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Service Startup Plan, 5/27/2020
After much prayer, discussions, and seeking medical advice from medical professionals, the elders have selected June 7th as our first assembly day for our worship services. The services will be held in the Family Life Center starting at 10:30 AM. For now, this will be our only gathering during the week. Here is the current service startup plan:
1. Our Sunday morning worship service will be abbreviated, a few songs and a shortened sermon.
2. We will follow CDC guidelines for our assembly.
a. We will maintain social distancing. Please, no handshakes or hugs.
b. Please wear a mask. Masks will be provided, if you do not have one.
c. Hand sanitizer will be available.
3. Before the services start, the door will be propped open. The door will also be propped open before the conclusion of the services.
4. As you enter the FLC, you will be handed a chair or someone will help you with a chair. Families may sit together, but we highly encourage everyone else to use the social distancing guidelines of six feet.
6. The offering plate will not be passed around. The offering plate will be on the table from which you picked up your communion packet. A prayer for the offering will be made at the end of our communion service. You may place your offering in the plate as you leave, after the services have concluded.
7. Please do not use the restroom unless necessary.
8. The kitchen will be closed.
9. After services have concluded, all used chairs, tables, door knobs, and light switches will be sanitized.
9. Nobody will be pressured to attend, but we encourage you to say home if you do not feel well or have a medical condition that may compromise your immune system. This is an individual consideration and not a test of faith.
10. The service will be streamed via Chris’s Facebook page. If you cannot meet with us physically, you can still assemble virtually.
11. Chris will continue to offer the Wednesday devotional via his Facebook page.
We understand that there are many different opinions on this pandemic. We respect that. However, we know that in all things we must act in a way that will protect the health of each individual member, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. We pray that you all agree with that opinion and will understand our deliberate approach to starting the assembly. It is important that we all remember the following precepts:
1. In humility, we look after the welfare of others over our own interest or opinion, Philippians 2:3.
2. We submit ourselves to the idea that the church is a body; and as a body, each member is important, 1 Corinthians 12:14-27.
3. God is in control, Psalm 46:1 and Philippians 4:6-7.
Please continue your prayers on behalf of the church here in Clarendon, and elsewhere. The elders also ask for your prayers as they continue to work through this pandemic. May God be with you all!
Letter from the Elders, 5/1/2020
It has definitely been a trying time the last month or so. We are limited in our movements and activities to try and keep people safe. Much of the rules we are living under are for the good of others, especially people who have underlying health problems. They have weaker immune systems or conditions that would make them more vulnerable if they caught this virus.
We know that everyone is ready to come back together to worship. We are also! We have received information from Doctor Howard and the governor’s office that are guidelines we need to follow to start meeting face to face. We won’t list them all here, but here are some reasons that we aren’t able to start back:
1. It was proposed that churches might have 2 services, one for everyone under the age of 65 and one for those older.
a. Also, anyone with autoimmune diseases, people treated for cancer or similar treatments are to remain at home, period.
b. We feel that if we can’t all come to worship together, worship wouldn’t be the same and would possibly alienate some as they wouldn’t be “allowed” to come.
2. The guidelines tell us that people would have to be at the doors to “screen” everyone. We would have to take temperatures. Ask questions about health and send home anyone who felt sick.
3. After each service, the doors, pews, bathrooms, and any room used would have to be disinfected. We don’t have that amount of disinfectant and can’t get enough for that task. Disinfectant goes to the priority spots: Hospitals, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, etc.
4. Seating arrangements would be a nightmare and we won’t go into all the rules for that. Also, everyone would be touching the trays for the Lord’s Supper and for the contribution. Basically, everyone would have to wear gloves, or at minimum those serving would wear gloves and hand you your bread and cup.
5. We thought of having outdoor worship but even the chairs would have to be disinfected and weather could be a consideration.
There are so many other guidelines, too many to list here that we don’t believe could be facilitated.We are responsible for decisions like these and believe at this time that the safest course of action is to continue as we have been. We don’t like it anymore than you but we don’t want any of our most vulnerable members to contract this virus from someone who may not even know they have it. Please, be patient with us. We are going to continually monitor the situation and rules given to us. Periodically, we will look at the situation, and as soon as possible, we will start our worship service as we always have.
