Pastor Kit sent the following update to our church family on 12/30/20.
Dear Church Family,
Over the last couple of weeks, we have been talking and praying over how to proceed until the COVID hospitalizations in our community begin to decrease. It’s a challenging situation, because of 2 opposing difficulties. First, COVID is very prevalent in our community, and we have seen how quickly it can spread in the wrong setting. As a result, we do not believe it would be wise to return to our regular indoor services until the numbers in our community decline. The chances of the virus spreading rapidly among us and seriously threatening the health of our people are too great. We should also strive not to add more stress to an already overwhelmed local healthcare system. On the other hand, it may be quite a while until the numbers seriously decline, and we are concerned about what another long-term cancellation of services would mean for the spiritual health of our members. It’s not realistic to think that the situation is going to drastically improve in the next couple of weeks, and I am not comfortable canceling services for another 4-8 weeks.
Therefore, we have decided to transition to an outdoor service at 1:00 p.m., weather permitting. We will not have an evening service. We are moving outside because the constant supply of fresh air significantly lowers the risk of COVID spread, and it allows us to spread out as much as we want. We are moving the service to 1:00 p.m. so that we can take advantage of the warmest part of the day. Yes, I realize it never gets warm, at least by SoCal standards, this time of year, but I am hopeful that most weeks it will be manageable, at least for those of us who are in good health. For example, the forecasted high for this coming Sunday is 57°. That’s not warm, but people sit through football and baseball games all the time in much colder weather and for longer periods of time. If we bring a blanket and sit in the sun, many of us should be fine.
Other than the colder temperatures, the service will feel much like our outdoor services this summer. The nursery rooms will be available for mothers to use, but we will not be staffing them. The children will stay with their parents through the end of the songs and then be dismissed to their regular classes. The children’s classes will spread out inside, because very little would be accomplished if we tried to have them meet outside this time of year. As well, it’s a known fact that children do not spread COVID like adults do. As for the adults, we will have some tents available, but I imagine most people will prefer to sit in the sun. We will have folding chairs available, but you are also welcome to bring your own lawn chairs. You are also welcome to bring any sort of patio heater, assuming it is not loud, and you may store it at the church during the week, if you do not need it at home.
I want to again urge all of us to follow the CDC guidance regarding minimizing the spread of COVID. Please error on the side of caution by staying home if you have any symptoms or if you have had close contact in the last 10 days with someone who has COVID, unless you have had COVID within the last 3 months. This includes all ministry volunteers. We would rather find a replacement or cancel a class than have you come when you shouldn’t be here. When we are together, let’s be good about maintaining 6’ of social distancing, washing our hands, wearing masks, and all the other things we’ve grown accustomed to.
I realize that some of our older people and others with health conditions can’t tolerate the cold as well as a farm boy from Northern Illinois. I wish I had an easy solution, but for the time being, I don’t. I also understand that some of you aren’t comfortable being around others in any setting while the COVID numbers are so high. We will not pressure anyone to do something with which they are uncomfortable; instead, we will trust the Spirit to direct his people into his will. If you stay home, I hope you will watch the livestream, and we will do our best to stay in touch and minister to your needs until we resume normal services inside.
It has been a long 10 months, and we probably have a couple long months to go. However, God’s grace has been sufficient for the last 10 months, and I’m sure it will continue to be sufficient in the days to come. Let’s continue to seek the Lord and rely on his grace. And let’s continue to care well for each other and lift up each other in prayer. Lord willing, I look forward to seeing many of you on Sunday, and I hope the livestream will minister grace to those who cannot be with us.