Last spring, when everything was shutting down, including churches, it seemed to be so difficult. However, in these last several weeks, as we have tried to reopen things, including churches, it has proven to be even more difficult. Of course, the virus is still out there, and it is still dangerous. One thousand Americans are still dying every day of COVID-19, and many more attest to the difficulty of recovering fully after an infection. And when reopening has been forced without adequate planning, the results have been disastrous. Colleges have been forced to shut down just days after welcoming students back. Religious services—weddings, worship services—continue to spread the virus far and wide. And some schools have had to revert totally to online classes. Truth be told, still lacking adequate testing, coupled with a resistance to cooperate with public health advisories including contact tracing, any reopening carries more risk than it should.
Here at Central, we have adopted a “go slow” approach, carefully and in all humility making plans to reopen for in-person gatherings. We hope to begin very soon some small group gatherings, mainly with children and all held outside. While we have not set a date yet, we have plans to start offering worship outside because that seems to be less risky than bringing people inside. Of course, these outside activities will be dependent on weather. They will also be dependent on what happens with community spread of infection here in our area. We will limit attendance to what we can handle while maintaining proper social distancing. We will require masks to be worn, temperatures to be taken, and an agreement to cooperate fully with contact tracing. And we will strongly discourage folks from coming who are at higher risk of developing a serious case of COVID-19. You can find out if you are at such risk by checking the CDC website, and please be aware, that list has been revised as doctors have learned more.
I encourage you to keep checking this website for information about our plans in the coming weeks. May God continue to watch over us as we try to navigate our way through these unprecedented times with patience and with wisdom.
–Pastor Don Steele