I hope you are doing well! As I indicated in yesterday’s email, I would provide some insight into my answer to the question of “why are we opening in-person services now?”.
As you know by now, Governor Whitmer extended our ‘pause’ until December 20th in a continued effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. Clearly the numbers are concerning and, given those same numbers, begs the legitimate question in regards to starting in-person services, “why now”?
It is a fair question to be sure.
Admittedly the timing isn’t great. However, my decision isn’t based on a whim where I think “we’ve simply been closed too long” or “Christmas is coming, we need to hurry and do this now”. We have been trying to do this a while now and more importantly, it is an issue of pastoral care.
Where many in our community are not only comfortable with church online, but actually quite enjoy it, others are in need of another expression of ‘church’. They are longing for community and connectedness that, for them, a computer or TV screen simply cannot provide.
This is a spiritual need for some; not a spiritual need that supersedes safety, but a need that would be welcomed if safety can be reasonably provided.
I believe that, with the plans we have in place, we can be and will be more than reasonably safe for all who attend and participate as well as for the community at large. With masks on at all times, always socially distant, room capacity kept to guidelines, and cleaning/sanitizing in place, we can provide a more than reasonably safe environment that will allow for the spiritual needs of some to be met.
I want to remind everyone that this is a choice. Part of what we do at Hope is reasonably meet people where they are at. We always have done this. We offer different music choices, different worship times, and more than one minister to relate with. In this time, we will offer the choice of either a meaningful streamed service at 10am (this is not going away) as well as reasonably safe in-person options.
Each member has a choice. The staff has a choice as well.
The staff has also been given the option to ‘opt out’ and some have. No one is being asked to do anything they are not comfortable with or being put in a situation where they do not feel safe.
Everyone has a choice.
As I already stated, for me pastorally, this is an issue of pastoral care, and sometimes offering good pastoral care is about providing choices to reasonably meet people where they are at and I believe we can safely do just that.
Thank you for hearing me out. Thank you for your support of this ministry team with your time, talents, financial resources, and prayer. Thank you for always being there for the other. Thank you for being a community united in the love of Jesus even when we may disagree on nearly everything else.
Thank you and God Bless,