The past several months have been a whirlwind. The impact that the Coronavirus has had upon our country, state and community have generated no small amount of difficulty for the Coram Deo family. Last night, the Coram Deo elders hosted a time of Q&A on Facebook Live, hoping to give you insight into the journey we have been on together and how we have arrived at the decisions we have made. If you were unable to participate in the event, we encourage you to watch the video.
Even if you were unable to join us for that time, there are still some important things you need to know as we move forward:
Lord’s Day Worship
The Coram Deo elders have decided that our public Lord’s Day worship services will be resuming this Sunday, May 31, 2020. We will be continuing to stream the 10 am service on Facebook Live indefinitely as we know that many in our body have genuine needs and concerns that will make it difficult for them to return to gathering immediately.
However, we do want to make it clear that the gathered worship of God’s people is not a private affair. We have all felt that reality acutely during this time of separation.
If you already registered for one of the drive-in services we were originally planning, we still need you to RSVP for an in-person gathering. The drive-in services are no longer happening.
If you have been gathering with a small group to watch the service from home, we would ask that you do everything in your power to join the rest of the body for worship in person. It’s going to be difficult for a season as the worship services will be different in many ways. But we hope that you will endure with us and make the effort to participate in person.
Our team has been hard at work getting ready to welcome you back and we are ready to provide a safe, clean environment for worship. The steps we are taking include:
- Face coverings - The elders are requesting that everyone in attendance wears a face covering. We have consulted medical professionals within the Coram Deo body and the overwhelming consensus is that face coverings are a wise, temporary precaution. Our heart here is that we want to love one another by making space for at-risk brothers and sisters who otherwise could not participate.
- Social distancing - We will arrange the chairs in groups so that households can sit together and remain at least six feet apart from other households.
- Communion - The elders will distribute the gluten-free communion elements to households throughout the room. We won't ask you to come forward. We will come to you. The communion elements will be prepared and sealed in a sterile environment to be in line with health and safety standards.
- Bathrooms - The bathrooms will be available to all attendees and we will be implementing regular cleaning measures throughout the day.
- No refreshments - We will not be serving food or drink at this time other than communion.
- No printed handouts - We will be keeping all of our written communications online for the time being.
- No childcare - We will not be offering nursery or kids classes at this time. Parents are welcome to bring crayons and coloring sheets but we will not be providing them at this time.
- Our foyer - The foyer is available for parents to step out briefly with their children as needed and then return back to the service. Please don't linger in the foyer if you are able to return to the sanctuary.
- Cleaning between services - There will be an additional 15 minutes between services to allow our team to clean and sterilize the space before the next group arrives.
We are also asking congregants to RSVP ahead of time to help us know when we are nearing capacity at each service.
When the morning services fill up, we will open up additional options later in the day so we can welcome as many people as possible. At the time of publishing, we have expanded to five services beginning on Sunday morning and continuing into the evening.
You DO NOT need to provide your name to be able to register and this information will not be shared with anyone. The RSVP tool WILL prompt you for your name and email. Feel free to use "John Doe" and "email@example.com" if you are uncomfortable providing your actual personal information. We will not be sharing your information with anyone. It is strictly used for helping us gauge the amount of remaining space.
Additionally, if you are bringing a larger group of people, after registration please send us a quick note at firstname.lastname@example.org to help us best plan to welcome you.
As physical safety concerns in our community have continued to diminish, we have decided to loosen the restrictions for Coram Deo’s groups as well.
There will likely be disagreements between group members about how to best honor God’s commands in the Bible to love one another while simultaneously seeking to ensure physical safety and honor the requests of our government. That’s normal. Our posture needs to be one of mutual submission out of reverence for Christ, (Ephesians 5:21), and we need to prioritize the consciences of one another so that all might avoid stumbling (Romans 14). As Pastor Aaron Kuhns wisely said, “it is unacceptable to sacrifice your brother upon the altar of your convictions.”
We trust the individual groups to make decisions about how and when to meet while bearing with one another in love.
Also, while we are not prohibiting that groups would return to meeting in person, there is no mandate that they must do so either. We will be continuing to provide Zoom accounts for all group leaders for the foreseeable future and would encourage groups who are not ready to resume meeting in-person to continue to use them.
The important next step that we are asking ALL groups to take is to have a conversation together about how the group members would like to move forward. If you have any questions or run into difficulty, please reach out to one of the pastors directly for guidance or send us an email at email@example.com.
Additionally, if anyone in your group is experiencing financial difficulties because of the shutdown, please talk to us. We want to help.
As we move forward and hopefully return to some semblance of normalcy, we want to reiterate that we are so thankful for each one of you. It has been an enormous challenge to pastor the church from a distance and there have been many times for each of us where it has felt absolutely overwhelming and dark.
Many of you have reached out with notes of encouragement, gifts, and support. Those have meant the world to us and we are blown away by the faithfulness of God that you have embodied towards us.
Nothing feels normal right now and it might not for quite some time. But regardless, we are encouraged by the ways that God has provided for us and will continue to do so. He is faithful and His steadfast love endures forever.
The Elders of Coram Deo Church