Greetings church family!
Although many of us have enjoyed worshiping and fellowshipping together on Zoom for church and prayer meeting for the last several weeks, there are still many who don’t have the ability to use this option. Because of this, some of you may not be getting the updates on what has been happening. So we are sending this email and one/call so that everyone can know what is happening.
The good news is that we are restarting church again! This will be done in three phases. Phase 1 happened last week, May 9, where only those involved in the program met at the church. We took the opportunity to work out any technical challenges involved in broadcasting via zoom from the church. One blessing that may come from this pandemic is that the church board has decided to either livestream or Zoom the Sabbath School and church services from this point forward. This will be a real help for those who cannot attend church in person.
This coming Sabbath, May 16, we will be moving into phase 2, where we will begin to meet together in person at the normal times (9:15am for Sabbath School; 10:50am for church service, MST). We will continue to stream using Zoom for those who are at home. Parents will be contacted to discuss resuming a children’s program in a week or two.
In order for this to be done in a safe and orderly manner, the church board is guided by the following: As followers of Jesus we should be subject to the “law of the land” insofar as it does not conflict with the Law of God. Romans 13:1, 2 While these guidelines are not laws we want to respect the recommendations of the governing authorities.
Phase 2 includes the return of members, guests and visitors who are not in one of the “at risk” categories mentioned below. Based on what we know about how the virus is spread we are publishing the following guidelines for the safety of those choosing to return to church:
Handwashing and sanitizing – Proper hygiene remains one of the best ways to prevent the spread of not only the COVID-19 virus, but many other germs as well. Please make frequent use of the hand sanitizer placed in various locations throughout the church. If you have special needs or preferences feel free to bring your own.
Cover your cough and sneeze – Cough and sneeze into the bend of your elbow. If you use a tissue or handkerchief, make sure you wash or sanitize your hands.
Social distancing – Except for members of your immediate household please maintain a distance of at least six feet as you socialize. We will only occupy every other row in the sanctuary and will not be having our typical fellowship meals. Even though it may seem unnatural not to hug or shake hands we need to be respectful of others.
Wearing a mask – It is recommended (but not required) to wear a cloth or surgical mask, which reduce the spread of the virus if you are infected. Cloth masks will be available in the foyer or you can bring your own.
If everyone follows these guidelines in the right spirit we can safely resume meeting together in person.
Who is an “at risk” person?
The CDC has developed a list of conditions that can make getting the coronavirus more dangerous. Having one or more of the following risk factors can increase your chances of having a serious complication:
- Asthma - Moderate to severe
- Chronic lung disease - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and cystic fibrosis
- Diabetes – Type 1 or type 2
- Serious heart conditions - Heart failure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathies, and pulmonary hypertension
- Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
- Severe obesity – BMI of 40 or higher
- People aged 65 years and older - Eight out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years or older; risk of death is highest among those 85 years or older. - People in nursing homes or long-term care facilities
- Immunocompromised - including cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, HIV with a low CD4 cell count or not on HIV treatment, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.
- Liver disease including cirrhosis.
The recommendation is that “at risk” persons should not expose themselves to larger gatherings such as church services. Should you choose to accept the risk associated with these types of gatherings, please exercise good judgement and respect for others.