Dear church family and friends,
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us greatly. It has presented us with numerous challenges, entirely changed our way of living, and distanced all of us from being together in community. Because humans are adaptive and resilient, many of us have for the most part been able to modify our lifestyles. However, with this drastic change in our way of living and being also comes an emotional and psychological toll that I believe will be impacting all of us long after we have a vaccine.
One thing contributing to this is the inability to gather in person for worship. However, because of public health and safety, I still believe it’s the best decision. As we all know, the number of new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in our county, and they are not projected to decline in the near future. When our church’s Re-opening Strategy Team and Church Council are discussing the best time to consider re-opening, both continue their commitment to following scientific data rather than focusing on a specific date. Therefore, we will continue the suspension of in-person worship until at least August 1. At the end of July, we will revisit the data to determine whether we can re-open in August or if we need to continue the suspension. I know this is not what any of us wants … we all greatly miss being gathered together in worship and fellowship in our sanctuary. However, I have to keep reminding myself that the health and safety of all people is our number one priority.
In the meantime, the Re-opening Strategy Team continues to develop and modify plans and strategies for whenever the time comes that we are able to worship together in person once again. We are discussing traffic flow plans through our building … length of worship service … protocols for attending worship (wearing masks, sitting in designated pews, etc.). We have ordered automatic hand soap dispensers for the bathrooms, automatic hand sanitizer dispensers for common areas throughout the church, face masks for people who come to church without them, ropes to aid in blocking certain pews to help with social distancing, additional cleaning supplies, and more. I will let you know more about our protocols and procedures once we have more definite plans in place.
Meanwhile, the church has adapted to this challenging time in a great and mighty way. Although human life has changed, God has not. God is still at work in the world, calling us to show love and serve our neighbors. Our Mobile Food Pantry gives away 400 boxes of fresh free produce every Wednesday … our Feeding Avondale School Families ministry delivers free food to 50 families each week … our Lawn Ministry is mowing and tending the yards of elderly and disabled folks in our community so they won’t be fined by the city … we’re providing space for a group that’s making masks for essential workers in our community … we have virtual Bible study each Wednesday … our children meet virtually each week for a Bible lesson and to catch up with one another … folks continue to pick up Panera bread each week that we give away to our food cooperatives … the Bumblebees are buzzing around as they mow the lawn and prune our shrubs to keep our street corner inviting and beautiful … our food cooperatives receive food three weeks out of the month … and so much more. Y’all!!!! All of this truly takes a village of people willing to give of themselves in service to the God we know in Jesus Christ. There’s been so much goodness happening during this time of pandemic, and I continue to see God’s glory on full display. For that, I’m truly thankful.
As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have or if you need help getting involved in one of our ministries. And please, wear a mask.