Hey TVC family!
We are excited to be getting back together as a Church family this Sunday morning, May 31st! As the days count down, we wanted to send out a message to let you know how things will be looking at The Village Church as we reopen for in person services. Please know that we have spent countless hours prayerfully pouring over every detail as we have sought to honor the Lord, and one another, in our efforts to reopen well. We have also consulted with other churches, pastors and their leadership teams, to understand what has been working well, and what hasn’t been working well, as our church community reopens it’s doors. We are fully aware that we will have missed things, or maybe even erred on the side of caution in some areas, but we want you to know that our heart has been to honor God through this whole process.
Here is a short list of items that will help you to know how it will look as we regather, how we will be handling our services and what we are asking of you as faithful members of the body of Christ!
- Service time and location: This Sunday at 9:30 a.m. we will have one big, family, worship service in the north lot outside of church, while also maintaining our online live-streaming of the service for those who choose to stay home and worship online. We will be worshipping together in this manner for the month of June, and assessing it as we go to determine what changes need to be made, and when we might move back inside the building for services. Please try to arrive a little early (listen, we totally know how this will likely go for all you parents with little munchkins out there, so don’t feel bad if you are running behind) to get your chairs/blankets set and ready to go before worship begins. Please keep an eye on the church website and facebook page on Sunday morning’s in the event of inclement weather. We will also make sure to send out an email and text message to those who’s contact information we have, to inform you of changes on Sunday mornings. In the event that inclement weather does come, we will cancel our in person service and utilize our live-stream as we have these past few months.
- Masks and social distancing: As has been mentioned in the past few announcements about our reopening plan, we will be doing our best to follow CDC guidelines and observe social distancing during our services. Masks are optional, however we are asking that you observe 6 foot distances between family groups when placing chairs and blankets for worship. As well as refrain from handshakes, hugs or high fives to ensure we are showing each other the utmost love and respect. While we know that this will be a break from our normal (pre coronavirus) routine of greeting one another with a handshake or a hug. We are asking that you please be mindful that everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to precautions being taken with the virus. Even though you may be okay with hugging, or shaking hands, we are asking that you please, out of respect for the church as a whole, make the decision ahead of time to commit to observing social distancing, and refraining from hugs and handshakes. This will greatly remove any sort of potential uneasiness for all those who are attending, and not put our church leadership in any sort of a tough position throughout our services. We want all who attend to be able to focus on fellowship, worship and being nourished by the word of God. We genuinely appreciate your understanding as this is likely the hardest of all of the pieces for us to navigate.
- Sickness: If you, or anyone in your immediate household, has a cough, fever, chills, or other flu or COVID-19 symptoms, please worship with us online until you feel better and are symptom free. While we genuinely can’t wait (seriously, we miss each and every one of you!) for every member of The Village to be worshipping together in person again. We want you to be healthy, and to show love to one another during this interesting time.
- Children’s Ministries: As we come back together and get acclimated again, we will not be holding any of our children’s ministry classes during our service time. We realize that this may create unique opportunities by having our kiddos in service with us, but we are excited to worship together as families in these first few weeks!
- Worship: For our time of worship (singing!), we will be printing out, and handing out lyrics to the songs for you to follow along with. One of the great benefits of an outdoor service is that we can sing together in an environment with a considerably minimized opportunity to spread any illness to one another. We are beyond excited to be able to worship God together as a church family!
- What to bring:
- Chairs or blankets for you and your family members. Keep in mind, we will be meeting in the parking lot. You are free to put blankets down, bring camp chairs, or sit on the ground. Whatever works best for you!
- Your Bible! As you’ve heard these last few weeks, we are really hoping to create a culture that encourages us to bring our paper bibles to church each Sunday morning. We’d love to hear the pages turning as we read from God’s Word! And let’s not forget what a great chance it is to model for the kiddos of our church, what it looks like to be “in the word of God”.
- Refreshments: This weekend, we won’t be supplying coffee or water, so please plan ahead to bring enough for each family member. We will be reassessing this as we move forward, but at this time are trying to take things step by step as volunteers come back and get in the swing of serving again, and as we figure out how to do some of these extra things with an outdoor service.
- For the kiddos: Toys (quiet ones please) or other resources, snacks or other things for your kiddos to stay busy with during service. We want you to realize that we are anticipating some extra “noise” from our smaller church goers. And guess what? That’s totally okay! 🙂
- Finally, we want you to know that regardless of if you choose to join us in person this Sunday, or continue to join us online via the live-stream, we can’t wait to take this step with you in getting back to a place where we can finally be together, in one accord, worshipping our God. We respect every person’s feelings about what is best for you and your family when it comes to a timeline of returning to the church for services. As mentioned earlier in this letter, we have done everything we can to create a safer (again, there is risk involved with anything we do in our lives) environment for you and your family to come together with the larger Church body. Know that we love and are praying for each and every one of you as you make plans for coming back to church at TVC!
I want to end by quoting the words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In several places in the New Testament, we hear Jesus making the same command, time and time again. Let me quote one of those instances here:
“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.”
- John 13:34 -
As we prepare to come back together as a church family, I am acutely aware of the variety of opinions about the pandemic that we find ourselves in, and have found ourselves in, throughout the past several months. As followers of Christ, I want to remind you that Jesus himself left us with this great command; to love one another. This should be the hallmark of the Christian faith, and something that we model on a daily basis. While we may have different opinions on the Coronavirus, the safer at home orders, masks, social distancing and even the planned that has been laid out above, I want to remind you that all of those things are secondary to our primary focus… the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to be a light to those around us. To lead the lost into a relationship with their God. And to be Kingdom minded, first and foremost.
As we gather this weekend, and during the weekends moving forward, my hope is that we will all model the love for one another that Jesus commanded us as his followers to have. I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that we’re all trying to do our best to make the best decisions for each of our families, our community and our church family. We won’t do everything perfectly, but we will do it with the desire to glorify Him, and to see His name high and lifted up.
Looking forward to being together this Sunday morning! Absence certainly has made my heart grow fonder for each of you!
Pastor Leroy and the TVC Leadership Team