Last week Governor Ivey amended her “Safer at Home” order to allow for churches to resume gatherings. Her only stipulation was that churches maintain a six-foot distance between persons from different households. Since that time, however, her office has released a fuller list of protocols based on guidelines developed by the Center for Disease Control. You can access those updated protocols at https://alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/assets/cov-sah-worship.pdf.
Our Advisory Team for resuming operations at MBBC has been in diligent conversation about how our church might proceed toward reopening in a responsible, gradual, and flexible way. They made available to our membership this past Sunday a survey that has generated significant response. They will look at that response and come up with a plan for resuming large gatherings and a tentative start date, which we then will communicate with the membership.
For now, we will attempt to reopen the church office on Monday, May 18, for daily operations. A skeleton crew will be at the church, consisting of a receptionist, our custodians, a couple of support staff, and Vince Blackerby. Most ministerial staff will still be working from home, but I would anticipate many of them to be in and out of the office. Our goal is to balance staff safety with a greater responsiveness to congregational needs. So, if you need to call the office, someone will be present to answer the phone. Or, if you need to drop by, someone will be present to assist you. We only ask that you be prepared to see staff wearing masks when they interact with the public, and we would ask that in consideration of them and others, you wear one too. As our health care providers remind us, taking these precautions as we begin to venture out in public is the best way to make sure that we don’t contribute to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Only the doors to the receptionist office will be open. The CLC will remain closed, both the exercise room and the gym. The kitchen will also be closed. We will continue to share together our Sunday worship, Sunday Morning Bible Study, and midweek activities virtually. Again, think responsible, gradual, and flexible. We want to crack the door open, see how things go, do our best to ensure everyone’s safety, and be able to adjust as necessary. So, stay tuned as we move forward with this process. We will let you know our plans as quickly as possible so that you can be prepared to participate as you feel led.
Our membership has been so supportive to this point. Being an online church has enabled us to see the value of offering so much of our ministry in virtual ways. However, a virtual approach is not a sustainable one by itself. People will want to be together…sooner rather than later. My objective is to do so in a way that doesn’t put anyone in harm’s way. Thus the crack in the door.
That image reminds me of the famous line in the late Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem.” The line goes: “Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack…in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” No plan is perfect, but this one is offered with a pure heart; and surely you remember what Jesus said about such a heart. May that hold true for each of us…and all of us together.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”(Matthew 5:8).