I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
As most of you have probably already heard, Governor Hutchinson gave recommendations to churches yesterday about re-opening their buildings for public worship. If you have not heard his announcement, you can listen to it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TH_iS6O0lHI
The remarks about worship services begin around the 6 minute mark. Briefly, the Governor’s recommendations that have the most impact on us are:

  • Maintain at least 6 feet between people except for family units
  • No handshakes, hugs, etc. 
  • No Sunday school classes, Children’s Church, or nursery
  • People 10 years old and up wear masks while inside buildings. Worship leaders do not have to wear masks but must remain at least 12 feet from attendees

The Oak Park Pandemic Response Team met last night to discuss the Governor’s recommendations and to plan for how we will implement them. 

  • Beginning this Sunday morning, we will return to having a public Sunday Morning worship service at 11:00. 
    • We will not have Sunday School classes, Children’s Church, or nursery. Parents, be listening for more information about online services for your children and youth.
    • We will continue to have our online worship services for those who cannot or prefer not to attend.
  • We will meet in the Davis Center so that we will have more room to keep distance between everyone. This will also keep us away from enclosed places like the hallways in the sanctuary building.
  • We will set up chairs to maintain 6 feet between everyone except for family members.
  • We encourage everyone 10 years old and up to wear a mask while they are inside the buildings. Remember, the masks are not primarily for your protection; they are for the protection of others around you. We understand that some people difficulties with wearing masks. If you do, please keep a little extra distance between yourself and others who are not in your family.
  • We ask you to be aware of places that can become over-crowded, primarily doorways entering and leaving the buildings and restrooms. Be patient and let those ahead of you move through first.
  • Bulletins will be placed so that you can pick one up when you enter the building. We will not have anyone handing out bulletins.
  • Offering plates will be placed at the entrances and exits so that you can leave your tithes and offerings. We will not pass offering plates during the service.

We are excited about being able to worship with our church family and we know that you are as well. At the same time, we also realize some of you should continue to worship at home, at least for a few more weeks. 

  • If you have health issues, you should remain at home for the time being. 
  • If you have recently had a fever or other symptoms of Covid-19, or you have had contact recently with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, you should stay at home.
  • If you are nervous about being in a large group setting at this time, there is nothing wrong with you worshiping from home.

This has been an highly unusual experience for all of us. Just remember, that although we have never been down this road before, I Lord was well aware of it all long before we began the journey. And He has graciously provided for us every step of the way.
I love you all and I am so honored to be called your pastor.
Bro. Gary

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