This coming Sunday will mark the tenth week since we’ve met together as a church family on the Lord’s Day. I feel sure that most of us had no idea when this began that we would be apart for so long. But now, with the first of North Carolina’s reopening phases already underway, and the prospect of more to come, we have a lot to think and pray about.
Much like our nation as a whole, we find ourselves necessarily involved in a balancing act. Our leaders are fighting a deadly virus on one front, while trying to maintain a viable economy on another. As for our church, our recent priority has been the health and safety of our membership, though we long to be in one another’s company in worship for all the reasons our Lord created us for life together.
Moving forward, this balancing act will require wisdom, along with a good measure of patience. We will need wisdom to do the right things and patience to carry them out at the right time.
In an effort to be ready to act when the time comes, your church’s leadership has been reviewing detailed and thoughtful plans for reopening, both from governing bodies as well as other likeminded churches and organizations, for the purpose of developing a plan that fits our needs.
As of this writing, North Carolina is under the first phase of Governor Cooper’s plan to reopen the state’s economy. Phase One, which went into effect Friday, May 8, provided little to no actionable changes to our current situation at Wake Chapel. Phase Two, however, may allow us the flexibility for increased attendance in our morning worship service, but how much flexibility has yet to be specified.
Our plans for the short term
We will continue to stream our worship services each Sunday morning, live in real time from our sanctuary, with a simplified order of worship, as you’ve been used to for the past nine weeks. We will also continue to encourage and support our Sunday school classes that are meeting over Zoom connections during our Sunday school hour, as well as meet together over Zoom for Bible study on Wednesday evenings. These methods for meeting together have been working, and they have been working remarkably well. Your attendance continues to be strong. Your faithfulness is evident.
When guidance from our state allows for gatherings of increased numbers, we will evaluate our capacity to accommodate a larger attendance, but with significant focus on an informed, common-sense process for health, safety, and the best interests of all involved.
As subsequent phases of reopening are rolled out from the Capitol, our goal is to serve more and more in-person attendance (as safety allows) while at the same time not diminishing the quality or the community of our livestream and Sunday school classes as they continue to gather electronically.
At this point, we feel it wise to present these thoughts at a summary level, given that so much is subject, even expected, to change over the coming weeks.
Our sincere hope and prayer is to be able to gather again as soon as possible, but with an understanding of our responsibility to love each other enough to consider the well being of someone else before ourselves.
...for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.– James 1:3-5