We believe it’s time we get back to having in-person church services at Calvary Chapel of the White Mountains, beginning this Sunday, May 17, 2020.
Over the past several months, the leadership here at CCWM has been closely monitoring the many sources of information and recommendations from health professionals, government officials, scientists, etc., concerning the Covid-19 pandemic. After much prayer, consideration, and discussion, we believe it’s time for most of us to get back together.
If you’ve been paying attention to all that’s being said concerning re-opening the country, or churches specifically, you know there’s a myriad of opinions as to how, when, or if this should happen.
On one end of the spectrum are those who’re saying we should never have shut the country, or churches down in the first place, citing Sweden as their model. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who say we should not reopen the country at all, and especially the churches, ever. Just short of that extreme position are those that advocate not reopening until we have a vaccine to prevent, and therapeutics for treating covid-19, and when there is an ample supply of those for everyone in the US. Then there are those that say we should reopen, but take appropriate measures like hand sanitizer use, everyone wearing masks, social distancing, etc..
Even in those recommendations there are doctors and scientist that say wearing a mask gives a false sense of security, and in fact, causes other health issues. (Remember when it first became a pandemic, ALL the medical professionals were advising against the public wearing masks). And there are those that say six feet is not enough. I’ve heard eight, thirteen, even sixteen feet suggested. Some say the distance doesn’t matter, but if you walk into someone’s “sneeze / cough cloud” you could get infected.
The fact of the matter is, we could all get infected, even if you stay home.
We all have to eat. While at the grocery store the other day, I saw people handling items on shelves as people normally do, then put those items back on the shelves without buying them, just like everyone does. There was no store employee standing behind that person immediately wiping those cans and packages with disinfectant. Even worse, at the produce department I witnessed people doing what we all do, picking up a bunch of bananas, inspecting them, then putting them back and purchasing the bunch next to them. The same was true for the watermelons, and avocados. Still eating?
There are so many goofy scenarios I could point to that show how hard it is to be absolutely certain not to get infected with covid-19, but I’ll just share one other item.
A couple of weeks ago I was putting gas into my wife’s truck, and I was really paying attention to how a person could become infected in every-day routines. After getting out of the truck, I opened the gas door on the truck, got out my wallet, and removed the credit card. Pressing the appropriate keys on the keypad, I was then instructed to insert my card, I did. But wait, I just contaminated my card with whatever cooties were on the keypad! I wiped my card off with the hand sanitizer I keep in my pocket, put it back into my wallet, then I put my wallet back into my pocket. But did I infect the outside of the hand sanitizer container, or the inside of my pocket while getting it out? Then there was actually touching the dispenser nozzle. “Don’t touch anything till after I put it back on the pump!” Sanitize again, this time wiping off the bottle and letting a little juice get on the edge of my pocket, but was that enough? You get the picture.
We can’t live in fear. As believers, we’re to walk by faith. Faith and fear are mutually exclusive. That doesn’t mean we’re to be reckless, or to “tempt the Lord our God.” I always keep in mind what my first pastor used to say: “Do your best and commit the rest.” I think that’s good advice, and a good way to live. We’ll do our best when it comes to this pandemic and commit the rest to the Lord’s keeping.
With all that said, here are some initial guidelines we’ll try to adhere to which is in line with federal, state, and local guidelines.
- If you are in a high-risk category, we ask that you continue to attend our online services at this time.
- If you have any sickness or fever, we ask that you do not come to any live service and instead attend our online services. Please do so until at least 7 days pass after your symptoms go away.
- We will not be taking temperatures of people attending. Please make good decisions about whether you should attend or not. We are all responsible for our own health and need to be considerate of the health and welfare of others.
- We have modified seating to increase the row spacing to approximately 6 feet apart
- We encourage households to sit together and separate each household group or individual by appropriate physical distancing. Please be courteous to create the appropriate spacing between groups of other people. Ushers will help with this process by seating you.
