New Precautions for Health at Hope Church
Dear Hope Church Family,
Greetings! I hope this finds you well. With the rising concern over the health of our community, we thought it would be important to reach out to you with communication from your church, both with information and encouragement.
First, some information. We want to assure you that we are taking every step to protect the health of our community. Here are some of the ways we are doing this:
- We have changed our communion practices. Rather than all taking your bread from the squares in a common tray- we’ll have the squares placed individually in a small cup so that you can grab your bread with little risk of cross-contamination.
- During our “Passing of the Peace” we’re suspending our normal handshakes and hugs. For the time being, we’ll pass the Peace of Christ to our brothers and sisters with an elbow bump or just the verbal greeting.
- Rather than passing the offering plates, we’ll position them at the back of the sanctuary and invite people to place their offering in the plate either before or after the service.
- We encourage everyone to monitor your own health, and to refrain from church activities if you have symptoms of illness. Also remember that your personal care and hygiene not only impacts you but also your church community. Please be vigilant as a way to love your neighbors, particularly the elderly among us.
- For the next few weeks we’ll suspend our Sunday school. This will allow our elderly Sunday school helpers to avoid the close proximity that our classrooms require.
- All church activities are open to the possibility of cancellation except Sunday morning worship. We’re convinced that it is in the hour of hardship that a culture most needs the comfort and stability that churches provide. That being said, we do not want to bind your conscience if you feel you cannot attend.
- To our seniors and those with underlying health conditions: if it comes to the point where you feel uncomfortable attending worship, Pastor Scott and an elder can come visit you to share a devotion and serve you communion.
With all that said, I would like to offer a personal word of encouragement. Thoughtful precautions are good and helpful, but panic and fear are not. We serve a risen and reigning Savior who is completely in control, and that should be evident in the way we respond to a cultural crisis. It was our Christian brothers and sisters in China who led the way during the initial outbreak of this virus. They testified to the surety of their hope by loving, serving, and above all, not despairing. Confidence in the face of panic has always been a mark of God's people, and let it be true of us at Hope church as well. Besides, as our Lord himself reminds us, our fear accomplishes absolutely nothing: "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to their life?"
Let us pray for all those impacted and for the sustained health of our community, but as we pray, let us do so with confidence that God is sovereign and at work.
Confident in Christ,
Pastor Scott and the Hope Church Session