Guidelines for Re-Gathering as a Church

Guidelines for Re-Gathering as a Church

Brothers and Sisters:

We plan to gather tomorrow morning at Stilwell at 10:00am for a Lord’s Day worship service. We won’t be live-streaming the service, but Lord willing, I hope to record it and post it online later in the day. I plan to continue to lead the Sunday evening services and Wednesday night Bible studies via Zoom. For the time being we will not be restarting Core Seminars on Sunday morning.

West Des Moines Schools has not opened their building to outside groups yet, but they have given us permission to gather outside in the outer part of the parking lot. It will be different, but I’m excited to gather the church together again!

First, some pragmatics/expectations:

  1. Please bring a lawn chair, or blanket you can sit on. We plan to be in the parking lot.
  2. Consider a sun hat, umbrella, sunscreen, sunglasses, a fan, and please dress accordingly. Right now the forecast says a high of 93 degrees (it will probably be around 80 degrees at 10am), and 0% chance of precipitation.
  3. I plan to keep the service under one hour.
  4. I plan to bring paper bulletins, but I will also post the songs on the website.
  5. We have disposable face masks, hand sanitizer and Clorox disinfectant wipes that you may use if necessary.
  6. This week we won’t have any amplification, but I will speak loudly.
  7. We will not be celebrating the Lord’s Supper tomorrow.
  8. This week people will not be able to stay in their car and be able to hear. In the future if we are able to use amplification may be able to incorporate this as an option.

Second, I recommend that we serve another by following the below guidelines. In the future when we are able to meet inside we will likely have additional guidelines, but these suffice for gathering outside:

First, the CDC has stated that we can be with others if: (1) you have gone 3 days without a fever, (2) you do not have the below symptoms, and (3) it has been 10 days since these symptoms appeared. Please stay home if any of these symptoms apply to you or someone with whom you’ve been in contact.

Symptoms: Fever or chills, Cough, Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, Fatigue, Muscle or body aches, Headache, New loss of taste or smell, Sore throat, Congestion or runny nose, Nausea or vomiting, Diarrhea.

Second, please consider staying home if you are at a high risk: (1) over the age of 65, (2) you have the below underlying medical conditions. 

Medical Conditions: Chronic lung disease or severe asthma, a serious heart condition, immunocompromised, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and liver disease. 

Third, West Des Moines Schools has asked that we practice what has come to be called “social distancing”: (1) please stay at least 6 feet from others (2 arms’ lengths), (2) please avoid physical contact, and (3) please consider wearing a face-mask as the CDC says, “Your cloth face covering may protect them. Their cloth face covering may protect you.” 

Fourth, you all have already exemplified this through this season, but please continue to be gracious toward one another. Please know that within our congregation, we have members who are comfortable to have close contact with others, and we have others who are exercising a high degree of caution. If you are comfortable being near others, please practice “social distancing” at Stilwell both to serve one another and to promote our care and witness to the watching community.

Philippians 2:1-4, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Third, here are a few things you will see me doing: 

  1. I will have a face-mask around my neck while leading the service (praying, singing, preaching), but I plan to wear it before and after the service. 
  2. I plan to keep 6 feet away from others and not to be shaking hands. 
  3. We still have family recovering from asthma so my family will not be with me.

I look forward to worshiping the Lord with you tomorrow.

Your pastor,