It has been a long 9 weeks since we last met in person. While we continue to miss the face to face gatherings, we continue to fulfill the vision and mission of the church. To know and glorify God through the Holy Spirit and to Love and lead all people to a life change through Christ Jesus. We don’t need to be gathered to do that. We’ve heard and seen many actions that put feet to the gospel message of Jesus. What can I do to help? Who needs help? Here is some money to help those in need. Where can I volunteer?
You all get it. You are the church, not the building that sits at 1470 Smith Kramer St. That is where we gather and we will meet there again.
It was so good to see church family last Saturday as we handed out donuts, coffee and flowers. It will be good to see each other when we return to in person church. No pajamas allowed. 😊 What will that first time back together look like? Will it be the same as before? Yes, it will, but it will be different too. In regards to our reactions to the corona virus, we are at many different places. Some are “over it” and some just are not. We have to allow space for that. This body has been a unified body and it must stay that way. We must not allow our differences to divide, but we must remain unified in our differences.
As we look at when and how to open up meeting together here are some ideas expressed by various church organizations as safe practices. Please pay attention. These are not Evermore’s recommendations. This is for you to see what some church organizations are doing for safety.
- Assigned seating
- Required masks for all
- No singing and minimal talking
- No offering taken, have boxes at the doors or give online
- Physical distancing with family units sitting with each other
- Take temperatures at the door
- No handshakes, no hugging
- Pick up your bulletin, not from a greeter
- Door greeters with proper Personal Protection Equipment
- Cleaning and disinfecting seating and high-touch areas, especially between multiple services.
- Sign ups required to attend services.
- No nurseries or child care
- No Sunday School
- Remove hymnals and Bibles from the racks
- Some churches will choose not to meet in person
- In a recent poll of over 1200 Protestant pastors, two in three pastors say precautions will be taken when their congregation gathers again. With the nation slowly beginning to reopen and many states announcing the phases of their approaches, churches have a somewhat better, though still vague, idea of when they might be able to meet in person again. In fact, last week, nearly two in five U.S. church leaders (37%) feel they’d be able to host a church service in their usual building or location in May. Another half (46%), however, have their sights set on June and 16 percent believe they may wait until July or August.
After a long period of social distancing and with the risk of infection lower, church leaders are now faced with a new challenge: deciding how their congregation will meet once their church is allowed to gather again in person. Sixty-two percent of pastors say their church will meet for worship with precautions in place, while another one in 10 (13%) says their church will not meet in person right away, but instead wait until they feel comfortable enough to do so. On the other end of the spectrum, 12 percent of church leaders say their worship services will be the same as before social distancing. Another one in 10 (13%) says their church doesn’t currently have a plan in place yet.
So, Evermore, where do you find yourself? How will you react to the person, your brother or sister in Christ, who is at a very different place than yourself? You shouldn’t be shocked to know that we at Evermore find ourselves on both ends of the scales and we must have space for each other. I think Jesus called it Love. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. That’s what it will take for us to continue to worship in unity. It’s not about us, right? It’s about God’s Kingdom.
As we return together, we do it to worship our God together. We do it to stay connected as a body, to meet social, emotional and spiritual needs as we continue to preach and live out the Gospel.
One thing I hope never changes is the shift from “doing” church for an hour or two on Sunday to being the church seven days a week.