Physical Gatherings at Shenandoah
We have been meeting online since March 22nd and have had rich experiences each and every Sunday. I appreciate everyone who has been willing to stretch their skills and talents in order to bring their unique ministry to this new form of service. I also want to thank everyone who has gone outside of their comfort zone by embracing technology in order to join the services. We truly have all been going through this together.
Throughout the process, we have confronted and answered many questions together. As our city and state begin to relax restrictions, there are now new questions to answer. While we definitely don’t have all of the answers, we can provide you with some of our thoughts and guidance as we enter into the next phase of this shared experience. Here are some questions we can anticipate you might have now.
When will we once again open our church doors to physical gatherings? At this point, we don’t know for certain. What we do know is that our actions must conform to local, state, national, and World Church guidance. World Church has indicated that we should not have physical gatherings at the church through at least May 31st but we are awaiting the requirements that will need to be met in order to gain their approval to physically meet at Shenandoah. Our intention is to be cautious regarding when we will actually begin physical gatherings. Even then, we will probably do so in phases. Safety will be our driving consideration in any decisions we make. To that end, a committee has begun meeting that will determine what changes must be implemented in order to create a safe environment at our facility for physical gatherings, develop a plan to prepare the environment, and meet with Mission Center and World Church representatives to gain approval for the submitted plan. As of right now, we do not foresee any physical gatherings at the church before late June at the earliest.
Will the Shenandoah Congregation continue to offer streaming services when physical gatherings are resumed? Absolutely. It is important that we allow each worshiper to join the physical gatherings if and when they feel comfortable doing so. Even beyond the current situation, we see online worship services as a vital part of our ongoing ministry and an additional way to “meet people where they are”.
How will the church be cleaned and disinfected? Last year, we hired a cleaning crew based on their outstanding attention to not only cleaning but also thorough disinfecting. At the time, we hired them to do a full facility cleaning every other week. In March of this year, we increased that to have them clean the full facility every Saturday night. This schedule of cleaning has continued throughout the pandemic and will continue going forward.
Will rental use of the facility resume? Ultimately, “Yes”. However, this will be done cautiously as well in order to ensure the health and safety of all who use the facility is not compromised. Currently, rental use of the facility is not being considered within Phase I.
We know there are more questions than just these but wanted to begin the sharing and start the discussion. If you have additional questions, please email them to me. They will be compiled into a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) and made available to the congregation. We will also provide more information and guidelines as we get closer to meeting once again in our beautiful facility.