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Church Regathering Update

Dr. Paul Matthews, Senior Pastor

As I write this I feel like many of you have the same question we have been wrestling with for many days now: When will we regather as a church and reopen our church facilities? The answer is “not this Sunday but May 31st.” Sunday, May 31st, is our target date. If we need to make an adjustment in the date, we will.

I know many of you may be thinking, “It’s been too long already,” and I would totally agree with you. I am ready right now to see your faces and, of course, not preach to an empty building. But as strongly as we all feel about regathering, we must err on the side of caution. Your pastoral staff and deacons have been praying about this and discussing it for many days and feel that we must do everything possible to protect our most vulnerable, be wise in the way we go forward, and provide the best worship experience for our people as well as for guests when the doors open. Being cautious is not a decision based on fear but hopefully based on wisdom and love.

So even though we won’t gather this Sunday, we know it will be soon, and we want it to be as meaningful an experience for as many of our people as possible in this first phase of our return.

Here is what you can expect on May 31st:

- Online worship at home will continue.
        Our most vulnerable people should worship at home until the Covid-19 threat diminishes.

- We will gather in a safe, clean building when we return.

- We will open for two morning services at 9am and 10:30am with no in-person Sunday School.
         Services will be shorter to allow ample time for cleaning between services.

- To maintain ample social distancing, service capacity will be more limited than in the past.
        Plans have been formulated for any overflow we may have.

- As strange as it may seem, we will greet one another with a smile and a wave instead of shaking hands and hugging.
        Hand-shaking and hugging will be kindly and gently refused.
         Remember, we want our guests to feel totally comfortable about being with us!

- When we regather for worship, we will enter through the main lobby only.

- We will not have childcare or children’s activities in this first phase of regathering.

- As much as we love coffee and food, we will not serve food or drink.

- Wearing masks is welcomed but not required.

- We will truly be “Jubilant” when we get to gather to worship our living Lord!

I realize this list might raise many questions, but you’ll receive information in much greater detail as the date approaches. Naturally, in a church our size there are a variety of viewpoints regarding regathering. This is one of the things that makes us Jubilee. Please continue to pray, worship, serve, and minister as God leads. I’ll close this update with one of the passages I read this morning in my devotional time.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now… God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:3-5,8)