After taking the month of April to learn and prepare, we returned to public worship on May 3. Forty-eight gathered (about half our pre-COVID-19 attendance) for our thirty minute service. We followed health official guidelines. Family groups sat together (six feet apart from the others), every other row of pews was closed, and we all wore masks.
We are taking special care with cleaning but that only lasts as long as it takes for the next person to touch a surface. The best way to ensure personal safety is to wear masks (to prevent the transfer of vapors that carry viruses), don't touch your face (to prevent transfer of viruses you might have picked up from a surface), wash your hands (or sanitize) every time you touch a surface (in case you forget not to touch your face.) Gloves are a good idea, too.
Some people are not yet ready to return to church. The people who returned first tended to be essential workers and those who are OK going to Walmart, etc. It's OK not to be ready. People will return when they feel comfortable. That may take a while for some.
The church has over 2000 years of experience with pandemics, most much worse than this. The church returned to the assembly each time. Baptist Temple will survive this, again.
A more recent experience is 9/11. Remember what flying was like before? We came to accept the new restrictions as part of our lives. I don't know how things will look next May but I know we will adapt. Remember when we didn't wear seat belts?
In the meantime, we are still a church that is functioning effectively in the face of this great challenge. Our phone angels are making sure our people are not forgotten. We are becoming more focused on outreach as our visiting angels are reaching out to folks in our community who are in need. Our admin staff is busier than ever navigating the new spiritual and legal challenges. Our early learning center staff have become heroic in their efforts to care for the children of other essential workers.
Bible study is still being conducted via conference calls but we are prayerfully waiting to discern the best scenario for regathering in person. Perhaps, in the future, we will do both.
Another change is that VBS will not happen in the traditional summer way. We are considering making it part of a fall relaunch of Sunday school. There are better days ahead.
Join us, when you're ready, at 10:55 on Sundays.