Brothers and Sisters of Christ Community Church,
In this time of social distancing and online worship we have seen God at work among his people. The Holy Spirit is always on the move and no stay-at-home order can contain Him! Oh, how we long to come together as the body of Christ and worship together in person, and raise our voices in song together. As God is good to us, that day is getting closer.
The leadership of CCC appointed a Covid-19 response team of Elder Dr. Tarek Ashkar, Deacon Glen Olberding, and Director of Discipleship Dave Barfield. They have been diligently monitoring the guidance of the State of Indiana, the CDC, and other governmental bodies regarding when and how we might gather together again for worship. They developed a detailed plan, which was reviewed and approved by the Session.
Before sharing the key points of the plan, it is important to note that the guidance for Indiana is still subject to change. So even as we share the details below, the response team continues to monitor the situation and will recommend adjustments if circumstances warrant.
First, what is not changing: Online worship will still be streamed for the foreseeable future. If for any reason you do not feel comfortable attending in person, or are unable, the option to worship from home will remain open to you. Also, Bible studies, AIM groups, Journey or other gatherings are still to be conducted virtually at this time. We will share more about loosening those restrictions at a later date.
What is changing: We are making plans to gradually move toward opening up in-person worship according to the time frame set forth below.
May 10: Worship will be online only
May 17: Worship will be online, but with a small number of invited guests in-person to test a new sanctuary configuration to adhere to social distancing measures
May 24: Worship will be online, AND open to those not in “at-risk” categories, as defined by the CDC and the state of Indiana.
May 31 and beyond: Stay tuned for future adjustments.
The worship services as we begin to reopen will look and feel a little different as we take measures to protect one another. We are only opening up for corporate worship at this time. There will be no in-person gatherings at 9:00, child care, or children’s worship during this next phase as it is not possible to maintain social distancing for those activities. The parts of the building south of the sanctuary area will remain closed at this time.
For the 10:30 worship service, we will incorporate the guidance given by the state of Indiana. Face masks will be strongly encouraged, doors will be propped open, seating will be far more spread out, hand sanitizer use will be encouraged, and offering plates will not be passed. As we enter to gather for worship and as we leave afterwards, we will maintain social distancing and not congregate indoors in tight areas. The May 17 service will allow a small number of guests to attend in person as a way of doing a “trial run” of our procedures so that any problems can be addressed before we gather in larger numbers.
For this first phase (May 17 and 24) of reopening of worship, in accordance with CDC and Indiana guidelines, we would ask that those in the “at-risk” categories remain at home and worship with us via online streaming. This includes those over the age of 65 and those with diabetes, high blood pressure, compromised immune systems, or other risk factors. We love each and every one of you, and while we long to see you in person, we ask that you wait to return to worship in person until the guidance for those “at-risk” has changed. If Indiana continues to make progress, this restriction may relax, so stay tuned for further updates. And of course anyone who is sick or under a quarantine order from a positive test should not attend the service.
It is an odd thing for those who love Christ and his church to forgo gathering in corporate worship, even to the point of recommending certain people stay away. Christ longs to draw near to each of us, individually and corporately. But praise God that He is not contained by brick walls or glass doors! We are so thankful for the tech team and worship team that has enabled us to remain connected in new ways during this time. And we likewise thank the response team and Diaconate for working to complete the steps necessary to begin reopening CCC for worship.
Your Elder shepherd will be reaching out to you in the coming days as a follow up to this communication to answer any questions and hear any concerns you may have. We know there is a diversity of opinion regarding various measures taken and not taken during this pandemic and respect that some may disagree with elements of our plan. Know that we have prayed and sought wise counsel as to how best to love our congregation, our neighbors, submit to the authorities, and honor God in all that we do. We ask for your continued prayers as we continue to serve Christ and His church during these eventful times.
In His Service,
The Session of Christ Community Church