May 5, 2020 Update
On Thursday, April 30, Governor Greg Abbott allowed the stay at home order to expire without renewal. Phase 1 of reopening businesses in Texas began on May 1. As part of that, churches are now allowed to meet together as long as they adhere to certain social distancing and hygienic guidelines. Accordingly, we will resume our Sunday morning worship assembly this Sunday, May 10, at 10 am.
Our desire to assemble together again is balanced by our need to protect both this church family and the community as a whole. Therefore, we intend to go beyond implementing the minimum standards in the conduct of our meetings. Furthermore, for the foreseeable future, we will only meet for worship on Sunday morning in order to minimize the risk of exposure. Our tentative plan is to revisit this at the end of May once more data is available. Our weekly schedule of prayer meetings Monday-Friday at 7 pm and a Bible study on Wednesday, all on Facebook Live, will remain unchanged.
We recognize that some people are in the group most at-risk to this virus, particularly those who are elderly or immunocompromised. We ask you to continue to STAY HOME. Additionally, we know that some of you might not fall into that group but are still not comfortable getting out just yet out of an abundance of caution, which is a perfectly reasonable position. In view of that, we will continue to offer an online service at 10 am Sunday in the same format that we have for the past 6 weeks. We are investigating live streaming our worship services and hope to have that up and running as soon as possible. But, until that time, there will be no interruption in our existing service.
As far as particulars on our Sunday assembly:
- We will be checking temperatures outside the main entrance and turning away anyone who is running a fever. We ask that you arrive early so that we can do this as efficiently as possible, preventing both delays in beginning as well as people congregating too closely together.
- We will observe the minimum social distancing recommendations from the CDC of 6 feet at all times. There will be no handshaking or hugging in the foyer, no matter how much you might want to. We will be seated on every other pew, with individuals or family units separated by 6 feet. You will likely not be in your usual spot, as ushers will direct you to where you need to sit.
- The Lord’s Supper will be distributed when you enter in individual, self-contained packages. We will eat it together at the appropriate time and then ask that you place the empty container in Ziploc bags that we will also provide to be disposed of later.
- The wearing of masks in the building is not required, but it is strongly encouraged. Some evidence suggests that the act of singing together can promote the transmission of the virus. If you do not have a mask but would like to wear one, we can provide them for you.
- We will have a controlled dismissal at the conclusion of services, only allowing a few people out at a time by rows, again to promote social distancing.
We recognize that some of these precautions may be burdensome, but we believe that they are necessary to ensure as much as we can that everyone is kept safe. We appreciate your willing cooperation as we continue to navigate these difficult waters.
In closing, we continue to offer the reminders we have throughout this crisis:
- Please let others know about our changes in schedule when you talk to your brothers and sisters. We try to get it out as best we can through a variety of delivery methods, but we know sometimes people still miss updates.
- While it is now permissible to be out of the house, it is still prudent to minimize that as much as possible. We encourage you to continue to practice good hygiene and maintain social distancing when you are out.
- If you are in good health and not in the groups most at-risk to the virus, meaning the elderly and immunocompromised, look for opportunities to serve, just as we have here with the Food Bank. If you go to the grocery store, for instance, consider seeing if one of the members in those groups could use anything so they don’t have to get out. Remember that we are a family!
- If you need anything at all, please contact the church office either by phone or email, call Bryant directly, or give one of the elders a call. We know this is a time of stress and uncertainty. Whether it is to run some sort of errand for you because you are not able to get out, or just because you need prayers or someone to talk to, we want to serve you however we can.
- Continue to keep our church family, our community, our country, and, indeed, our world in your prayers. We worship a wise and benevolent Lord. Trust him.
Though the circumstances are less than ideal, we cannot express how much we look forward to seeing you Sunday.
Grace and peace,
for The Elders of Liberty Church of Christ