Covid 19 Update – May 2021
We began this year believing that it was going to be a long, slow road to return to “normalcy”. One day at a time, one step at a time has been our theme. As much as we’d like the pandemic to be over and gone, it is not. Cases and hospitalizations in our region are rising again. Many places in our world are still being devastated, like Brazil and India. Let’s continue to pray for all who are affected and hurting.
The vaccines appear to be highly effective, but not enough have yet been vaccinated, and perhaps not enough will to reach so called “herd immunity”. So we’re still waiting. And waiting is hard.
Please be assured that no decisions we’re making are flippant or ignorant. The elders and the ministry team have spent considerable hours wrestling, praying, and often debating. We met May 1st for 2 hours. We have an amazing team: Phil L. (elder), Jon Z. (elder), Tommy W. (ministry staff), Jenna H. (ministry staff), Lori L., Dan D., Daniel D., Lauren D., Kathryn C., Stephanie B. I appreciate their hearts, their wisdom, their love, and the countless hours of service they continue to give. I hope you do as well and will let them know.
While we debate some things, we are still unified around 2 things:
1. Care for our entire community. We don’t have all the answers, but we believe thinking of others first and how to serve all peoples and care for them is where we begin, and end.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
We strive to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. And we want to be good witnesses in our community. So we continue to meet together at Field Church. And it has not gone unnoticed.
2. We’ve attempted to follow the CDC and governor’s guidelines to the best of our ability. Not ignoring or defying or looking for “loopholes”, even when we don’t agree. And we always ask the question, is there more we should do to show care for all peoples?
Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
Regardless of where we believe our governor (and governing authorities) has been right or wrong, we don’t believe we’ve been asked to do anything that denies our allegiance to Christ as Lord, or hinders us from proclaiming the gospel.
So we’ve remained outdoors through the winter and worn masks and socially distanced and changed practices because our governor has urged everyone that this is the safest way to gather. And we certainly weren’t going to keep from gathering!
Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Recently the CDC loosened the guidelines on mask-wearing outdoors for those who are fully vaccinated. (2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine) Our governor added his support. For those who are fully vaccinated, masks outdoors are optional if you can maintain social distance. We will follow this guideline. If you are fully vaccinated and you can socially distance while outside gathering with us, mask-wearing is optional.
I encourage us all to think about others regardless of guidelines. Masks have never been about the one wearing them primarily, but about care for others. Remember that there are many who are not vaccinated and want to be, including many youth and kids.
Please recognize the incredibly difficult challenge of navigating these decisions, knowing that whatever is decided will upset some, perhaps many. Also know that we long for the pandemic to be over. We do not long to “go back to normal”, but to move forward into a whole new season of God’s leading and blessing. You do not have to agree with the decisions, but we hope you will honor and respect them, and one another. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
Love and grace and peace to all.
Pastor Ben (on behalf of elders and ministry team)