April 6, 2021
Over the past year, we have worked together as an eldership to navigate this challenging time of a worldwide pandemic for our Church family. It has been our objective since last March to honor our God through respectful and reverent worship while also ensuring the health and well-being of every member of our Church Family. We have sought advice and guidance from God in prayer and from local, state, and federal experts in making our decisions regarding our assemblies. We appreciate your cooperation and support of our decisions as we have worked through this challenging time together.
As we head into this Spring, we are encouraged to see vaccinations increasing in availability and numbers decreasing in severe cases of COVID-19 in our community. With this positive momentum occurring, we recognize that state and local officials are beginning to release information regarding relaxing mask mandates, and we thought it important for you to know how we are choosing to navigate the weeks ahead for our Church family with all of these new developments.
For now, we will continue to require masks for all of our services but would like to explain this decision to you.
First, we were blessed to begin Bible classes for all ages on April 4. It was so good to see all of our young people back in classes. Our teachers have worked very diligently to create safe environments in all of our classrooms for our children, but we believe it prudent to allow for the next 3 weeks to ensure all goes well and our children are safe, and so this is the first reason for our mask requirement.
Second, we are blessed to see more and more people coming back to services, both our Church Family members but also visitors from our community and as such, we are nearing capacity for the current 6-foot social distancing guidance in our auditorium. At the end of April, we will begin to relax the 6-foot social distancing guidance thus allowing additional capacity into the auditorium to ensure everyone who wishes to worship with us can do so comfortably. Because we will be reducing the 6-foot social distancing guidance, again we believe allowing 3 weeks to pass from the start of that effort to ensure all goes well and everyone is safe will be prudent, thus the second reason for the continuation of the mask requirement.
So, in summary, we envision the mask requirement for the next six weeks to allow us to ensure our classes are safe for our children and that our auditorium is safe as we relax social distancing guidance beginning the end of April. Allowing these six weeks to pass also will provide time for vaccinations to be received by those of our Church family who wish to do so, thereby even further reducing the risks of COVID-19 impact in our assemblies.
We will be communicating with you again regarding masks the week of May 16th where we may be moving to masks being “recommended, but optional” at that time, barring no unexpected negative outcomes between now and then related to COVID-19.
Again, we thank you for your patience and cooperation as we move forward with putting this pandemic behind us in the weeks to come. We ask for your prayers for our decision and for our Church family.
In Christian Love,