Different but Good
Most people do not enjoy change. Predictability is comfortable. Yet, so many times change is forced upon us. Here we are in the midst of forced change. Despite the few idealists out there who think that this world crisis is going to bring in the utopia that has been living in their mind for years, this change is not what we would have signed up for a couple of months ago. One of these areas of forced change will be found in the church as we come back together. Most of these things will be temporary, but uncomfortable just the same.
Starting this Sunday, May 10, we are opening the doors for people to attend worship in person. According to our church survey, it appears most will be returning slowly over the next couple of months. Those who return this week will see things are different. Let me explain the reasoning behind some of these changes so you can understand why things are not like they were a couple of months ago.
Some of the changes are suggested by the CDC and the proclamation by our governor. There will be hand sanitizing stations at the doors as you enter. In May only the north door and southwest preschool entrance will be available for entrance. Masks may be worn by those attending if they choose. We ask that social distancing be practiced while in the facility. Staying six feet apart and not touching others is appreciated. The chairs in the worship center have been arranged differently by adding more and larger aisles. In May we will be using one of every three rows. Whereas each row is three feet apart, it seemed wise to provide nine feet of separation at this point of the pandemic. In June, as more people arrive and more time as passed we will switch to every-other row. Pens, envelopes, and cards have been removed from the pews to help keep the room sanitized. We will not be passing an offering plate but will have one placed in the back of the room. Giving will be encouraged to happen through our website and bill pay through your bank. Your safety is important to us and we will take ever precaution we can.
In order to protect our volunteers, many of whom find themselves in the at-risk population, we will not be having nursery or children’s classes in May. Everyone will meet together in the worship center. When we start back Life Groups in June we will also meet all together in the chapel. It is our goal to begin children’s Life Groups June 21 and having a nursery as soon as we have enough volunteers comfortable to return. Adult Life Groups will begin on campus as each class feels comfortable. Continue to communicate with your Life Group teachers concerning your class’ plan.
Other changes will be necessary to help us continue to minister to everyone during this time of transition. According to our survey we expect to only see around 20% return to the building the first week with most expecting to be able to return by June or July. Since most of our people will continue to participate online and since we have seen a great number of guests joining us online every week, we will continue to focus heavily on the camera to give those at home the best experience possible. Those in the worship center will not be ignored but we want to connect well with those online to help them feel as the focus and not just someone spying in on someone else’s worship service. I will continue to sit during the message for the next few weeks so the camera can stay zoomed in on me (when I stand I walk too much). The congregation lighting may be a little darker than normal during this time because it helps get the best possible video. These are not permanent and will slowly transition back as more people join us in the worship center in the weeks ahead.
We may never be able to go back to exactly the way things were but a new comfortable normal will return soon. For not it will be different but remember, it is good anytime we can come together to worship our Lord. We want everyone to feel the freedom to return as they feel comfortable and do what serves their family best. Continue to call the church office if you have any questions or need anything. I look forward to seeing your faces again soon.