Tom: Greetings Church from your Leadership Board! I am Tom Snyder. I serve as your Lay Leader and current chair of the Leadership Board. Pastor Mark and I are here to update you regarding the question on everyone’s mind, “when can we start using our church campus again?” We have a plan with two dates that we want to tell you about today. First, let me say thank you to all of you. You have affirmed that the essence of “doing church” is so much more than what takes place inside a building. But we also recognize that many miss the “gathering together” aspect of small groups and corporate worship. Trust me, so do we. To help us develop our plan, we formed a Health and Welfare Task Force Team made up of people with medical backgrounds and organizational backgrounds from both inside and outside the Leadership Board.
Mark: We’ve already moved intentionally through two layers of a multi-layered plan as we went from complete shutdown to essential services operation mode. The overarching guiding principle to all the layers has been – and will continue to be – to protect the health and welfare of our staff, our congregation, and our community. That comes first. Yes, we’ve been conservative in our approach because we’ve been concerned about you. “Do no harm” is still the first general rule of our church. But today, we’re ready to tell you the dates we are targeting for small group meetings and in-building worship.
Tom: Following the guidance of the Cabinet of the North Georgia Conference (and in accordance with our understanding of all governing agencies,) our plan is to move into our small group meeting layer on June 22. Church, that’s just 3 weeks away! Our starting plan will allow no more than 50 people in the building at once in a controlled manner. There will be a process in place for scheduling meetings along with requirements that must be followed by all who physically attend to minimize the risk of Covid-19.
Mark: We’ve been in conversation with several churches in our area and our conference resources as we work through this uncharted time. We know you’re entrusting us to do this well. If you help us maintain full compliance with our safety protocols during the small group layer, we’ll target to begin worshipping in the building August 9th. But please hear the caveat – like all things Covid-19 related, we may need to adjust these dates as events unfold in our local community.
Tom: You will be able to see the detailed guidelines and plans for the June 22nd small group layer on our website. Come back to that place on our website often for updates as we navigate the inevitable safety protocol changes together. Again, thank you for your faithfulness as we truly remain together while we are apart. You have made it possible to be the church we are called to be outside the walls and in the community. May God continue to bless you – and though you – bless all the world. Now let us worship together in this online community with joy.