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Re-opening and Gathering Together
Marc West, chairman of the Elder Executive Board, shares Faith’s latest update regarding re-opening and gathering together. If you’d prefer to read the update, just scroll down!
Faith Church COVID Update
May 18, 2020
Greetings, Faith Church family!
This has been a challenging time over the last several months. It has been hard to make the necessary adjustments and for some you have been much more greatly impacted. If you have a need, please let one of the pastors or elders know. The church is here to help.
Even in the midst of this, our people at Faith have been acting beautifully – by adjusting to how we do ministry, how we do worship, how we love one another, and love our neighbors. It’s a reminder that church is not closed; we are the church. And God is at work.
So when can and will church reopen?
Let me provide an update on those discussions and our plans as of now. We are trying very hard to balance the need for all to stay safe and healthy, and the need for community and desire for corporate worship.
Facility Re-opening Team
A few weeks ago, we assembled a Facility Reopening Team. You can see from the list that this is a group of staff, elders, and lay leaders, including some of our medical professionals. This team has been keeping up with medical developments, governmental guidelines, and what other congregations are doing; then making recommendations to the Elder Executive Board. Thank you, team, for your valuable service.
Kendra Carter – Faith Kids
Dr. Renita Clarke – Medical professional
Catherine Curry – Guest Services
Denny Dawes – Elder; retired hospital executive
Chris Frank – Business Operations
Josh Horstman – Deacons
Brittany Johnson – A/V & Media
Nathan Kingsley – Faith Student Ministry
James Nussbaum – Elder
Dr. Fred Rescorla – Elder; medical professional
Jeff Schultz – Pastor
Lydia Vickery – Administration
Joey Woestman – Pastor
Principles for Reopening
These are the principles established for reopening. Primary concern is health and safety – not just of people who are in the building, but others we will come into contact with as we return to our neighborhoods. When we open, we want to do things well, and it takes a number of volunteers to do church on Sundays. Next, we will respect the guidance of medical and governmental experts. And finally, we want all that we do to be an expression of love – for God, and for others. Yes, we have our desires, but we need to think of others.
Gathering Again in Worship
What does this mean for reopening? We will follow Indiana Back on Track guidelines for social gatherings. That means no Sunday worship before Marion County is at Stage 4 or later due to our size (groups of up to 250). Remember Marion Country is about 2 weeks behind the rest of the state.
Sunday worship no sooner than Marion County is at Stage 4.
Once we begin gathering, we will continue an online worship option for those who are not yet comfortable to gather or at higher risk.
When we do reopen, we may add another service time to keep the number in the building smaller.
One service on Sunday mornings will be family-friendly that includes those little ones who are not good at socially distancing; and the other service will be off-limits to children.
We also will take further steps like turning off water fountains and closing the Café.
Indiana Back on Track – Best-case schedule:
Stage 2 (May 4 Groups <25
Stage 3 (est. May 24) Groups <100
Stage 4 (est. June 14) Groups <250
Stage 5 (est. July 4) Groups over 250
* Future stages are best-case scenarios and assumes 6’ social distancing at all gathering sizes.
** Marion County is lagging approximately 2 weeks behind the state in opening
But what about smaller gatherings like community groups, Bible studies or prayer groups?
Indiana, and specifically Marion Country, is at Stage 2 which allow for social gatherings of less than 25. This means smaller gatherings are allowed, but social distancing needs to be practiced; staying at least 6’ apart. We do caution those in high risk categories to consider carefully if you should join gatherings. Groups can meet at the church building, but we encourage you to meet in homes if there is enough space to practice social distancing, or outdoors. Anytime the church facility is used, all occupied areas, restrooms, furniture, and equipment have to be cleaned and sanitized. Also, a mask must be worn by anyone coming into or walking through the building.
Any use of the church facility must be scheduled through the church office, by contacting Lydia. Even if you have a building key, you must schedule with Lydia.
We know it’s important to see one another and connect in person, so do that, but safely. At the same time, any meetings that do not have to happen in person should take place online.
Other Ministry Updates
Because of the unique challenges in enforcing social distancing with children, there will be no Faith Kids programming in the building until the Fall Quarter. Before then, kids will need to stay with parents in any services or gatherings.
No Kids Camp; but Kendra will provide resources for Backyard Bible Club.
No Connection Classes until September, but this Summer we’ll have Faith Stories and possibly have Facebook Live Q&A scheduled sessions
The Opportunity in the Crisis
Let me close with the reminder that we continue to have an opportunity in this crisis.
First, we need to look to the interests of others, beyond our desires and even frustrations.
Pray for wisdom; for ourselves as we make daily decisions on how to stay safe and healthy, and for our leaders as they wrestle with difficult decisions.
Be winsome ambassadors by saying and doing that which raises the spirits of others, and brings the hope and peace of Christ into an anxious and fearful world.
Finally, we want to be known for loving self-sacrifice as shown in John 13. Jesus said the world will know we are his disciples by the way we reflect his love.
This is not just hard, it’s unprecedented. I’m thankful for you. I’m proud of you. Your leaders are praying for you.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Chairman of the Elder Executive Board