As many of you know, we are returning to in-person services this coming Sunday (June 7th). That being said, we are beginning to embrace a new normal. Before you attend the service this Sunday, here are a few things I urge you to keep in mind.
First, before I explain the different precautions we are taking, read the next two paragraphs slowly:
Please recognize that good Christians who love Jesus have very different (and strong) feelings about COVID-19. Regardless of where you stand on the use of face masks, social distancing, and numerous other issues – please keep in mind the instruction of the Apostle Paul, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:2-3)
If you are part of Renovation Church, I earnestly plead with you to not allow your thoughts on COVID-19 be a means of church division. If you are unable to elevate the principle of love above your views on COVID-19 – do not attend the service. I encourage all of us to read and meditate on the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 14. Although he is speaking about food offered to idols, the principles are incredibly relevant for the way we treat one another in regards to secondary issues.
With that as my disclaimer, please follow the following guidelines as a means of loving one another as we meet together for worship:
1. All of our services for the months of June, July, and August will be held outside at Split Rock Park in Garretson. We will be meeting at the picnic shelter near the bathhouse & playground. These services will be on Sundays at 10am. We are meeting outside to increase airflow, allow better social distancing, and to lessen the chance of spreading sickness to one another.
2. Since it would be difficult (impossible?) to mandate social distancing during children ministries, there will be NO nursery and NO Renovation Kids. Your children are MORE than welcome to come to the service and worship but they will be under your supervision the entire time.
3. If you (or family members) have any symptoms of being sick (i.e. fever, sore throat, cough, etc.) please stay home. It is not worth the risk of spreading the virus to other people – even if you are doubtful that you have COVID-19.
4. Please refrain from handshakes, hugs, or other physical contact during the service. Our greeters will give you a friendly smile and a wave, but for now, we are limiting all physical contact in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
5. We will not be passing the offering around. Instead, we will put the offering plate in a specific location at the service and you are encouraged to drop your offering off in it. In addition, we encourage you to use our online giving option.
6. We will have hand sanitizer available. Our hand sanitizer is in large bottles so we encourage you to bring your own plastic container and we will fill it up for you to use.
7. We will have music but there will be not sheet music for you to follow along with the words. Instead, you are encouraged to sing if you know the words.
8. We are asking that you follow protocols for social distancing. Specifically, we are asking you to stay at least 6 feet away from those who are not immediate family members. There should be no reason that you have to be closer than 6 feet to people since we will be outside and there will be plenty of room to spread out.
9. If there is inclement weather, the service will be online via Zoom. If/When this happens, I will post the connection information to our website, our Facebook page, and here on my blog.
Friends, I understand this is difficult for all of us. I know there are feelings of anger, resentment, frustration, fear, and other emotions. I want to close this post by sharing with you the timeless wisdom of Scripture:
1 Corinthians 13:4-6
4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.