On Wednesday, May 13, our state supreme court rescinded the Safer-at-Home order as unconstitutional. Among other things, the restriction of large gatherings for churches was removed. This means that preparations are underway for returning for worship at our church building. We also recognize our responsibility to design our activities with care and sensitivity for our church family and community.
Let’s begin with the easiest element. If you are not feeling well, if you have a fever, or if someone in your immediate family has a fever, please stay home. If you are included in a COVID-19 “at-risk” group – either by age or health condition or you are not yet comfortable gathering for worship services, please feel free to stay at home and join us online at http://calvaryrapids.org/ or https://www.youtube.com/c/CalvaryBaptistChurchWR. If you would prefer to have a DVD/CD delivered to you, please call the church office.
What should I expect for a worship service under these conditions?
- There will be two worship services – 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM. There will be no ABF/SS hour, PM service, or Nurseries.
- There will be two locations in which to gather for each service: our gymnasium and our auditorium. Both locations will have seating that reflects the 6’ social distancing guideline, yet families will be seated together.
- Both areas will have seating for approximately 60 chairs. The gym has a 10’ screen with a direct video/audio feed of the auditorium.
- The services will not ‘feel’ like the services we had prior. With physical spacing and less people, the singing will be different. We still will not have our full range of large-group fellowship and ministry opportunities.
- Offerings will be received using an offering box. On-line giving or dropping off offerings during office business hours are other options.
- Parents with restless children should move to the Fellowship Hall where the service is also available.
- Sensitivity should be practiced as we greet one another – especially in handshakes and hugs. Remember that while you may have a desire to greet another in this way, those on the receiving end may desire a little less contact.
How will we keep our facility as virus-free as possible?
- Sanitation process – restrooms, doors/handles, removal of hymnbooks & Bibles; although we will have sanitized Bibles for those who desire to use one. The facility will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized prior to and following each gathering.
- We are asking attendees to refrain from collective groupings and allow for 6’ of space.
- We are asking that children remain with their parents at all times while attending worship services. This includes children’s use of the restrooms.
- Please feel free to wear a mask/gloves but we understand if you choose not to wear them. Either response is acceptable.
- Spray disinfectants, soap, and hand sanitizers are available in the restrooms and we encourage users to take measures to secure their own actions against virus transfer.
How will the people in our community view our re-opening?
- Reopening is not just about us – what we convey to the community may give us a gospel opportunity. If they see us as cautious and safety-oriented, that might create a positive impression about Christians in general, or our church specifically.
- Whether in the church or outside of it, our actions provide a tangible way to fulfill the ‘one another’ commands of Scripture. At this point, the greatest threat to Calvary’s ministry is not COVID-19, but rather an attack of disunity and impatience with one another!
How long will this plan be used?
- At this point, this plan will be used until June 28. Yet, this could be extended or shortened as determined to be wise and prudent.
- Our ultimate desire is to have open access and fellowship in services and ministries as we have had in the past. Do not wonder if there is an underlying agenda to change Calvary’s beliefs or practices.
In working as a body of believers, we do not wish to substitute numerous “church mandates” in place of previously given government mandates regarding who should or should not attend. This information is given to allow each person to determine the level of risk he/she wishes to accept. We will not use temperature screening methods. We will not assume responsibility to report COVID cases from our church family to the Wood County Health Department, but rather leave that to the individual.
Finally, regarding the summer youth program, Pastor Kodiak is planning on running activities and meetings beginning Wednesday, June 3. He is looking forward to finally getting to meet our teens! Additionally, ABF groups may be meeting during this time although they will not be gathering in the church building on Sunday mornings. They may be in homes or at the church on another day/night. Pastor Zach will work to schedule ABF building use in manageable sizes in order to permit appropriate cleaning.
Here’s a great text upon which to focus as we move forward:
“…count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Jack Austin