Coronavirus Update #4

Our plan for resuming in-person worship gatherings

Heartland family,
We are living in unprecedented times and facing things we’ve never had to face before. It’s not easy for any of us to navigate through this personally. It’s even harder to navigate through this corporately as a church family. But we must! And we must do it with love, kindness and grace.

I want to update you about how we are responding to our governor’s “Back on Track” plan. As you know, for the past couple of months our gatherings have been online-only. We’ve all learned a lot about how to meaningfully have prayer, Bible studies, community groups and worship services online. We do plan on continuing (at least for a season) many of our online gatherings. In addition, beginning this Sunday, May 10, we will start having in-person worship gatherings again. We are making the following temporary adjustments to our service and sanctuary for those who wish to gather in-person for worship.

Physical Distancing – We ask that everyone adheres to the distancing guidelines set by the CDC and our governor. That includes ensuring that there is 6 feet between individuals or family units of the same households during services. This means that we are asking you not to hug, shake hands, lay hands on or touch another person who’s not in your household. Following these physical guidelines is one of the ways we can lovingly show care and concern for the health of others.

Seating – We are making adjustments to the Sanctuary seating to allow appropriate distancing between people. There will be spaces available for families to sit together.

Communion – We are following the guidelines given to us by our Diocese in regards to the distribution of Communion. A full explanation of how we are going to receive communion will be announced during our service on Sunday, May 10. The announcement will also include a plan for people worshipping with us through our live stream to receive communion as well. (Please note, we will not be receiving Communion on May 10, but will be planning to do so on May 17.)

Nursery – Our nursery will not be staffed, but will be available as a “Cry Room” for any parent with an infant needing this option. We will have the service playing live on the TV.

Children’s Ministry – Instead of being dismissed to their classes, we will have children stay with their parents for the whole service. We have special things planned specifically for the children during the service that they’re going to love!

Streaming – For those who wish to worship from home, we will continue to stream our service on Facebook.

Additional Adjustments – We will not be handing out bulletins or serving coffee. We will make sure there’s plenty of hand sanitizer stations available. And we have ensured that our building has been properly sanitized.

Health Precautions – If you are sick, have been in recent contact with someone who is sick or are at high risk due to age or underlying medical conditions, we ask that you worship with us at home through our live stream. Please use hand sanitizer. In accordance with our Governor’s plan, facemasks are recommended, but not required.

I know that within our church family, there is a wide range of personal convictions about COVID-19 and what’s happening in our world. There is also a wide range of comfortability levels regarding gathering together in groups. And that’s ok! If you find yourself in a conversation with someone who has a different opinion, conviction or comfort level about this pandemic, please extend grace and kindness to one another. We need to understand that everybody is hurting in different ways and in need of healing. For some, that means it’s best for them to stay hunkered down and worship from home. For others, that means it’s best for them to gather safely in the Sanctuary. I encourage you to make the best decision you can for you and your family; not only for your physical health but also your emotional and spiritual health.

Whether you worship with us at home or gather in-person, I want you to know that you are loved! And it’s our love for God and one another that unites us as a Church family. Even though we can’t always be together, we’re all in this together! Let’s continue to stand on His promises, love each other deeply, show kindness and grace to one another and live in His supernatural peace.

Pastor Dave