Dear Ambassador Family,
Since last week’s announcement from Governor Cooper of our state’s three phase plan for reopening, the Session has continued to give much prayer and discussion to how and when we will begin gathering again for worship. We are eager to resume corporate worship while remaining committed to the health and safety of our congregation, as well as the health of our greater community. We are also seeking to heed the wisdom and guidance of governing and health officials.
After consulting with the Deacons and our staff, we are glad to announce that we will begin gathering for morning worship outside in the parking lot of the church starting next Sunday, May 24th. We have decided to wait until the two weeks of the state’s Phase One restrictions have ended (May 22nd) to have better understanding on the trajectory of the virus’ spread and next steps in the lifting of restrictions. This will also allow us to prepare well for the continued social distancing and safety precautions that will be needed as we begin to gather.
It is important to note this is just the first step in a process of our coming back together as a church, and it will not be a quick return to what we’re used to. We will begin with weekly outdoor services for worship as weather permits, practicing social distancing as we gather. We will continue to provide online worship options for those at high risk or who are still concerned with gathering publicly. We continue to work on plans for moving to indoor gatherings, but will not determine a date for doing so until we not only know better when and what is permitted, but also believe we are able to do so in a manner that is conducive to the benefit, health and safety of our congregation.
We will send out more details and specific guidelines regarding how we will handle meeting outdoors on the 24th, but here is a general outline for what to expect.
- Service will start at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings (starting May 24th)
- We will follow guidelines for social distancing at all times.
- We will have areas in the parking lot next to the building marked off at appropriate social distancing measures for families/households to bring chairs and to sit together.
- We will have parking spots reserved for those who desire to remain in their cars where the service can be seen and heard.
- We will not have any nursery or Ambassador Kids programs, children will sit with their families, and parents will be responsible for their children remaining properly distanced from others.
- We will strongly encourage the use of masks for those who are able, but will leave that to the discretion of individuals.
- We will have volunteer greeters and ushers helping direct traffic flow and seating arrangements.
Again, we will have more specific details and instructions for you early next week as we plan for this long awaited time.
While we want to encourage all who can to return to gathering for worship on Sunday, we also want to be clear that no one should feel pressured to return to in-person worship until they are comfortable and ready to do so. During this time of transition back to corporate worship, if people have reasonable hesitations, we will respect your decision to continue worshipping online and will provide the opportunity to do so. We know and appreciate that different people will have different circumstances as well as different perspectives and opinions regarding these times. It is especially important that we extend to one another much grace and exercise charity towards one another, considering the interest of others more than our own
It is important that we give the judgement of charity when it comes to matters related to COVID-19 and starting to gather in public again. Let us not pass judgment on one another, especially those who decide differently on when it is best to return to in-person worship. We share a common desire to glorify the Lord, love our neighbor, be a witness to our community and care about human life. We are united by the one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, and we share in the unity of the Spirit. Let us look to love one another well especially in these uncertain times as we seek to display that unity and love brightly to the world.
We thank you for your continued prayers, patience, and encouragement, and we ask that you would continue to join us in asking the Lord to bring an end to this virus and to give his wisdom, provision and protection to his church as we seek to bring glory to his name.
On behalf of the Session and with Christ’s love,