As we have joined together as the family of God, we are grateful for that relationship where we pledge to be the family of God for one another in this church. In March, we made the decision to suspend all in-person activities and move our fellowship, our worship, and our discipleship on-line in order to protect our congregation and our community from the spread of COVID-19. The deacons and the pastor have been closely monitoring the latest data for our community to decide when is the best time to return to in-person activities. We are seeking to find the balance between our needs of sharing life together in person and our responsibility to make church a safe environment for everyone.
We remain grateful for the technology available to help us stay connected, continue to worship together, and continue to grow in our relationship with God and with one another. We are also grateful for the opportunities we have to continue to love and serve our neighbors through the monthly Food Pantry and our Back-to-School supplies drive for Speegleville Elementary School. The financial faithfulness of our church family allows us the freedom to make decisions about when to begin in-person activities based on good science rather then succumbing to any other pressures. Below is our current plan moving forward (we say current because this is a novel virus and we are continuing to learn new information which may change some of our practices as well as some things about this plan). Throughout all phases, we will continue to offer on-line options for people who are not ready to return to in-person activities.
Phase 1: All activities are on-line (weekly worship, Wednesday night Bible study, children and youth meetings).
Phase 2: Larger in-person events with appropriate safety measures in place can occur.
• Abbreviated Sunday Morning Worship Services with appropriate COVID-19 protocols in place (masks, social distancing, etc.).
Phase 3: Resume a more traditional church weekly schedule with Sunday School and children and youth activities.
How will we decide when to move between phases?
Moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2:
o We will have a consistent 4-week positivity rate of new infections in McLennan county
below 5% and available hospital space in Waco (based on the number of available beds and ICU beds as reported by our hospitals) and no new widespread community changes within the last 3-weeks.
o We will not act against any community regulations or recommendations from our local, state, or national officials. Example: If the recommendation is to continue to limit inside gatherings to a certain number or percentage, then we will not move into Phase 3 until those recommendations change.
Moving from Phase 2 to Phase 3:
o There is a COVID-19 vaccine widely available and in use in our community.
Moving backwards: We will closely monitor the local COVID-19 reports to determine if we need to move back a phase or can continue to safely remain in our current phase based on the prevalence of the virus in our community.
If we have a positive case within the congregation where there was close or sustained contact at a church event, we will pause all in-person activities for two weeks, and then return to the phase we were in when the positive case occurred.