- We are not requiring masks or gloves to be worn. They are optional for people to make their own decision on whether they want to wear them or not.
- We ask that no one shake hands or hug other people other than your own family. This is to walk in love toward one another as each of us may have different thresholds of what contact we believe is acceptable.
- All common areas will be sanitized before, in-between, and after each service.
- Hand sanitizer will be available and we encourage using it upon entering and exiting the building.
- Please try to bring your own Bible. If you need to use a loaner Bible, after the service please leave it on your seat
Sunday services will be 9:00AM & 10:45AM. Children & Youth services will be at the 10:45 service only.
Nursery care, due to the close contact needed, will not be available for the time being. Parents of infants are encouraged to use the cry room located in the back of the sanctuary.
There will be no Wednesday evening services at this time, but we expect to start them up again soon.
If you choose to attend an in-person service, you are responsible for your own health and accept the risk of being exposed to any number of illnesses. If you have any concerns about your health or risk, please attend our online services via our YouTube channel, or audio teachings on our website!
Looking forward to seeing all your smiling faces, even if some are masked!
In Christ’s love & service,
I love you
We’ve all heard those words said to us. Probably the first time was from our parents, then maybe from a close relative, and then eventually from a boyfriend or girlfriend. But, how often have those words been just that, only words? Some things like love, are as the old-timers used to say: “Better felt, than telt.” Bad grammar, but a good point. We feel loved, or feel unloved, based upon what people do to or for us. In fact, when you look at God’s definition of love in 1Cor.13:1-7, we see that love is a verb, not a noun. Love is an action word, it does or doesn’t do certain things. Give those verses a read, especially v.4-7, you’ll see what I mean.
In my previous letters I haven’t really addressed the main reason why the board and I have made the decisions we have concerning “obeying the government”, even though it seemed to some that we were disobeying God and were “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” The main reason for going along with the governor’s stay-at-home order was because of our love for you. I thought to myself, “Who in our fellowship would I consider it worth the risk if they died?” My answer was “Nobody!” There were too many things we didn’t understand about the virus, and too many doctors were all warning us that we needed to self-quarantine, for us to just ignore the warnings at the risk of those we care about.
Although I still have some concerns, we are planning on opening the church back up for in-person Sunday services on May the 17th. With that said, if you have any of the medical conditions that the doctors are saying would cause complications and increase your risk of death should you contract Covid-19, PLEASE, stay home. Some of those conditions are: diabetes, asthma, COPD, (really any kind of respiratory condition), obesity, heart disease, etc.. Please go to the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/guidance-list.html?Sort=Date%3A%3Adesc click on the tab: “people at higher risk” for more information. Again, let me say that if you are at a higher risk of complications or death from the virus, don’t feel any pressure to attend in-person services at this time. Later, after there are confirmed treatments for those who contract the disease, and/or a vaccine, then I believe it would be worth the risk. But until then, folks with pre-existing conditions should continue to be a part of our online services. We are looking at some ways that we can live-stream the services as well as continuing our recorded videos on our YouTube channel.
We should be able to let everyone know for sure this Sunday if we can meet together the 17th, so stay tuned for that.
When we do get together, we will not be requiring face masks, but you are welcome to wear one if you prefer. We will want you to use hand sanitizer when you enter and ask that you maintain at least 6 feet from anyone else. Along those lines, we will be asking you to wait to be seated by an usher in order to comply with the social distancing guidelines.
One other thing, and this is a biggee: If you plan on attending in-person Sunday the 17th of May (& we’ll probably do this each Sunday for a while), we ask that you respond to this email to let us know you’ll be attending. This way, we can ensure we have enough seating for everyone as we will probably be using several classrooms with TV monitors in them as “overflow rooms.” We also may need to do multiple services right away so we can accommodate everyone that wants to fellowship in-person.
Eventually, we’ll get back to normal (I pray). But for now, we’ll just have to make the best out of a bad situation. With everyone’s cooperation, that should be pretty easy.
God bless you all, and I look forward to seeing you – for real!