Please understand that we are doing the best we can with the information we have. Information from other congregations, except for a very few, are following the exact same procedures as we are. Consider this passage of scripture: Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” That is what we are doing. If one person gets this virus due to meeting for worship at this time, we have failed in our duty. We tend to think “I won’t get the virus” and you and I may be right about that. What if we caused another to get it?
We love every person and we are given responsibility to look out for everyone, not just a majority. Please be patient and understanding. We are trying to do the best we can for each person. As soon as the time comes, that we feel we can safely meet, we will start immediately. Thank you so much and God bless.
Offering During COVID-19, April 5, 2020
It was hoped that we could soon return to service and many could make their offering at that time, that is plainly not going to happen anytime soon. To ensure we are providing an opportunity for us to follow 1 Corinthians 16:1 - 4, please make your contribution by mail. We hope to have other means for our contribution as soon as possible.
Third Streamed Service, April 5, 2020
Chris delivered his third streamed service from his Facebook page this Sunday morning. He delivered another excellent message on the topic of "Faith and Works". Please let others know of this event and spread the Word!
COVID-19 UPDATE, April 1, 2020
The elders have decided to extend the suspension of services at the building for three more weeks (until April 26), at which time they will re-evaluated the situation. Please tune in to Chris' Facebook page every Sunday morning at 10:30 and 7:00 Wednesday evening to be a part of our virtual assembly!
Streamed Service was a Success!, March 22, 2020
Chris' streamed worship service over his Facebook page and had over 70 logins and may have had over 90 people who participated in the service. The success of this effort can allow us to meet virtually and in spirit, for now, even if we cannot meet physically.Jack's message of encouragement is certainly very helpful during these times. Please use this opportunity to continue to communicate and encourage each other as often as possible. Lord willing, we will soon be back together.
Continue to pray that this pestilence will soon pass over!
Chris' Sermon to be Streamed, March 18, 2020
Chris will be streaming his Sunday Morning sermon via his Facebook page.
Dealing with COVID-19, March 18, 2020
From the elders:
After much prayer and biblical consideration, the church elders have decided to suspend all services and activities at the Clarendon Church of Christ, through the month of March (tentatively resuming on April 5), due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). After two weeks, the elders will reevaluate the situation. The elders are concerned now, and it’s time to act. They are concerned about loving their neighbor and being a good neighbor as Jesus commanded.
This is NOT a decision about our faith or trust in God. It is a decision about common sense. Trusting God and wisdom (prudence) are not mutually exclusive.
If you’ll remember in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25 - 37), the priest and the Levite most likely had “religious duties” they felt obligated to do over helping their neighbor who was on the side of the road. The Good Samaritan, on the other hand, chose to love his neighbor and seek his best. We are choosing at this time to love our neighbor and seek his best. Our neighbors are those older people and others with weak immune systems that we greatly love. We can bless them by not spreading a virus.
So, here is the plan….
• No services or church activities for two weeks (through the month of March—including Mission Sunday which will be rescheduled) and then we will reevaluate.
• Chris will be live streaming his sermon each Sunday morning at 10:30 for everyone who would like to join him. Additionally, he will be using this time to make announcements and updates. We would like to encourage you to get communion supplies and take communion yourself or with your family at home. Communion bread is available if you have need.
• Facebook, email and text messaging will all be used to communicate with the church at large. Also during this time, an elder or minister will be contacting you, via text or phone call, to check on you.
• We will be checking on our elderly to see if they have any needs. We would be happy to get groceries, etc to keep them from going out and becoming exposed.
• We are praying that things will pass quickly so that we can be back together as a church family. In the meantime, via text and phone calls, check on each other. Check on your neighbors!
New Luncheon and Evening Service is a Hit, March 15, 2020
Since we have started the new luncheon that follows the morning service, we have averaged at or above 60 members staying for the luncheon and for the afternoon service.