May 14, 2020
Hello church family,
There is discussion of reopening across the country, and while NYC / Long Island are likely weeks away, we wanted to share with you some of our thoughts.
First, please know that we will be slow to reopen. With the ability to broadcast Sunday services and over 40 active online communities, we see no reason to rush the process and put people at risk.
Second, we will follow the highest standards set forth by the CDC and local public health officials. We will also lean on the consultation of local medical personnel from SRC. We have already assembled a medical task force comprised of healthcare workers from each of our campuses to advise us, moving forward. Our first meeting is this Friday night.
Third, you should know that when we reopen, we will be re-emphasizing small group communities. I love gathering on Sundays and believe worshipping together is incredibly important. But among the lessons I am learning through our time of social distancing are the indispensability of being in close relationship with others, and how Christian community truly fosters discipleship and mission. When we re-launch, we will do so with a renewed focus on developing small group leaders and organizing our large church into small group communities.
Fourth, you should know we plan to reopen recently sanitized and improved facilities. Our buildings are vacant for the first time in decades, affording us a unique opportunity to do some deep cleaning and address some of the much-needed improvements that have been desired for years (especially at our Manhasset campus). Now is the time to do the work, which will not only update our facilities but make our worship spaces more hygienic when we reopen. In order to cut costs, we are hoping you will join in to help. Along with professionals, we are inviting you (or your student who is home from school) to volunteer and help us address these facility needs. You can sign up to volunteer HERE.
Lastly, you should know that when we reopen, our worship gatherings will likely be different for a while. We will make every effort to limit crowding and congestion in order to minimize risk of future spread. Here are some of the temporary measures we are discussing. Please note, this list is not exhaustive or final.
- We may add weekend services to increase opportunities to attend and limit building capacity at any one service.
We may remove seats from our sanctuaries and spread out seating so attendees have 6 feet of space between each other.
We may ask church members to select a service to attend and register in advance.
We may utilize additional entrances and exits to help limit congestion.
We may add hand sanitizing stations, remove all shared food, eliminate the greeting time, receive offering in boxes rather than passing a plate, and practicing communion differently.
Since our kids don’t know how to practice social distancing, we may also temporarily suspend Children’s Ministry and have family services for a while.
We understand even with these steps many people will not feel comfortable attending services. That’s ok! We will continue to utilize technology to stream services online so those who are uneasy attending or especially at-risk, can worship with us remotely.
One last thing. With all this talk of reopening, let us remember that we have never closed. We may not have been able to gather publicly, but the church of Jesus Christ has been advancing in the midst of this pandemic. God is accomplishing his purposes and He is refining His people through this process. I hope that individually and collectively, God is using this time to make us look more like Him - in our homes, in our workplaces, in our communities.
Proud to be serving with you!