Are you as EXCITED as Bobby to resume In-Person Worship?Check out this video to see.
This Sunday, we are “reopening” for “in-person” worship.
However, I want to state two things very, very clearly.
#1 The “Church” and specifically, Ringgold United Methodist Church never “closed.” We are and will continue to be the church regardless of our physical space or limitations thereof.
#2 We will continue to offer ONLINE Worship permanently so that anyone, anywhere, provided they have internet access, can be a part of our worshiping community.
Furthermore, we seek to manage the re-opening of the church building in a way that appropriately minimizes risk of physical harm to anyone who enters. We remember John Wesley’s first of three rules to the Methodist Societies: DO NO HARM.
We want to balance our desire to fulfill our call to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world with the wisdom and prudence of reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 as much as possible.
While everyone needs to be protected we especially recognize immune compromised people, the elderly and other “high risk” individuals (like persons with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer patients, and others with respiratory problems) who are particularly vulnerable to this disease which is 5x-35x more deadly than influenza.
Lastly, we recognize that others who are not as susceptible can nonetheless be infected and transmit the disease to others while being pre-symptomatic (before exhibiting symptoms) or even asymptomatic (never exhibiting symptoms).
In addition to these six protocols please self-monitor before coming to an in-person worship gathering or ministry event or ministry meeting.
If you have been around those not feeling well or those who have been possibly exposed to COVID-19 it is better for you to stay at home. If you are not feeling well yourself, have a fever, cough, sore throat or other signs of illness, it is better to stay at home.
The virus spreads mostly from droplets and aerosols released from infected persons when they talk, cough, sneeze, and sing. This is why wearing mask and remaining six feet apart is essential.
Singing is the most dangerous activity in a church with regard to spreading COVID-19. Aerosols created by singing are not stopped by a mask or face shield.
We will thus not be offering congregational singing but will enjoy music led/sung by worship leaders among other forms of music. We are / will be encouraging these persons to be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks to ensure safety. (As the Lead Preacher I too will be seeking to be regularly tested.)
None of this is what any of us want.
However, none of this is permanent either.
We are taking it one week at a time and trying to be as faithful as possible in every way as possible, praying for and extending grace.
We will be cleaning surfaces in between worship services and changing some of our normal worship activities to avoid unnecessary contact.
I am so proud of the church you are. You have, to this point, handled this unprecedented set of circumstances with tremendous patience and generosity. You are a great witness for Christian faith and I’m honored and motivated as your pastor.
More communication is forthcoming this week, including a video we’ll record tomorrow.
However, if you know right now that you plan to attend worship this Sunday, please let us know. Use this link.
I believe with all my heart, that God will redeem this time in our lives and the life of the church in part by pushing us and sharpening us towards ministry practices that reach people that otherwise would have never been reached.
Keep the faith.
See you soon, online or in-person,
P.S. Remember our teens in prayer as about a dozen head to St. Simon’s for a youth retreat this coming weekend. Also, keep praying for our new Youth Director, Jamie R. Smith and perhaps start collecting some dry goods for a house-warming / welcome-to-the-community “pounding” our SPRC (personnel committee) would like to offer her and her new husband Mason in the coming weeks.