Starting July 1, Bishop Michael McKee has given each church within the North Central District the freedom to choose how to move forward with our worship services.
Bishop McKee, along with the Centers for Disease Control, strongly recommends that face masks be required during worship. Alongside this recommendation, numerous sources are advocating that there be no congregational singing or congregational responses during worship as those acts release large amounts of aerosols, potentially endangering others. Jesus taught us that the greatest command was to love God and to love our neighbor. We recognize that taking steps to keep one another safe is one way that we can live into this command.
Therefore, it is the recommendation of the task force that there be no in-person Sunday morning worship services during the month of July. We will continue to worship at home and gather with our small groups virtually.
The congregational survey was very telling in helping make this decision. Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide your input.
- 42% of our congregation responding indicated that they would attend Sunday morning worship at the first opportunity.
- However, of those who were most eager to return to our building, only 13% of those responding felt singing should be limited and 66% did not want the requirement of wearing a face mask.
In other words, the group most likely to attend a physical Sunday morning service during July is also the group that would be most disappointed by the experience due to the current limitations.
In lieu of indoor worship, we had hoped to plan a socially distanced outdoor event on the lawn one Sunday in mid-July. However, the increase in COVID-19 cases and the governor’s new requirements on public gatherings postponed this plan. While churches are exempt from the rules for public gatherings, it doesn’t send a good message to not go by the same rule as everyone else. We don’t want to do anything to harm anyone, especially with the number of COVID cases currently on the rise.
As you know, this pandemic has forced us to change plans, make new plans, and adapt quickly to changes. The task force will continue fine-tuning our reopening plan for in-person worship, hopefully for August, but knowing that we have to be flexible with the future.
In the meantime, please continue to worship with us online, continue your time with your small groups and outreach opportunities, and look for more news about returning to the building over the next few weeks.