May 2020 (COVID-19 Partial Regathering)
As I write this letter, we are coming up on our 7th week of not being able to gather together to worship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the one week that I was on vacation and at home with my family to watch the online live-stream, I felt the great desire to gather again. I can only imagine how you are all feeling after not being able to gather for close to two months. Please know that I have been praying for each of you and your families regularly and I realize how difficult this season has been for all of you in various ways.
Many of you have likely already heard the news that our Governor has outlined a plan for reopening Missouri’s economy beginning May 4th 2020. And after much prayer and planning, and discussion with our local health department, as well as many church members, we have decided to proceed with a dual approach of continuing to provide an online live-stream to those who decide to remain at home for however long they deem appropriate, as well as rearranging our seating to account for appropriate social distancing for some people who decide to attend an in person beginning May 10th, 2020.
Now I realize that we will not all be able to gather on May 10th. And while we all wish to gather as soon as possible, I would encourage those of you who decide for whatever reason (per CDC or doctor recommendations, family members preferences, and/or your own convictions and decision), to stay home and be able to watch the live-stream services for as long as you decide is best for you and your family. As I mentioned in my initial COVID-19 communication well over a month ago, staying home from worship services due to sickness or health concerns caused by the coronavirus are legitimate reasons to abstain from gathering for in person worship services. We will look forward to the future day when further restrictions are lifted, and more of us are able and comfortable to gather to celebrate together in gathered worship when the Lord allows. And until then, we will continue to care for in ways that we have already been doing, and also to continue to provide online services to the many who will remain at home during this season.
And for those of you who decide to come to our public gathering on Sunday May 10th 2020, please be aware that things will be different than usual. Our seating will be completely rearranged to account for proper social distancing among families and individuals. We will also not have our normal greeting time, and we will limit our services to only the 10:40 worship service for the time being and plan on adding our other services and classes in the future. We also would advise those of you who are not feeling well to stay at home and watch the live service to avoid getting others sick. We would also encourage everyone to give “air high-fives” and waves from a distance and try to keep social distancing in mind during the service. For those who are wearing masks when in public, please feel free to wear them if you desire at our service. Furthermore, we will continue to evaluate and implement best practices regarding safety procedures to be as wise as we can during this unprecedented season.
Lastly, I would challenge all of us, whether we are staying home, or gathering, to be encouraging and respectful of each-others decisions. And to continue to call, and pray for, and serve one another as you have all been doing so well during this next transitionary season during the pandemic. We want to continue to love one another and remain united as we have been praying for during our current series “Evening Worship in the Morning” because that is what will most glorify God and uplift one other. It is for God’s glory and our good that we would do everything possible to promote unity during this season and always so that is my encouragement to our church during this time as well.
Sincerely, Pastor Daniel Pelichowski