by: Steve Fawcett
The leadership team has put together a list of items that we are following to help ensure a safe re-opening from this crisis. We are guided by both biblical and scientific principles.
The biblical principles include loving God with all our hearts. This encourages us to meet safely together for mutual encouragement, worship and discipleship. This also includes showing our love for God by demonstrating love for our neighbors and community. Also, loving our neighbors as ourselves includes then a life of sacrificial service to help promote the well-being of others around us. We must be willing to lay down any rights we think we have in order to serve and reach out to others around us in a safe and responsible way.
The scientific principles are simply the guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health and from the CDC concerning faith communities. Therefore, here are the principles we are currently pursuing.
1. People have a choice, they can come to our safe, clean, physically-distanced service or they can watch it all online. We will keep our numbers well below the 50% of capacity that is currently required.
2. Face coverings are required indoors, unless you meet one of the exceptions, such as 5 and under or have a health, disability or mental issue that would make it unwise or unsafe for you to wear a face covering. Each person must then choose if it might be better to then watch the service online.
3. We will have a contact-less experience during this time, thus no hand-shaking.
4. Offering plates will not be passed, but will be set in the back.
5. Communion supplies will also not be passed, but will be available in the back of the sanctuary in an all-in-one cup so they will be germ free.
6. Chairs will be spread out with at least 6 feet of distance between households. Thus we will be practicing physical distancing.
7. We will require that anyone who has any active symptoms of Covid 19 to stay at home and get tested. If they develop these symptoms while here, they will need to immediately leave for home.
8. Rigorous cleaning and disinfection will be done, especially of all areas that people might come into contact with.
9. Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the church.
10. Common sense guidelines will be practiced such as hand-washing, physical distancing, stay home if you feel sick or coughing.
11. We will continue to livestream our service so people can continue to watch and participate in the safety of their homes.
12. We will seek to have good ventilation and fresh air.
13. We will treat everyone as if they are in a high risk group.
14. The church leaders and helpers will be taught and reminded of the above principles.
15. We will modify these guidelines as health officials give us guidance.
16. We will accept and love those who may have different convictions on some of these things than we personally might have. This is a very anxious time for many and it calls for much patience, grace, love and understanding.
17. We will continue to trust and praise the Lord throughout this very unique situation.
Remember, the buildings may be empty or nearly empty but the church is very much alive! Be safe and continue to reach out and serve those who are especially hurting during this time.