First, allow me to wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day.
Second, I want to make clear that we will not host a Youth Group Zoom Meeting this Sunday in honor of Mother’s Day. In the church email, I wrote about having a meeting, but I was mistaken.
Thirdly, I would like to write about a plan to begin meeting together. I know this is a difficult topic to navigate in that we have a spectrum of COVID-19 recovery convictions in our congregation. Some are cautious and would prefer to move slowly on gathering together, and some are confident and would like to have already been meeting together. There are people in between, and those who feel both sometimes at the same time. As you know these differing points of view have created a lot of space for criticisms and accusations in our nation. But in the church, hopefully we will apply abundant grace to each other.
This is a portion of an article that I found helpful:
“Here are 4 attitudes for COVID-19 recovery that will strengthen your ability to navigate differing views and approaches:
- Optimistic people are a blessing to my life. It keeps me hopeful about the future and enables me to embrace uncertainty as opportunity.
- Cautious people are a blessing to my life. It keeps me sensitive to the needs and concerns of others and enables me to make prudent decisions.
- Different gifts and approaches make us all more effective. Pride demands that everyone do things the way we demand. Read 1 Corinthians 12 and celebrate different gifts.
- People matter more than my opinion. Being in healthy relationships with people is a privilege that requires me to love others above myself. When I am highly opinionated, I can needlessly hurt others.
In the end, these attitudes prepare our hearts and minds to do one thing above all else: choose love.”
Our goal as a church elder team has been to submit to our God provided government as commanded in Romans 13, but not fail in the church’s mandate to “not give up meeting together” as given in Hebrews 10:25. We were never forbidden to gather as a church, but for the safety of the most vulnerable, we chose to worship with online services. We also are concerned about the spiritual, mental, and emotional health of people which can be affected by isolation.
In Governor Wolfe’s Stay-at-Home Order beginning April 4, religious institutions were exempt, but religious leaders were encouraged to find alternatives to in-person gatherings. On May 1, the Governor reaffirmed religious institutions can have services. On May 5, the PA Secretary of Health reaffirmed that there is no prohibition on churches meeting, but if they do meet, it is recommended that they follow the guidance applicable to essential businesses that can be open. These guidelines include cleaning requirements, distance requirements, and mask requirements. Now that the Governor has extended the Stay-at-Home order to June 4th, we believe it is time to give people the option to gather physically. In consideration of how to meet, at least initially, there are several options. Authorities in another state have ranked possible service options from most to least cautious as: online services, drive-in services, outdoor services, indoor services with a reduced capacity, and finally full-capacity indoor services.
Keeping this all in mind, we would like to begin to gather together on Sunday, May 17, at 10 am. We plan to meet outside in the church parking lot. We plan to leave room for those who would like to stay in their cars, and leave parking for those with lower mobility. Everyone else is asked to park along the BCC, Bally Brook, or in the parking lot on Front Street. Bringing your chairs is preferred, but some chairs will be available which will be subsequently cleaned. Please sit at 6 or more feet from each other. Of course, those who share a home may group together. Please wear masks to come and go, and you make the decision for the service. If you cannot wear a mask, please come, but remain at a suitable distance from others. The bathrooms will be open for the service. Please wash your hands before you come to the service. We ask that no one hug or shake hands at this gathering (No matter how much you might want to!). The service will not include childcare of any kind, but children are welcome. This service will be for those who chose to attend. If this service would make you uncomfortable, please feel free to continue worshiping from home with our services. This is in no way a test of personal faith, and we recognize the various situations that are represented within our church. We would like to provide people the ability to make the choice to gather physically. Please remain at home if you have a fever or feel sick. If the weather does not cooperate, we may be forced to cancel this service, and we would put that on the website and FaceBook.
We plan to pre-record the service and post it normally, so that people can elect to watch it from their homes. We also plan to continue the Zoom Meeting but at 11:30 am. We will update you as needed in the mid-week Church Email. We plan to mail out this message to members without computers this week.
Please let me know if you have questions.
Thank you for your patience as a church body as we try to navigate this crisis. We acknowledge that people in our church may be fearful for others regarding the possibility of a physical gathering. We believe that God is in control, and He knows our future. We understand that people have different health concerns and different personal perspectives on this situation. The goal for all of us is to love our Lord completely and to love each other well.
Sunday Online Service
To watch the pre-recorded worship service, there is a link at buttervalleycc.org, or you can go directly to YouTube.com. Search “Butter Valley Community Church,” and the new video along with past messages can be found on Youtube. You may choose to subscribe to the Church’s YouTube page. Links to the services are also shared on the Butter Valley Community Church Facebook page. This week we also have a Puppet Show Video called “The Return of the King.”
We are hosting a Church Fellowship Zoom Meeting, Sunday, May 10, at 11:00 am. The link can be found on Wednesday’s email. If you would like to join but you do not receive the church email, please contact Pastor Mark or Amy Hager
We are continuing to call people to a Day of Prayer and Fasting each Wednesday. We are hosting a Church Prayer Meeting every Wednesday evening at 6:30 pm.