Dear Springview Family,
Greetings! I trust you are staying warm and staying safe and persevering through this cold winter season. Only eight more weeks until the beginning of Spring! I’m looking forward to warmer weather and, I trust, more normal times.
One of the things we’re looking forward to normalizing is our church life, which, like so many other things, has been significantly disrupted during this Covid pandemic.
There are two big things to know in this regard:
1) We are planning to resume Awana Wednesday, February 3rd, after a three-month hiatus.
2) We are making some adjustments to our Covid safety policy, which will impact both our Sunday morning and Awana ministries.
When we resumed in-person Sunday services here in December we did so at the height of the Covid outbreak, when the case-counts were near the highest they’d been since the pandemic began. For that reason we felt it was prudent to take extra precaution to keep our church family as safe as possible. While we’re certainly not out of the woods yet, we feel that the situation has sufficiently improved to the point that we can reassess and readjust our safety measures. The main change that we are making in this regard is that we will no longer be requiring people to wear masks to attend Awana or our worship services.
This does NOT mean that we no longer are being careful. And this freedom should bring with it a heightened sense of responsibility and caution. Our auditorium seating continues to be spaced for social distancing. The Coffee Connection will remain closed for a bit longer. Hugs and handshakes (wonderful though they are) are still not encouraged. And many of you will still want or need to wear masks and should feel very free to do so. In fact, in the common areas where we tend to congregate I would encourage people to wear masks if they are able to. But we will no longer be requiring either children or adults to wear them.
One of the ways we are hoping to provide for those who are more concerned or at higher risk is to offer a livestream viewing area in the Gold Room that will be a masks-required space. Lord-willing that will be available this Sunday. Also, we will be continuing to require masks for the Sunday night youth group meetings due to some special needs in that venue; we’ll scale those back as the situation permits.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon!
Dear Springview Family,
I am excited to announce that Springview will be resuming its in-person worship services on this coming Sunday, December 13! You can read the details below, or watch this video here.
When to hold worship services and how to do it safely during a pandemic is a complex decision-making process. For Springview, these decisions have been informed by three strong priorities that aren’t always easy to reconcile:
1. We want to protect our church family’s physical health.
2. We want to protect our testimony in the community God has placed us in.
3. We want to protect the spiritual and emotional welfare of our people by staying open for worship.
These values are sometimes in tension, and the debates and conflicts that afflict our society make it even more difficult:
As citizens of this country we are concerned about all of these things. But as Christians we know that our citizenship ultimately lies in a different kingdom, and our allegiance to a much greater and more glorious King. So the last thing we want to do is drag all of these conflicts into the church, and make the church the battleground where we fight these things out. How wonderful, how refreshing it would be if the church were the place people could go to get away from all of that conflict and instead find deep spirituality and true friendship as they focus together on what matters the most - the glory and beauty and all-satisfying love of Jesus Christ.
Our main concern is to stay safe and to stay open, and we believe that we can confidently and safely reopen for in-person worship services if we take the proper safety precautions. At this point in the pandemic the proper safety precautions look like requiring everybody to wear protective masks while they are inside the church building, with the exception of children who are under the age of 5. We feel especially confident about this in part because of the testimony of one of our church members, James Harrill. James’ company, Springfield Urgent Care, has seen many thousands of sick patients over the last 8 months, has tested and been in close proximity to, even touched, thousands of patients who tested positive for Covid-19, and not even one of his 60 employees have contracted the virus in the course of their work. This is because they require their employees to wear masks at all times, and we feel confident that that same precaution can protect us just as well as we worship here at Springview.
We aren’t installing this mask requirement because there is some constituency in the church that loves to wear masks – I’ve yet to meet a person that does! We’re doing it because our biggest priorities are staying safe and staying open, and wearing masks gives us confidence that we can do both those things. It’s a small price to pay, and furthermore it’s a great way for us to humble ourselves and look out for the needs of the more fearful or at-risk among us.
The other main aspect of our safety policy is that no one should come to church if they feel sick or show symptoms of any kind, even if you feel confident that it’s just allergies or your annual December cold or whatever else you might suspect it to be. Please stay home if you don’t feel well, or if you show any symptoms of being sick, and we’ll look forward to having you back here as soon as you are well. We will be providing a video of the service for those who are unable to attend.
While Awana will not be resuming until after the holidays, we will be re-launching Springview Kids immediately this Sunday, and as before the kids will go immediately to their classes rather than starting out in the service with the adults. We will not be expecting those in the preschool class to wear masks, but we will expect it in the older kids’ class, where many of the children have experience wearing them all day in school.
Youth group will also be relaunching soon, and your teens can expect to receive more information about that in the coming days.
We will be taking these safety precautions really seriously, because we’re really serious about both staying safe and staying open. Meeting together, in-person, is so important for our emotional and spiritual well-being that we’re willing to put up with the inconvenience and frustration of wearing a mask for an hour and a half every week. Remember – this isn’t forever! We’ll be carefully monitoring the virus situation in the society as a whole, and as the government and health officials begin to relax the requirements, we will do the same. We have endured and sacrificed already as a church over the last nine months, and if we persevere with wisdom and humble caution for just a few more months we will reach the end of this pandemic able to hold our heads high and say that we did our part, that we we’re good neighbors who looked out for the welfare of our community and not just ourselves; and perhaps God will be pleased to use that care and concern to show his love to people who might not otherwise see it. Let’s stay safe, and stay open. I’m praying that we will finish this well, and that God will be honored above all.
Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday!
Both Awana and Youth Group will be resuming programs starting January 27th and 10th respectively. They will follow the same guidelines as set forth for the service on Sunday's. If you have any questions you can contact our Children's Ministry Director, Andi Swalwell at Andi@springviewcc.org or our Youth Directors, Josh and Jenny Herweyer at email@example.com.
Reminder: These measures are temporary!
And they reflect our best efforts to both protect our church community and also facilitate accessible and God-honoring worship services. You should anticipate that these guidelines will pertain indefinitely, keeping in mind we will re-evaluate and consider what changes may or may not need to be made going forward.
In the meantime, may our words, thoughts and hearts be characterized by humility toward and love for one another and for the community that God has put us in, so that our life as a church family might commend the gospel that brought us together.