COVID 19 Response, May 13, 2020

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Washington State businesses and other gatherings are currently being “Phased-in.” This means that we are not quite able to resume our regular schedule of meetings yet. I met in a video conference with Dr. Mark Larson, physician for the Kittitas County Health Department, on Friday, May 8, to discuss our county’s situation regarding the reopening of churches. He reported that our county requested a variance from the state phases (to move ahead one phase), but that was put on hold when an outbreak of COVID-19 was discovered among workers at Twin City Foods. On Saturday, May 9, the Church Council spent about two hours talking over the results of that conversation. Here they are:


WHAT WE ARE DOING RIGHT NOW


  1. All meetings of the church in our facilities at present are still suspended. Our Ministry Assistant is working office hours from 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday-Friday. The offices will not be open, however, for drop in visits. If you need to contact us, please call the office, either during these hours or to leave a message for Lacey. Our ministry staff—myself, Pastor Jeremy, and Stacia Harmsen—are working partly from home and partly from our separate office/study spaces in the church building.
  2. We are continuing to offer live-streaming access to our worship services on our website. We plan to continue this even after we begin offering services again in our facilities. For those without Internet access, we are seeking to keep in contact through mail and telephone. The deacons have been a great help in this.
  3. We are mailing out my message script for the coming Sunday’s live-streamed worship service to all who request it. Those who have been participating in the Adult Bible Study groups can also spend some time doing the Bible study in the study guide. If you need a quarterly sent to you or if you would like to receive the scripts by mail each week, please contact us by phone to request this.
  4. We have begun to discuss a Safety Plan for gathering once that become possible. All businesses and non-profits and religious groups are required to prepare a Safety Plan, even though these are not submitted to anyone and will not be reviewed by anyone. We have been encouraged by Dr. Larson to continue “social distancing” even after we resume our meetings. He emphasized washing of hands and a strict “stay home” policy for sick folks.
  5. We did receive money from the Paycheck Protection Program, so we have instructed Chestnut Preschool and Daycare to rehire their full staff. We have also rehired our janitor and have given our ministry assistant regular hours in the office again. This program will support our payroll through June 26 but not time missed. 
  6. I am posting a word of encouragement, “Got a Minute?,” every day on both my own and the church’s Facebook pages, as well as through a new email group. The Youth Group is having Ignition through Zoom every Wednesday evening. Our collegiate group is also having Cross Walk via Zoom on Thursday evenings.
  7. Sadly, since reopening fully will be delayed until later summer, Vacation Bible School will be cancelled. Our chosen date in late June of 2020 was our only option this year, and it comes too early. 


I remind you again that God is still sovereign. We can trust Him! He has not left us, and He will not forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5-6) Let’s pray for God to be glorified and Christ to be made know through all of this.


My love in Christ, Pastor Frank


Religious Gatherings within WASHINGTON’S FOUR PHASES* (about 3 weeks for each phase):

  • Phase One: Possible “drive-up” services, with no one getting out of their cars.
  • Phase Two: Gatherings allowed with only 5 people per week outside of immediate household.
  • Phase Three: Gatherings of no more than 50 people, with appropriate “social distancing.”
  • Phase Four: Regular gatherings resumed, with suggestions for “social distancing.”

*Dr. Larson predicts that we will be in Phase 3 by the first of June and Phase 4 by the end of June.

Resources

Call/email for Lifeway links