April 30, 2020
Dear Redeemer Friends and Family:
I am delighted to share with you that the session has approved a plan to resume worship services on Sunday, May 10. This plan takes into account all current guidelines from the Governor, and has been vetted by members of the medical and scientific community who worship at Redeemer. We believe it provides us with the best and safest opportunity to return to in-person worship.
In order to adhere to current guidelines, we have made a number of adjustments that we hope will provide enough space for us to worship together without compromising the health of our members or our broader community. First, we have added a third service on Sunday morning. The service times will be 8:30, 10:00, and 11:30. Each service will be approximately one hour in length. Secondly, we are capping attendance at each service to 120 people (this is just under 40% of our capacity). In order to comfortably accommodate everyone at each service, every other row will be taped off, and we will require two empty seats between people who are not members of the same household.
But in order to do this well, we need your help! Each week, we will ask you to let us know which service you plan to attend by an online RSVP system. More information about this process will be made available next week. Please help us ensure that we have enough space for everyone by RSVP’ing every week during these extraordinary times.
We also recognize you may not feel comfortable attending a worship service, yet. That’s OK. We understand that during these unusual times, we need to make decisions that are best for each of our own unique circumstances. To better serve those of you who do not feel you can return to in-person worship, we will be offering a livestream of the 8:30 a.m. service. You can join us for that service in the comfort of your own home, or tune in to a recording of the service that will remain on the church’s website for later viewing.
Furthermore, not everyone should plan to attend worship on May 10. If you are a member of an at-risk category—65 or older, especially those with chronic lung disease; moderate to severe asthma; chronic heart disease; severe obesity; diabetes; chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis; liver disease; or weakened immune system—you should consider staying home and joining us via livestream (families with very young children might also want to consider this option). If you have had any known contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please do not come to worship until 14 days after exposure. Anyone who is running a fever, cough, or other flu-like symptoms should also stay home. If you develop any of these symptoms after attending worship in the coming weeks, please immediately notify the church staff.
Unfortunately, the current guidelines will not allow us to resume all aspects or programs we typically offer on Sunday mornings. We will not resume School of Discipleship, the nursery will NOT be staffed, the playground will be closed, and we will temporarily suspend all food and beverage service. However, nursing mothers may make use of the nursery cry room where they will still be able to listen to the service.
The session encourages you to continue practicing the physical distancing that has become commonplace in other areas of our lives. In addition to arriving early and taking your seat in the sanctuary, we urge you to leave promptly and maintain at least six feet of distance between you and anyone outside of your household.
The session hopes that these measures are temporary. As circumstances change, we will regularly review this plan in consultation with the medical professionals at our church. We will return to a more normal version of our worship as soon as possible.
Finally, I want to thank all of you for your patience, support, and steadfastness you have demonstrated to the body of Christ during these difficult times. Witnessing the many ways in which Redeemer has come together as a community—transitioning to video small groups, serving our neighbors through volunteer efforts, and staying in touch with our church family—has been a great encouragement to me. It has been a privilege to serve God alongside each of you, to hear your testimonies of how God continues to work in your lives, and to serve as your pastor. Please continue to pray for us as we make difficult decisions that impact our life together. Please continue to support the work and worship of the church to the best of your ability, and, of course, let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
We look forward to seeing you again next Sunday.