Greetings. We are now at the end of the most unusual April in memory. I pray that all are safe and are enduring these stay home circumstance. I especially thank the fantastic members of the church’s Board of Stewards. We meet weekly with the key staff to ensure that the church is a “Christian community of love, hope and belonging for all.” Last night’s meeting was no exception.
The concerns of the church continue to be creating opportunities for connection, the finances of the church, and the reopening for live rather than virtual worship. Let me first address the finances. The staff is to be commended for their ability to control expenses in these times of drastically reduced giving. Even with the benefit of the funding from the CARES Act, the financial situation is a major concern. As we are developing the procedures and protocols for reopening the church itself, we are analyzing the budget for ways address the financial shortfall.
The staff continues to perform in the most outstanding manner. The pastoral staff excels weekly with the virtual worship on Sundays. Technical glitches happen as they did on this past Sunday during the Sanctuary worship. Ryan Kuecks with his technical acumen provided alternative options through Facebook and YouTube that seamlessly continued viewing. The local radio broadcasts also provide an additional way to connect.
Probably the most frequently asked question is when the church be reopened for worship, events, small group gatherings, and other activities. This is a very complex question since there are so many intricacies that under normal circumstances go unseen. Many of our volunteers that greet you, answer the phones, act as ushers, among the many other duties are over 65 and/or have medical issues that would be compromised if exposed to COVID-19.
The Opening Protocol Task Force met on Monday to start the process. The Board approved their recommendation that the church continue with virtual worship through the month of May. Plans and protocols are being developed for a “soft opening” of the church facilities beginning June 1. This will likely be the resumption of small groups and gatherings in limited areas of the church that can support the social distancing guidelines. The task force is meeting weekly to develop the strategic plan for reopening. These guidelines will be provided in the coming weeks.
The first and foremost of John Wesley’s covenant is “do no harm”. This is the guiding directive that we are using as we move through this period and determine our processes and protocols for reopening. Every care is placed on ensuring the safety of all. In the meantime, we continue to explore new ways to be a community. Until we meet again, may God bless. Prayers for safety to you and your families.
Kathryn “Kitty” Meyers