As restrictions across much of the state of Maryland begin easing, you might be wondering when CCC will gather again for in-person services. It’s a good question and one that unfortunately, doesn’t have a simple answer.
We want to be wise in every step we take. We’re eager to meet again for in-person worship gatherings, but don’t want our eagerness to turn into foolishness. There’s a real tension between helping people find their way back to God and taking every possible measure to keep people safe.
So let me share a few Guiding Principles we’ve held to as we navigate this unusual and unprecedented time.
Our church never closed. Throughout the shutdown, CCC has continued to offer online services each week, small groups and student ministry have kept meeting through virtual platforms, the Pantry has continued to minister through food resourcing, etc. We didn’t close. The gospel is still preached, people are connecting with the hope we have in Jesus, generosity has continued, folks are sharing their lives with each other as much as can be done right now.
Church Programming doesn’t operate well with strict social distancing. There are several recommendations or requirements for churches which make it difficult to resume large services. (The requirement of face masks, non-contact temperature taking at the doors, seven-foot spacing between individual worshippers and same-household family groups, refraining from congregational singing, sanitizing contact surfaces before and after worship, capping the overall total to 250 worshippers, etc.) None of this addresses the myriad of concerns surrounding children’s ministry. (And let’s face it, little kids don’t do social distancing well.) We’re a congregation after all. When we’re together, we naturally want to connect and experience a closeness that’s drastically interrupted with strict social distancing measures in place. We want to resume worship gatherings when we can operate well even under a physical distancing reality.
We won’t be stopped by fear or pushed by foolishness. We can see folks moving from fear to frustration. The longer we’re distanced from one another, the more frustrated we’ll likely become. We’re asking, “What’s the wise and right thing to do?” regardless of our frustration level.
We won’t push to resume in-person worship gatherings and do damage to our greater community. We’ve always sought to be a blessing to the greater White Marsh area and therefore we’re not eager to do anything that would only serve to undo any goodwill we’ve served hard to create over the years. When restaurants can’t even allow in-person dining, and schools are not reopening campuses, it seems foolish to rush resuming large services.
It’s important to be adaptable to what’s happening around us. So these principles, along with CDC recommendations, local, state, and federal guidelines will continue to inform our decisions about the best next steps along the way.
So the answer to the burning question of when will we resume meeting in person is simply this: We’re not sure yet. We’ll be taking a little more time to make that decision. Keep up to speed with what’s going on by signing up for CCC’s weekly email, and services will be available online each weekend. If you missed a week, checkout last week’s replay or the archive of previous CCC services.