On May 19th, the elders of Session had a Zoom meeting. Zoom is a way to meet by using computers. The main subject of the meeting was "when and how to re-open public worship." You will be receiving notices by mail and by email. In the meantime, there are things you should be aware of.
We are waiting for the Governor's Office to move Allegheny County into the Green Phase of the state's re-opening plan. Does that mean that our campus will be open on the first Sunday of Green? The straight answer is, "Not unless preparations are complete."
Resuming public worship is not as simple as unlocking the doors, turning on the lights, and picking-up where we left off in March. There are three realities that need to be reconciled. The first is technical. The other two are related to the condition of our hearts.
The first reality to be reconciled is our alignment with public health guidelines
. For example, to align with public health guidelines, 1) we have site preparations to be completed, 2) we have back-ordered supplies that must be delivered, and 3) we have foot-traffic and seating plans that are under development. This is just a sampling of alignment issues. To lean more about issues that all churches are considering,
to read an article that summarizes CDC guidelines for faith communities.
The second reality to be reconciled is the fact that our congregation is made up of three kinds of people as they relate to COVID:
- Those who are confident about returning to public life,
- Those who are cautious about returning to public life, and
- Those who are "cauti-dent" and will return to public life in a very measured but cautious way.
The Elders' model for summer will shepherd all three groups of people in a way that can unify us. Let us examine our hearts. COVID isolation has stoked our "me fires." Coming out of COVID isolation will be a test of our desire to honor the name of Christ with a hot and bright "we fire." May we submit to God like clay in the potter's hands.
The third reality to be reconciled is how our fears and our claims to freedom are subject to scripture.
In other words, we can't let our fears stand apart from scripture. The same is true about our claims of freedom to do "this or that." If you want to see an example of this, read Corinthians 1:8. The topic at hand is eating meat that was offered to idols. Some feared doing so. Others felt free to eat the meat. Paul speaks to how these kinds of people can maintain fellowship in the church.
In closing, the State could say that our county is "Green" tomorrow. That would be welcomed but there are things to work through, things to do, and communications to be prepared and sent. For now, we all have praying to do: Prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of confession, and prayers of intercession. So, keep your eye on your mailbox and your inbox.
Peace be with you.