by: Christian Ilten
Alleluia, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!
Greetings in the Name of Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
On Monday, April 12, 2021, the United States Supreme Court decided that it was unconstitutional (a violation of our First Amendment rights) for either state or federal government to impose restrictions of any kind on religious worship. This includes limitations on attendance, social distancing, singing or praying out loud, and even requiring the wearing of face coverings during worship services. The California Attorney General quickly issued an order indicating the removal of any and all restrictions on worship, including Bible study gatherings on church campuses or within private homes.
The result of this ruling is that churches now have the right to decide on their own what restrictions, if any, they will choose to impose on their worship gatherings. Given our current context, the Pastors have decided that:
· There are no restrictions on the number of attendees in worship; the 50% cap is now removed;
· There are no longer any specific, clearly defined social distancing restrictions in place, but congregants are urged to consider their neighbor’s possible reluctance to hug or shake hands or sit in close proximity, and to exercise grace and wisdom in determining whether or not to participate in such behaviors. Remember God’s Word in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24: “ ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”
· There will no longer be a “sign-up” required to attend worship;
· Although not required for attendance, face coverings remain strongly encouraged. Please consider what may be best for your neighbor’s comfort and confidence over your own when deciding to wear a face covering or not; Remember God’s Word in this regard: Philippians 2: 3-4 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
· The Pastors and Elders serving Holy Communion will continue to wear face coverings and gloves when preparing and distributing the Sacrament.
Here is the service schedule for Sunday April 18, 2021:
· 8 am, traditional worship in the sanctuary
· 10:30 am, contemporary worship in the Family Life Center
In regards to attending any worship service or event here, regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the following guidelines remain in place regarding your decision to attend in person. Please stay home and view the live stream of the services if:
• If you or anyone in your family has been exposed to someone with COVID-19;
• If you are not feeling well (cough, chest congestion, fever, etc.);
• If you have a pre-existing condition that might put you at risk for contracting COVID-19 (compromised immune system, cardio-pulmonary condition, etc.);
• If you are simply fearful or apprehensive of the risk involved.
For the time being, the nursery will remain closed – there will be no child care available during worship but Sunday mornings will now have in person Sunday School, to learn more contact our DCE David Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org;
Through this difficult time, we have always moved forward with an abundance of caution, patience and love. We will continue to do that very thing. Remember that knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Please be gracious and understanding toward one another, since many of us may hold differing views regarding some of the guidelines we have been forced to follow. God has led us through these difficult times, and He will never leave us or forsake us. We all want to do what’s best for the most people, and we may err from time to time; if we are to err, let’s err on the side of grace. We will continue to livestream all worship services, and when we begin them, in-person Sunday morning Bible studies. Continue to pray that God’s Word be heard by a world that needs it so badly.
His perfect peace be with you today and always. Hope to see you in worship and on the front lawn for fellowship this Sunday!
In Christ’s Love,
Pastor Eric and Pastor Pat