a message from Pastor Craig...
Happy new year to each one of you. We love you and are so thankful for your prayers and faithfulness through 2020. I wanted to take a moment and update you on where we are as a church and our schedule. As you know, it has been an interesting ending to 2020 and start to 2021. Over the past 4 weeks, we have seen a rise in Covid cases in our community and within our church. Because of this, we had felt it was necessary to return to online services on Sundays and Wednesdays to be safe and to let those of us that battled Covid 19 to heal up. Thank you church for your prayers for all of our church body and for showing great flexibility during these anxious times. As we move forward, we have made the decision to return back to in-person and online services on Sundays at 8:30 and 11. We have also decided to return to in-person Wednesday night activities for students and kids. However, for safety reasons, we will only be offering Online Wednesday Night Bible Study for Adults and will not be having choir for the remainder of January (we will reevaluate after January). We are also encouraging the students and kids to wear masks during the evening. There may be opportunities to take them off and relax, but social distancing is not always possible and we would like for them to be safe and keep others safe while here.
As we begin in-person services again on Sunday mornings, it is essential that we as a church remain vigilant in regards to safety. As you may know, numbers of Covid cases are continuing to climb. As a result, our local hospitals are dangerously full. We do not want to add to the overwhelming burden that already exists for our healthcare workers and first responders (we also want everyone to be safe). Therefore, we are asking each one of you to join with us as we plan accordingly for the weeks to come. As we begin worship, we are encouraging those that are considered to be at risk with existing health problems to consider staying home and worship with us online until the cases of Covid begin to decline or the vaccine has become readily available. Also, we ask that all church members continue to pay careful attention to your personal health. If you have any signs of a fever or sickness (including sinus problems and allergies), please worship with us online. If you have been around anyone that has shown symptoms of an illness (even if they have not tested for Covid), we ask that you please plan on staying home and worship with us online.
For those that will be coming to worship in person with us in the building, we will continue to try and provide a safe and clean environment. However, as much as we try, please know that the building will probably never be 100% safe from the virus. In the weeks to come, we will resume temperature checks for all people. We will also be continuing our limited seating to abide by social distancing guidelines. We are encouraging every attendee to wear a mask upon entering and exiting the building. Although this is not mandatory, we do ask that you would consider wearing a mask to help keep others safe. Finally, at the conclusion of the service, we are asking for everyone to exit the building and resume fellowship outdoors. This will allow our staff the time to thoroughly clean the sanctuary and allow for greater social distancing as you fellowship.
I know this may appear to be a little over the top. Trust me, I understand. I want nothing more than a return to normalcy and feel the freedom to hug and shake hands without reservation! The reality is, the coronavirus is still very real and active in and around our community. Many of our church members have battled this virus and continue to battle. It is important to me that we as a church never experience again what we have experienced these past few weeks. Please stay safe and know that we are praying for you. See you Sunday, in person or online! Love you Church!