May 27, 2020
If you haven't heard, we're targeting June 21, 2020 for the resumption of in-person worship. Office Manager Lorrie Parker, Director of Music and Worship Arts Ben Nichols, Tech Guru Extraordinaire Andy Stephens, Director of Youth and Family Ministry Chris Nevins, and I will have our first planning meeting tomorrow, May 28, to begin the process of putting together protocols and procedures for worship. The building is now open for small groups and anyone who simply wants to sit in the sanctuary for prayer and solitude. Of course, social distancing is still the expected practice.
As I'm sure you can appreciate, no decision made during this pandemic is perfect or complete. Second guessing has been elevated to an art form. As someone said in Twitter:
The most powerful people and institutions can't agree on currently
available data or strategies to reduce harm around this virus. That
dissonance confuses the public, leading many to distrust and assume
"no one has the answers," which makes all answers appear equally credible.
It's easy to understand how making plans for anything can be mind-numbingly difficult. But as Nick Hall writes in Christian Post, as followers of Jesus, "we are called to honor, listen, love and serve." With that in mind, we have no choice but to engage in the task at hand.
In setting the philosophical groundwork for moving forward, two observations come to mind.
The first is from Dr. Anthony Fauci:
"Stay at home orders intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus could end up causing 'irreparable damage' if imposed for too long. I don't want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go. But now is the time, depending upon where you are and what your situation is, to begin to seriously look at reopening the economy, reopening the country to try to get back to some degree of normal."
In The Atlantic, Amanda Mull writes:
"The most universal experience of the coronavirus pandemic in America might not be a sense of fear or anxiety, but a profound confusion over what exactly is going on. Novel pathogens are confounding by definition, and since the first Covid-19 case was confirmed in the United States, in January, information about severity, spread, and a seemingly ever-expanding list of symptoms has trickled slowly and inconsistently out of emergency rooms and local health departments…When can you tell if a state's reopening guidelines are keeping infection numbers down, and how long do you have to wait before you feel sure?"
In other words, as Christians with a Biblically driven worldview, we know people are imperfect and life is imperfect. We sin, we make mistakes, we will never do all the right things all the time. That's the reality in which we decide to return to in-person worship on June 21, 20202. The one thing you can count on is an abundance of information communicated across several platforms between now and then.
How comfortable are you with the idea of returning to in-person worship on June 21? We will still live stream for those who think June 21 is too soon. What about wearing masks? Maintaining social distancing? Singing? Other thoughts? I want to know what you think.
In the weeks ahead, our tasks are simple: Honor authorities…Love neighbors…Glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We can do these things while we practice social distancing, wash our hands, and not rush back to hugging and hand-shaking.
With Much Love and Affection for the People of Covenant Church,