Mountain View Church Family:
Yesterday we sent out an email regarding worshiping together this next Sunday — an email that was based on information communicated from our State Government last Friday, May 8th. That May 8th document of 36 pages had one paragraph that specifically addressed “Houses of Worship” and that paragraph was worded in such a way that it would have allowed us to resume public worship if we maintained “social distancing” and “cleanliness” guidelines. So, we arranged our public worship space to allow us to accommodate up to about 100 people and were moving ahead with plans to worship within these boundaries while adhering to those guidelines.
Well, yesterday, in his conference call with church leaders from around the State, our Governor referred to updated guidelines and dictates for “Houses of Worship” — which make it very clear that we are not free in the eyes of the State to have more than 10 people in any one “room” — no matter how large the room is.
So, in an effort to be good citizens of our state as well as trying to do what we can to meet the needs of God’s people, here is what we are now planning to offer this next weekend — May 16 & 17:
- Saturday evening Worship Service at 6:00 PM.
- Sunday morning Worship Services beginning at 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM, and 11:00 AM (with the 9:30 service being a “Traditional” service with hymns).
- And, for all who cannot or who choose not to worship with us in person, we will plan once again to record and post at least the message as well as a tribute to our graduating seniors to our Church, YouTube, and Facebook websites .
PLEASE note the starting times for our services — as they have changed for the first two Sunday services!
Because of what we can and cannot legally do, we will be able to only accommodate up to 10 people in any one “room”. So, for each of the four worship services that we will offer, we will only be able to have 8 worshipers in the Main Worship area (because the person on the platform and the person in the AV booth count as persons). In addition we will be able to accommodate 10 worshipers for each service in the Chapel/C-1 and in the Lobby — spaces to which we will live-stream the service from the main worship area.
Pastor Rick will lead our worship through song for each of these services from the piano/keyboard and Pastor Bruce will then exchange places on the platform to share the message. Pastor Mike will provide “traffic control” and has graciously offered to take care of sanitizing and helping with swapping out chairs between services.
I greatly appreciate the good number of you who quickly responded to our request for volunteers to help in various ways this next weekend so we can reopen for worship, However, because of these hard limits on the number of people being allowed in a “room”, we will not be able to use your help this weekend. But, we will certainly let you know when we will be needing your help in the weeks ahead!
Because we will be limited to a maximum of 28 people total in each of these Worship Services, we NEED YOU to RESERVE YOUR PLACE. We cannot hope that only 28 people will show up. (Never thought I’d even think of wishing that!) So, if you would like to worship with us in person this next weekend, please call the church office during business hours (8:30-5:00 M-F) to check with Wanda — letting her know your desire to worship with us this next Sunday and who will be coming with you. Spaces will be given to you on a “first-come, first served” basis. If we “fill up”, we will send out an email letting you know. Pastor Mike will have a list of those who have reserved their seats for each of the services and he will have to play the bad guy by turning away anyone who is not on the list. (Never thought I’d think of turning people away from a worship service either!).
I know that in our church family we have people with very different views and opinions about the measures being required and being taken during this COVID-19 era. Some will be very disappointed and even upset that we are even thinking of offering public worship services at all. Others believe that we never should have stopped worshiping in large groups. Let us acknowledge that sincere Christians can and will disagree on things like this — but please don’t let Satan use our differences of opinion to drive us apart.
Finally, because we are offering these modified opportunities to worship with others, this does not mean that everyone should take advantage of them. If you are or have been ill, if you live with someone whose health is compromised, or if you have recently been around those who have demonstrated symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu, please choose to stay home (and “join” us on the internet). That is the loving thing to do for others. And, if you choose to come gather at the worship center for these services, please observe the recommendation to maintain 6-feet between you and others who are not in your family, choose to wear a face-covering/mask for the benefit of others, and plan to use your family bathroom before coming. (While we will have certain restrooms available for your use “just in case”, the use of public restrooms is being discouraged.)
Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns — there is more that I could share but this email is long enough already. And pray for your church leaders as we seek to do what is best.