For those of us in Maryland the Governor has just held a press conference discussing the wrong direction our state is going in the number of people who have COVID but also the number of those that are being hospitalized. We have been blessed that we have experienced less serious situations here than in other places and it makes it easier for us to dismiss or diminish the seriousness of the situation. Yet, as your pastor I want to keep you safe while allowing us to be in community. It is a fine line and I understand along the way you might be frustrated with the decisions that are made. Please know I spend lots of time looking over data, and lots of time being in prayer before any decision is made. So here is the most current update and actions that we are taking:
We will continue to have services at the church. I do this because I know that we live in an area where internet access is limited. I also know some people have no other support system besides those that are part of their church community. At the same time, the state health department is issuing a public advisory warning against gatherings of more than 25 people. So we will have in person worship for those that can not get onto Facebook or YouTube to watch our live-stream service. I am strongly asking those that have good internet and/or a good support system to think about using our online option for the next couple of weeks.
When we reach the safe capacity in the sanctuary we will invite people to go downstairs to watch at our secondary location in Fellowship Hall. We hope to be able to accommodate safely all people who need to be in the church for worship because of lack of internet access or need to have some community interaction.
Jimmy Glass joined the Saints triumphant and services are planned for him this Friday at Tom's Creek. The obituary stated that the service was for family only but they wanted the church family to be able to be a part of the services. Jimmy was a beloved member of church family and has made a lasting impact upon our church. We will be live-streaming the service on Facebook and YouTube and Fellowship Hall will be open to church members to be in the church to celebrate his life and to watch the service be live-streamed. Once again, please know given the current guidance from the Governor it is preferred that you take part in the service from home in order to keep yourself safe. Please call and send cards and messages of love to the entire family.
I announced Sunday in worship that the Sunday after Thanksgiving we will have online only worship. The reason I made this decision is that people might become exposed to COVID during Thanksgiving gatherings and they will not yet have any symptoms but will be contagious if they came to worship. We have been blessed to have more in person worship services available than most other churches so this is just a precaution to protect our church community. On this Sunday, if you really feel you need to be in God's house, the doors will be open and our amazing tech team and I will be there live-streaming the service. While the doors will be open I would really like to limit the number of people so that those that are present will have lots and lots of social distance space to keep all safe and healthy.
These are difficult times and I am proud of our community and they way we have acted as we have navigated these waters. We will make it through this current uptick in COVID cases and we will come out on the other side stronger. Many are starting to realize the real value of being able to worship together at church, something that many of us have taken for granted. And oh the day when all may come and we may lift our voices in loud and thunderous praise to God. Until then let us be safe.