COVID-19 UPDATE FROM PASTOR DAVID, JANUARY 26, 2021
DEAR FIRST CHURCH FAMILY,
I write today to share some exciting news: we are ready to resume in-person worship!! We will gather again in our worship spaces beginning February 6 and 7 with this schedule:
- Saturday February 6: 6 p.m. – Downtown Campus; 7 p.m. – God’s Country at Crossfire Campus
- Sunday February 7: 9:45 a.m. – Crossfire Campus; 11:15 a.m. – Downtown Campus
We will stay with this schedule for a few weeks and watch how participation is, and may adjust the times a bit accordingly. Information about what this means for Fusion Youth Ministry can be found on the website and the Fusion social media pages. Information about upcoming growth groups during the season of Lent will be forthcoming very soon. AND, here’s a brief note from Children’s Ministry:
The Children’s Ministry Team is excited to resume in-person worship! Nursery and busy bags will be available during the Saturday night God’s Country service at the Crossfire Campus beginning February 6th. Nursery, children’s moments and busy bags will be provided at both Sunday morning services; 9:45 Crossfire and 11:15 Downtown. Children’s Ministry small groups will resume during the 11:15 Downtown Campus service on February 7th. Crossfire Children’s Ministry small groups are actively recruiting support and will resume on March 7th. Please watch for important updates and events to be announced in February. We are looking forward to providing an excellent experience for children and families in 2021!
So, maybe the question in your mind right now is, WHY? Why resume in-person worship now? I imagine many of you reading these words are leaping for joy and saying, “It’s about time!” I imagine others are feeling quite anxious and saying, “It’s still too soon!” I have conversations almost every day with people who express both of these sentiments. Our Administrative Board, in making this decision, wrestled with very strong feelings surrounding each of those expressions. Truth is, among the First Church family, some feel very strongly about the ongoing need to protect themselves and ones that they love. Others feel very strongly about the need to be in person for worship – with all safety precautions in place – for emotional and spiritual health. I am so very grateful for Carmen Bianco and our media team that makes online worship possible for us every week. I do not believe it will ever be a substitute for in person worship, but I’m thankful we have it available. With all of that said, I believe the best “in-between” answer for moving forward is the Ad Board’s decision to continue online worship for all who choose it and/or need it, and resume in person worship for those who need to participate in that way, with all safety protocols in place and enforced. PLEASE!! Do not feel guilty in any way if you’re not ready to worship in person yet. The good news is when you are ready, your church family will be here, ready to worship with you, both online and in person!
Let’s talk about those safety protocols for a minute. Here’s what you can expect from First Church:
- All buildings – especially children’s and worship spaces – will be regularly and deeply sanitized and cleaned.
- Continued tracking protocols in case someone does test positive, others can be notified. Remember – these tracking lists are NOT “turned in” to anyone. They are for our use only and are destroyed after two weeks.
- Holding everyone accountable for wearing face coverings the entire time in the buildings and maintaining social distancing.
- DOING EVERYTHING IN A SPIRIT OF LOVE!
Here’s what First Church expects of each of us:
- Helping us to be as safe as possible by wearing face coverings. Masks or shields must be worn the entire time we are in the buildings, especially around others. If you arrive at one of our sites to participate in worship without a face covering, we will provide one for you. We completely understand if face coverings make a medical condition worse, but we are asking if at all possible, please wear one to protect yourself and others.
- Help us be as safe as possible by practicing social distancing. You will need to stay in your family groups, and remain at least six feet from another person or group.
- Help us get through this whole pandemic by being PATIENT AND UNDERSTANDING. These protocols are nothing that any of us WANT. We don’t like face coverings, we don’t like not being able to give hugs to our brothers and sisters. But these things ARE necessary if we are to be in person for anything. Remember, it’s only a short time in a long life. Please be aware that leadership decisions are hard, and they sometimes have to change in a moment’s notice.
Finally, sisters and brothers, here me say THANK YOU. Thanks for your patient compliance with our safety protocols, even when it’s not what we want to do but what we have to do. Thanks for the multiple ways we have been and will continue to love our neighbors by adhering to face coverings and distancing. Thanks for your prayers and understanding hearts for our staff and leadership as we wrestle with tough decisions and try to figure out how to do ministry in a COVID world. Thanks for the AMAZING ways you continue to be faithful with giving and supporting the Kingdom work still happening through the ministries of First Church.
I do believe better and brighter days are on the way. I want to heed the words of Isaiah for me, and for us as a church family: “The Lord says, “Forget what happened before,and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19a) I pray these words for you, right where you are today, and I pray these words for First Church as we step boldly into God’s future!
Keep Lookin’ Up!