June 17, 2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers of Lakewood Park UMC,
Well, it’s been about three months since I sent out the first letter regarding the coronavirus pandemic and how it would affect the way we worship as the Body of Christ. If ever there was a reminder to the people that the church is not the building – it’s us as a connected body of believers – this was it! Sadly, not much has changed since then. We are continuing to see a rise in infected people (to the tune of about 2,500 people daily) and our neighbors to the south are considered a hot spot once again. While the Bishop has granted authority to the pastors of local churches to reopen if they feel they could do so safely, medical data has clearly indicated that it is not. As a result, we will continue to offer the Drive-in Church service for those that would like to come to the church parking lot for service. The following guidelines still exist for that service:
If you are not feeling well or have any of the symptoms of coronavirus, please stay home and watch the service live via Facebook or Youtube. If you don’t know how to do that, please call the church office and we can provide assistance.
You may keep your car windows up or down without the need to wear a mask (unless, of course, you choose to).
You must remain in your car during before, during, and after the service. Ushers will ask you to return to your car if you are not complying.
All church volunteers and staff must wear masks (except when doing their part at the microphone).
We can resume the welcoming of members and baptizing. If you or your child would like to receive the sacrament of baptism, please set up a meeting with me to discuss.
Church restrooms are not available during Sunday worship.
Once again, I am not comfortable resuming in-person worship as it unnecessarily places people in jeopardy of contracting the virus. Please note: whenever we do resume in-person worship, there will be the following restrictions, at a minimum:
All must be temperature checked prior to entering the Family Life Center (those with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher would not be admitted into worship).
All persons must wear masks before, during, and after the service.
There would be no singing by either the congregation or worship team as this has proven to cause a high level of aerosolized droplets even when wearing masks.
A modified way of receiving communion (e.g., Bring your own communion elements)
No shaking hands or fellowship.
Offering will be received as you enter or exit the building.
Non-family units would be seated at least 6’ apart.
No childcare / nursery.
Regarding the regular operation of the church:
The office is open from 9AM to 4PM, daily, Monday through Thursday by appointment only.
Doors will be locked and signs posted that say that you must wear a mask if entering the building. Bathrooms are for staff only at this time.
Right now, the only two functions that are cleared to use the FLC are:
The lap shawl ministry as they continue to fabricate reusable masks for our community.
Food bank (curbside service only; only volunteers allowed inside).
If you would like to have your bible study or group meeting in the FLC, please set up a meeting with me via the church office.
I encourage you all to continue to take this virus very seriously. Wear your face masks in public and wash your hands often. Urge all the people in your spheres of influence to do the same. Regardless of past speculation about masks, there is now clear evidence that, if we all wear our masks, the transmission of the virus can be significantly lowered. But, folks, we must all do our part. The mask you wear protects your neighbor and the mask that they wear protects you. Let us be faithful to God’s call to love our neighbor…even in this way! I am asking you all to trust the medical community and put any political thoughts that you might have on the subject aside. Let’s continue to approach this as an unbiased, loving, a Christ-centered church.