COVID Update from Ryan & Kate
January – April 2021
Covid continues to be something we have to address, which is understandable. As we move into 2021 and through toward Spring, Kate and I want to keep the church informed and directed on how we can gather safely. Of course we would love to have unrestricted gatherings, without masks! Unfortunately, we believe it is clear that there is no way to gather indoors without keeping masks on at this time. It is how people have to function in gyms, businesses, medical facilities, and restaurants, and is therefore no different than how we should proceed.
Due to recent developments around the legality of occupancy caps at churches, there is some confusion about whether we can gather in large numbers or not. Allow me to briefly explain the situation: Churches with larger sanctuaries were being limited to only 100 attendees, even though they could mask and social distance a much larger number of people than that in their space. When challenged in court, it was decided that as long as masking and social distancing remained in place, churches could gather as many people as their square footage allowed. So all occupancy restrictions became recommendations, but mask and distancing regulations were not lifted off of churches for public gatherings.
Our space is very small, but the shift in policy does allow us to move closer to 100 people in our room while following mask and distancing guidelines! While we were outside, it was great to be able to remove our masks during our Sundays together. However, in order to continue indoors in larger numbers, we now choose to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.
In 2021, our focus will be working back toward larger gatherings while relaunching our Kingdom Kids classes soon to allow families to attend more easily, and preparing for a second gathering when the need for it arises. We have faith that those who need a gathering on a Sunday will join us, even if it means wearing a mask, while those who cannot will connect in other ways and rejoin us in person once all of this is behind us.
We hope to continue to serve and grow this community, and raise up disciples of Jesus however we can, with, or without Sunday gatherings and Covid restrictions. We hope that people will stay with us through this process, and that our community will come out the other side closer and more dependent on Jesus than when we went in.
Thank you each for taking the time to read this. We know that this isn’t something that is cut and dry and that we’ll all agree on. We haven’t ever approached this as just a restriction following thing. We aren’t afraid of being shut down or penalized. We agree that safety measures are important in the middle of a pandemic. We don’t like it, but we don’t want to give the impression that we’re just following along for appearance’s sake. As much as we wish it weren’t, the virus is here, we don’t want people to get it, and we don’t want to contribute to community spread (because community spread is what is keeping people shut in, schools restricted, and local restaurants closed).
There are so many factors and so much nuance to these decisions, but our directive continues to be to act in love toward our church family and community, and in all things, to consider others above ourselves.
We do not see this as a political issue, or believe that the virus is a hoax. To those who attack our response as weak, or cowardly, or silly – we extend grace. When we err on the side of gathering, and people think we’re being cavalier and insensitive, we extend grace. To churches who approach this differently than us, we extend grace. In a time deep with division, we refuse to be pitted against one another, or other churches who are walking their own path forward that may be different than ours.
As for this house, we will continue to strive to serve and grow this community, and raise up disciples of Jesus however we can. We ask you to pray with us for our church through this, and ultimately we invite you to stick together with us!
Yes, Kate and I are STILL incredibly excited and hopeful for what’s ahead!
We love you!
Ryan & Kate
Get all the details on our gathering guidelines (here)
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