Dear Salem Church Family,
What will our worship services look like when we come back together? There are many new restrictions and suggested guidelines that are outlined by the Commonwealth and based on CDC and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) guidance that we are working to implement. Our staff and leaders have been talking and working on a plan for regathering for weeks. We will be gathering on May 31 to begin the journey into the next season God has for us and His church. Our plans for this new phase will be led by the Holy Spirit as we strive to honor God, share His love and be wise.
We will be doing all we can to provide a clean environment for gathering in worship. At a minimum this means we will honor what is mandatory, and to the extent possible follow the suggested best practices to keep our at risk and senior members safe. The Phase One guidelines for religious services can be found on: www.virginia.gov/coronavirus
So, here is the plan for “Phase One” and this may extend beyond this phase:
d. Masks are recommended by the CDC and are now required by the governor when in a public building. Please bring your own. We are trying to secure some masks for those that may forget or not know about this new expectation. We know that many have strong feelings about the masks. We hope that all will have a considerate heart and in consideration of those that may have a greater risk or likelihood for infection that you will honor you fellow church members, the executive order and the Lord as we try this new way to worship. We will still gather, have the fellowship hall for overflow if needed and keeping social distance as well as broadcasting for drive in church and on Facebook Live and YouTube.
e. Offerings will be received after the service as people exit.
f. Hymn books, Bibles, pencils and visitor cards will be removed from pews.
2. There will be no mission friends until further notice.
3. There will be no nursery until further notice.
4. There will be no Sunday School classes on site but classes can meet via Zoom or in groups of 10 or less in homes.
6. We must all do our part to remain safe as we re-gather for worship and enter this new season as the family of God. If you are not feeling well, have a fever or cough, please worship with us at home on Facebook Live or YouTube. If you gather in the sanctuary please help us all by keeping the six foot spacing, and greet each other joyfully with big smiles even if under a mask, and refrain from handshakes and hugs.
Finally, let me emphasize that we are not re-opening because as a church we were never closed. A building can be closed, but the church is the living Body of Christ in our world. We are resuming in person worship and it is important. We are told in Scripture “Not to neglect meeting together as some are in the habit of doing.” We have met online, via conference call, in the parking lot, in small groups via ZOOM, and in person in backyards and members’ homes.
As we re-gather, remember we all are called to love God, each other and a lost and dying world. Let’s be kind and considerate of those who are in a different place concerning COVID-19. Let’s be safe and wise and on mission as we worship, remembering that ministry is ongoing. People need Jesus. Share His love, help your neighbor and a stranger. God is still God and He is still good at being God.
Your staff, deacons and leaders are working and praying hard to help us stay connected and have the opportunity to gather for worship. Pray for us as we pray for you. Let’s serve God together. Let’s love Him and each other and our world. Let’s set an example of love and service and a joyful spirit.
Kevin James (Senior Pastor)