Gateway Christian Church
If you are like us, it is hard to believe all the events of this past week surrounding the Corona Virus. While we still don’t know what we don’t know in many ways, we did, as leaders of the church here at Gateway, felt the need to let you know about some of the steps we are taking to make sure that when you come to worship, you can feel comfortable and safe. We have endeavored to create a plan that will incorporate our faith in God to care for us, as well as utilizing his wisdom so we can take the steps we are aware of can provide a safe environment for our members and guests. In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus says, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” We trust in God and don’t believe that we have any reason to panic during this season. As we have faith in our God we also want to follow the example of Nehemiah, who when leading the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem and threatened by the enemies around them, in faith they continued to rebuild. But they also had men posted with weapons to hold off an attack.
At this time, we see no reason to cancel any of the services we host at the church and feel like the church should be a place where you can come and feel safe. We want to ensure that.
While there is a wide range of opinions and ideas that surround this virus, we are focusing on what we do know currently. We also recognize that the level of comfort each one of us feels about things is different as well. There is not simply one answer as the threat level may be very different for each one of us. For some of you, hugs and handshakes may be something that you feel needs no change. For others, a hug or handshake could feel like risky behavior. It’s our desire that no one feels compelled to compromise their level of comfort.
To do what we can to ensure your safety at the church we are taking the following steps:
1. In accordance with other businesses, we will be increasing our efforts to provide an environment that is clean and will be maintained at an increased level. While the current belief is that human contact is the method of passing this virus, we will work to ensure that our facility is kept clean to eliminate possible contamination.
2. We will be making hand sanitizer available throughout the church so that you will be able to use it at the level that you feel is best for you. This will include having it in the restrooms, the coffee room, classrooms, and worship area.
3. Realizing the awkwardness of two people with differing levels of comfort at this time with human touch, we will not be having an organized set-aside time for “handshakes and hugs” during the service. We don’t want anyone to be embarrassed if their level of comfort differs from another. Especially if that was someone visiting the church for the first time.
4. In that same line of thought, we won’t have the preacher positioned at the door to shake hands with people as they leave. This could be a real point of contagion. If you wish to shake hands with the preacher, you can approach him individually. But if he doesn’t feel comfortable with that, please do not be offended.
5. We will also be removing the ropes across the outer pews so that anyone who attends the service will be able to feel free to sit as close to others as they feel comfortable.
6. One of the best steps that you can take to help those in our church who may be in the highest risk groups is to take care of yourself. If you feel ill, stay home from church. Take the normal hygiene steps of covering your coughs, sneezes, etc. We will be working to ensure that the sermons on Sundays will be available on our website, as close to the end of the services on Sunday as possible. We will also continue to investigate the possibility of live streaming for those who need to remain at home. If you need to be out for any length of time, you are more than welcome to mail in your gifts or offerings to the Lord directly to the church office.
7. Please be aware of the opportunities you may have to share the love and care of Jesus with your neighbors or others who may need help, support, and prayer as they work through this virus and its concerns.
As we continue as a church, and a nation, to work together through this health crisis, we will work to be responsive to steps that will continue to increase your safety and provide a safe peaceful place for gathering to glorify our God who guides and protects us.
There are bound to be questions or thoughts you may have, and we invite you to share them with us. We will be open to your ideas and thoughts so every member of our church family can be safe and at peace in their time with God’s family at Gateway.
Praying for each of you,
The Elders of Gateway Christian Church
Stuart Rogers, John Deets, Brent Wiegand, and Mike Dally