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Pastoral Update | October 1, 2020 (COVID)

The elders are continuing to navigate this difficult time in our community, striving to determine what is right, safe, and wise. Relative to this pandemic, we have discovered that very little is black and white. As we journey through every changing shade of gray, our elders wanted to take a moment to clarify our position in order to avoid any confusion and alleviate any concerns.

Currently, the authorities of our state are requiring masks at all indoor public gatherings. They are also required at all outdoor public gatherings where individuals cannot physically distance themselves. In a recent public address, the Governor stated that anyone refusing to wear a mask in these spaces can be charged with a misdemeanor. It was also made clear that any enforcement of this order is to be done at the discretion of the local authorities.

Out of respect for our divinely instituted authorities and as a witness to our neighbors, our church is requiring masks at our public gatherings. Until the mandate is lifted for public gatherings such as ours, our leadership, staff, and volunteers will be wearing masks at our services. We hope that others will follow our example. Even as we share our intentions for our worship gatherings, we also want to stress that we do not believe it is our responsibility to enforce this mandate. We are asking those who gather with us to wear masks, we are setting an example, but we are not policing those who attend.

The elders do not desire to create tension between our leadership and our membership by binding consciences unnecessarily. This is why we are not commanding our membership one way or another. We are hopeful that everyone will be able to gather without fear and with a clear conscience. Anyone who does choose to gather, therefore, must be prepared to take personal responsibility for their own decisions and to give an account before God and men.

Knowing that, we want to encourage everyone to be slow to judge, and quick to love, those who make different decisions than you do. In order to provide a safe environment for the most vulnerable and to honor the consciences of everyone, we will require AND enforce mask wearing during our first service. In other words, no one will be allowed in the building without a mask for our 8:15am service.

Please pray for the elders as we navigate through unprecedented times. Our desire is think biblically about this situation and equip our members to think biblically. To that end, we encourage you to read this article by Keith Mathison, who is a Systematic Theology professor at Reformation Bible College. We believe he provides a commendable example among many.
Lastly, continue to pray that God will use this pandemic to bring many people to faith in Christ. In addition, pray that God would preserve the unity of our church despite the diversity of opinions on how to respond to these restrictions. And finally, pray with us for the elimination of this virus.