UPDATE: On the Transition Back
Updated: May 21, 2020
Dear Redemption family,
I want to keep you up-to-date on the latest info regarding our eventual transition back to in-person worship. As of tomorrow, the city of Wauwatosa will remove its Safer at Home order, and all businesses will be free to reopen without any legal limitations. I’m very excited; we’re getting closer! But with that said…
We will NOT be meeting for service this Sunday ─ not quite yet.
This week, our COVID Transition Team approved a plan to gradually guide us back to worshiping together again, with everyone. Please know, we have a fantastic team of mature Christians carefully considering each detail of this plan. Not only that, but these are also your brothers and sisters in Christ, who are eager to see us worship together again and committed to keeping our church safe for everyone. I’ve been very encouraged by this entire process, and I’m confident this plan will be both wise and effective for us as a church.
For now, we are ironing out just a few last details before we share the plan ─ which I hope to do, most likely, next week. Then, we will also discuss the plan in detail during our June 14th members gathering ─ which, by the way, will now be held in person at 5pm for those who are willing to attend.
The plan has three phases, which are designed to slowly increase the number of people in attendance and the level of complexity involved in the services. It also gives some guidance for assessing our personal risk levels, and outlines a few simple ways that all of us can help keep Redemption safe when we do begin meeting.
A Sneak Peak into Phase 1
I imagine at some point in the not-too-distant future, we will begin the first phase of this plan. The goal of Phase 1 is simply to gather the least vulnerable adults for very basic services. This way, even if the virus is spread on a Sunday, there’s a very small chance that anyone would be seriously harmed by it. During this phase, we will not offer any children’s ministry, and some aspects of the service will seem a bit more “stripped down,” like they currently do online.
Before we begin Phase 1, though, we want to see two specific criteria met:
We’d like see local restrictions lifted on gatherings of up to 50 people (which will be met tomorrow).
We’d like to see multiple like minded churches in our area and size-range begin meeting. This criteria has not been met.
In particular, I have six churches in mind that, I think, are close enough to us in size, proximity, and philosophy of ministry to provide specific wisdom in this decision making process. This doesn’t mean we need to wait for all of them to meet before we begin Phase 1, but it does mean we will wait for at least a few of them to gather before we move forward.
In the meantime, we also have to completely revamp our streaming system because we currently have the camera, along with other equipment, spread out across the front of the sanctuary each Sunday. We are in the process of purchasing new equipment that will allow us to effectively stream the services from the balcony, freeing up the main level for people to join us once again.
All of this will take us some time ─ and maybe a little trial and error, too.
But with all that said, again,we are getting closer!We should all be very excited about that. At the same time, even when we do enter Phase 1, it will be the beginning of a very long and patient process. Not everyone will be able to join us for quite some time. And until we're all gathering again each week, we will need to go above and beyond to protect the unity and fellowship of our church.
These are strange times ─ it’s true ─ but this is also a very worthy cause.
As Paul encourages us in Ephesians 4:1-3:
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Thank you so much for your support, your patience, your encouragement, and your commitment to our church family throughout this entire process. This could easily be a very challenging process to pastor our church through, but you’ve all made it as smooth and simple as it possibly could be.
I’m grateful for that, and I’m very proud of our church.
Blessings, everybody! I miss you guys a ton.
Pastor, Redemption Church