Message to the congregation
Two weeks ago, Pastor Martin tested positive for the coronavirus and immediately went into quarantine. We immediately suspended our weekend services and all meetings and activities in the church building for two weeks. We sent staff home until they could be tested. I am extremely happy to report that Pastor Martin has recovered completely, and all staff tested negative.
Your council met last week and decided to take another week to assess our situation and then decide how to move forward. We had a special council meeting on Tuesday, December 1st, dedicated to that end. We have received many communications with recommendations and suggestions on how best to move forward. In our discussions and decision making, our overarching concern was for the safety and health of our staff and worshippers as well as a deep concern for their spiritual health. We valued all inputs including our staff views.
We looked at many options and, as you can imagine, none were perfect nor would any one option meet the needs of everyone. We also assessed our opening experience over the weeks prior to our two week “time-out.” Council, senior staff, and pastors were in agreement that our opening protocols were effective. Nonetheless, all concurred that additional safety protocols would be beneficial for our services.
We will suspend in person services for one more week. We will reopen for services the weekend of December 12 and 13. Online service will continue. With minor exceptions, all church meetings and activities will remain suspended until further notice. This additional week of “time-out” will allow staff and council to finalize and communicate to you new and more stringent protocols for visiting the church offices and attending services. Our basic approach though will be as before – a section for masks only and the rest of the sanctuary will be mask optional. As before, we will keep assessing and evaluating and make changes if necessary.
Finally, I remind everyone that we are taking many steps to keep worshippers safe. Our new air filtration system is highly rated and in use in hospitals throughout the country. Additionally, we disinfect before and after each service. Ultimately though, only you can make the best decisions to protect your health. If you are uncomfortable with our protocols, if you have underlying medical conditions, if you have any potential COVID-19-like symptoms, stay home and worship with us online. Remember, you are responsible not only for your own health and safety but also for the health and safety of those around you.
Be sure to check the DHLC website and your email inbox for more updates as we move forward.