April 23, 2020
As the elders of Christ Church, we want to take the opportunity to share some thinking with you as we continue to navigate the waters of the COVID crisis.
We understand that there are different thoughts, fears, opinions, and anxieties about living in a COVID world. We understand, because your session reflects these differences as well.
Despite our differences we have unanimously endorsed the following outline, as we have prayerfully considered what following Jesus in the days to come might look like. We have prayerfully sought the Scriptures as well for principled guidance. Below are some of the principles that we have considered (in no particular order):
Care - We are called to bear one another’s burdens, especially those in the household of faith. (Galatians. 6:2, 9-10)
Growth - We are invited to grow in our relationship with the Lord, in all seasons, prosperous and challenging. (Psalm 1:3,1 Peter 1:6–7, 2 Peter 1:3-11)
Worship — At all times, as a gathered body, as smaller groups and as individuals, we have been created to sing the praises of our great God. (Psalm 100, 150)
Welcome — As we glorify God we continue to hold out the warm invitation of the Gospel. (Matthew 5:14-16)
Citizenship - One of the ways that we practice Godliness and show forth our Christian testimony is by treating our government officials with respect. (Romans 13:1–2, I Peter 2:13-17)
Perhaps the idea of Love for others as expressed in Galatians 5:13–14 sums it up best: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (see also I Corinthians 13:1-13)
With the above principles as our grid, the session has sought to set some church parameters to the proposed governmental phasing. Working with the categories that Federal COVID response team laid out, our thought is to proceed as follows when Governor Whitmer triggers the various phases. Of course, as we are learning, we hold all these things loosely as plans are apt to change.
Government re-entry would allow groups of 10 or less to gather continuing to use social distancing. Due to the logistics of managing these smaller groups and the difficulty in maintaining a safe environment, the Session has chosen not to have Christ Church sponsored events in this phase. We are delighted to have individuals groups begin to appropriately socialize from our body, but that would take place outside the facility. We would continue to provide Home Worship Guides along with the other resources we have been utilizing during our stay home/stay safe phase (i.e. - podcasts, 12:07 Facebook prayer, children’s resources, etc…). Groups would be encouraged to continue connecting via electronic means for worship, hangouts, meetings, etc…
Government re-entry would allow groups of 50 or less to gather continuing to use social distancing. The Session’s desire would be to begin by planning and implementing worship services in our parking lot and not inside the facility. Once again we are concerned to provide a safe environment and are mindful of logistical challenges of doing so. It would also be appropriate at this point to have larger small groups (20+) of people gather in homes for worship, perhaps assisted by elders or pastors. As Phase Two could be several months away, we will certainly monitor the situation and adjust accordingly. Recognizing that not all either can or should venture out even if restrictions are lifted, we will continue to provide Home Worship Guides along with the other resources we have been utilizing during our stay home/stay safe phase (see above).
Government re-entry allows for even more individuals to gather as restrictions are removed. At this time the Session would leap for joy to plan and implement worship services inside the building. Specifics yet to be determined.
We are very grateful to our staff that continues to work and put flesh on these bones for us week by week. We are also very grateful for your input, sacrifices, willing help and prayers as we continue forward together. We recognize that not all will see things exactly as we have laid them out. It is one of the blessings of having a diverse church, we get to grow as we see things from another ’s perspective. But the most important perspective is the perspective that we get from the One by whom all things are held together (Colossians 1:17); He tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us, we are secure in Him (Hebrews 13:5,6).
Grace and Peace
Christ Church Session