Update for mask mandate
We, as a church, representing the God of heaven here on earth, must be a clear testimony for the cause of Christ and for the sake of the gospel. That is not debatable – that is not negotiable. As such, it becomes necessary for us to “submit [ourselves] to every ordinance of man” (1 Peter 2:13). Since the Governor of the State of Ohio has mandated masks to be worn, as it relates to the church, by everyone that is not “officiating” in the service, we are bound by Scripture to obey that law. It, in no way, infringes on our right to worship, and more importantly, it, in no way, infringes on scriptural principles or mandates. Just as wearing a seat belt, obeying speed limits, getting building permits, following building codes, etc. are “ordinances” of man that we follow, so ought we to follow the face covering mandate. It’s, quite simply, the right thing to do. Beginning Sunday, July 26, 2020, face coverings will be required while inside the church buildings until the mandate is lifted.
Coronavirus and in-person worship update
As many other churches have been forced to do, we have had to adjust what we do for church services because of the COVID-19 outbreak. We suspended regular in-person worship for the past two months but we are now ready to begin the process of getting back to normal, so to speak. Although we won’t be back to our pre-coronavirus status, we will begin having in-person worship available starting Sunday, May 17th at 10:45am. We will continue to live stream on our Facebook page and our YouTube channel for those who are not ready to return to physical worship in the church building. We have listed below (cursor down past the map) what was given to the church as to what to expect when we return – things will look and be different for a while.
Our service times
Life groups – SUSPENDED for now
Morning worship – 10:45am
Evening worship – 6:00pm
Prayer and Bible study – 7:00pm
Re-opening for in-person services update
- The planned re-opening date is Sunday, May 17th.
- When we come back, things will look and feel quite different.
- There will be no Sunday School for a few weeks after we start back to give time to make sure everyone understands what we are doing to keep everyone as safe as possible and are comfortable enough with that to return.
- Our in-person Sunday evening service will begin Sunday, June 7th at 6pm. We will have an in-person Wednesday evening service.
- We have rearranged the sanctuary to accommodate the physical distancing recommendations by the CDC, as well as by the Trump administration and the Governor of Ohio. These recommendations are also given by CLA and our insurance carrier.
- There will be signs posted as to guidelines and protocols we will adhere to based on those above-mentioned recommendations.
- There will be no “greeting time” in the services and it is HIGHLY recommended that no one shakes hands or give hugs – as much as that will bother some, it is necessary for the sake of all.
- We will not physically take an offering – we won’t pass the offering plate as we did in the past. The plates will be placed where they will be easily accessible.
- Hymnbooks and Bibles will not be where they normally are. They will be available but if you use one, we ask that you take it with you and bring it back each service and consider it yours to keep. We won’t mind if you do that – and, in fact, I encourage you to do so.
- We will continue to stream our services just like we have been for those that choose to not return right away. I know that watching a church service on any size screen (and especially on a tiny phone screen) is certainly not the same as being in the service but it is going to be the “new normal” for the foreseeable future for some.
- All information I have gone over, including recommendations from the CDC, the Governor’s task force, CLA, our insurance, Georgia Southern Baptist Convention recommendations, just to name a few, all recommend the church require masks to be worn. We are not going to require one but I would recommend it and if you choose to wear one that is certainly your option and it is my hope that no one thinks less of you because of it (I may wear one myself just for those who aren’t at ease with them in public). That said, what will be requested is that you maintain the physical distance recommendations, whether you wear one or not.
- Also, all of the above-mentioned sources recommend those age 65 and older, those with compromised immune conditions, and those with other at-risk health problems, avoid gathering where there are crowds of people outside of your household. Again, while we aren’t going to tell someone they can or cannot come because of age, it is my recommendation that you prayerfully consider whether gathering together is the right thing to do for you right now. I am one of those at-risk and obviously I can’t refrain from being here but what I will say is that I will practice physical distancing for the foreseeable future.
- There will be things that need done both before we start back up physically, and things that will be done on an on-going basis.
- A deep cleaning will need done before we start back up.
- Hand sanitizer will be available – we have some but if you have some of your own, it would be advisable to bring and use your own personal sanitizer so we don’t run out here. We are working on getting more but it may not be here until after the first of June.
- The restrooms will need to be sanitized after EVERY USE.
- The church will need to be sanitized after every service – seating wiped down, everywhere anyone has touched or been will need cleaned, etc.
- This, in no way, is limiting God’s ability to protect – it’s just using the brain and commonsense He gave us and intends for us to use. I understand that we may not be worried about getting sick ourselves, and we may have already had the virus and not know it, but we must plan on that NOT being the case. Whether we are concerned or not is not the issue – making someone else sick and causing them pain and anguish is. Now is our opportunity as a church family to care about others.