CV19 Update Mar 4, 2021
Thank you for your flexibility and your patience as we’ve sought to navigate the CV19 outbreak in our church over the past week and a half. To give you an update, in the first part of the week we continued to see new cases among people who are a part of Redeemer, as the virus makes its way through families and friendships in the church. Our entire pastoral staff is either positive and dealing with severe sickness or is quarantined due to direct exposure. For these reasons, we do not feel that it is wise, nor is it even logistically possible, to gather for in-person worship services again this weekend. So, we are cancelling in-person services again for Sunday, March 7. We will record a service that will be available at 9am on Sunday morning. (Our stream will be on YouTube and Facebook)
We feel confident that we will be able to resume in-person on March 14. We will do so with three services - 8am, 9am, and 10:30am. At the 8am service, we will require masks. We’ve heard from a number of you that you would feel most comfortable returning with everyone wearing masks. So, we offer the 8am service as an opportunity for you to gather with others who are most comfortable wearing masks. At the 9am service, we will have kids’ worship classes, but only for children through age 3. Kids ages 4 through 5th grade will stay in the service with their parents, due to our volunteer structure being decimated by the spread of the virus among us. We will re-open all kids’ classes on Easter Sunday, April 4. Until then, the service will be condensed to under an hour and we will provide activity sheets to help them engage in the worship service. The 10:30 service will continue as it has been since June.
In the meantime, we have hired a commercial sanitation company to fog the entire facility which will thoroughly disinfect all areas of the building. This company has extensive experience cleaning schools like Lakeland Christian, and other large churches. We have also purchased our own commercial grade disinfecting fogger for future cleaning of the building.
As leaders, we find ourselves caught between two competing desires. On the one hand, we feel a responsibility to keep the families and individuals under our care safe from this terrible virus. At the same time, we believe this past year has been a disruption, not an interruption, and we are concerned about the negative impact such a prolonged disruption is sure to have on our spiritual practices. We believe strongly that, for the sake of our emotional and spiritual well-being, we need to be gathering for worship; but also, for our physical well-being, we need to be doing so as safely as possible. We’d ask you to pray for us as we seek to lead in both courage and compassion. The two do not cancel each other out.
Our plan moving forward is to continue to do three services (as described above) - 8am, 9am, and 10:30am - each Sunday, through the end of the school year. Obviously, this adds a burden to the church staff, but they have all enthusiastically agreed, in order to allow for as many as possible to gather for worship under the circumstances they are most comfortable with. We are removing every obstacle to the church being able to safely gather. Therefore, would encourage you to take advantage of these extended opportunities to be in corporate worship - safely, sufficiently spread out, and wearing masks (at 8am). If you still are not able to join in person, then please continue to watch online and be proactive in connecting with others.
The exhortation from the Hebrews writer seems appropriate, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” (Heb 10:25-24). Be mindful of your habits. Don’t let it become your habit to neglect the gathering of the church. There is a great deal at stake in the days and weeks to come. We are praying for all of you, and for the future of Redeemer and the Church.
Ron Avery, Brad Beatty, Barry Bennett, Drew Bennett, Ben Blasio, Brad Copeland, Terry Henderson, Brandon Lutz, Sam Portlock, David Savant, Brad Scholten, Jeff Skipper, Josh Snively, Jonathan Winfree