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Important Sunday Service Reminder
New Life Service Update:
Hey New Life Family,
I wanted to take a moment to update you on where we are as we continue to work through dealing with the challenges of Covid-19 and the impact that it has had on the ways we are doing ministry here at New Life.
First of all, thank you for sticking with us through this process. I know this hasn’t been an easy time, and many of us are looking forward to the day when we’re done with all of these restrictions and can try to return to some semblance of normal again. While our team here at New Life has continued to seek opportunities for ministry and we have done our best to stay as connected with you as possible, it has certainly been a challenge. We miss seeing you here with us on Sunday mornings. We miss getting opportunities to meet with you throughout the week. We miss connecting with you face to face.
Over the last several weeks our staff and board have been having discussions and working on lining out our plans for how and when we will try to open up our building again for Sunday morning services and other ministries throughout the week. As we’ve been having these discussions, we have had several guiding principles that have helped shape the way we are making these decisions, and I thought it might be helpful to share some of them with you.
First, we want to make sure that when we do reopen for public in-person gatherings we will be able to provide a safe environment for everyone. This means things will look a little different than they have in the past. We ask for patience, flexibility, and a willingness to sacrifice so that we can reopen in a way that communicates love and care for others.
Second, we recognize that many people have approached this time differently. As a church, we are committed to respecting the thoughts and preferences of others and do not want to make anyone feel like they are lesser or non-spiritual because they have a different viewpoint. Some have felt ready to gather in-person for weeks now, while others may still not feel comfortable gathering publicly for a while. As we deal with the best way to navigate through re-opening with covid-19 concerns in mind, please hear this: showing up for an onsite gathering does not make a person more mature or godly than a person who chooses to stay home. Staying home and participating online does not make a person smarter or more caring than the person who chooses to gather in person.
Finally, we feel it is important that we honor and submit ourselves to the authorities, local, state, and national, who are making decisions and giving guidance for how to best navigate through this challenging time. This is a basic biblical principle and also a great way for us to make sure that we are being good neighbors and community members as we seek to follow God’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves.
With those things in mind, I want to outline for you our tentative plan. As I’m sure you understand, this plan is subject to change as circumstances in the days ahead may require us to rethink and adjust. So again, while we are planning on moving ahead according to this schedule, we recognize that it is a tentative plan that we may have to change.
So, with that in mind, we are planning on reopening our building for our first Sunday morning service on June 14th. We chose this date so that we could make sure to stay in line with the currently active city ordinance passed by the Pierre City Commission which mandates that there should be no gatherings of ten or more people in an enclosed place where there is not sufficient space for social distancing of six feet between people of different households. Not only does June 14th come after this ordinance expires, but it also gives us time to make some necessary adjustments in how we prepare for Sunday morning services.
In the weeks leading up to this date, we want to enter into a season of prayer as we seek God for His wisdom and favor not only for reopening, but for what He has in store for New Life in the days ahead. Over the last year we’ve seen God do some incredible things, and we know that He has more in store. We want to do everything we can to prepare ourselves for what He wants to do in and through us, so, we are going to be calling our church to join together for 21 days of prayer and fasting starting May 24th. As a part of this 21-day prayer challenge, we will be opening our building for prayer meetings on Sunday evenings from 4:30-5:30 on May 24, 31, and June 7.
Because these prayer meetings will be quite a bit different from a normal Sunday morning service, we are confident that we can comply with the currently active city ordinance and maintain appropriate social distancing. If you choose to join us for these prayer meetings, we will be asking you to help us stay in line with the city ordinance by refraining from handshakes, hugs and other physical contact, making sure to only sit in designated seating areas, and avoiding congregating inside of our building before and after the scheduled prayer time.
As we work through this time of reopening, please understand that we are not being motivated by fear, but rather a desire to love and protect the most vulnerable among us. There will be some changes to what has been normal at New Life, and the heart behind this is to make sure that we can show love, care, and compassion for those who are vulnerable.
As much as I would love to see every single one of you as soon as we open, if you are sick or showing symptoms, please stay home and continue watching online. If you are a person who is high risk for some reason, I want to encourage you to consider staying home and watching online as well. I say this not because we want you to feel unwelcome, but rather because we love you and want to make sure you stay safe and healthy.
In the coming days we will be releasing more information about our gatherings, some of the steps we are taking to prepare for opening our building up again, and the precautions we will be asking those who do come to take when they show up. As we get closer to these public meetings, please keep your eyes open for information regarding what to expect when we reopen. We also ask that you help us by sharing these updates with others.
I know this has been an incredibly difficult time for many of you, However, in the midst of this challenging time we are still filled with faith that God has been working and that He has incredible things in store for us. What God has been doing at New Life has not been stopped by covid-19, and we know that He has even greater things in store. The best is yet to come! We love you, we miss you, and we are excited to start seeing all of you again in the days ahead.
Praying God’s peace and grace for you and your family,
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