challenges.
As we navigate these days together, we are here to serve you as best as we can. Keep devoting yourselves to prayer and meditating on God’s word. Invest in each other actively (meet together now). And guard your heart from sinful and soul-depleting anxiety (Philippians 4:6-9). God is preparing us now for something far more glorious than we could ever imagine.