May 6, 2020
Parkview Family and Friends,
First, I want to thank you for your continued faithfulness during this time. You have been faithful in attending, participating in, and sharing our Facebook Live services. Because of your faithfulness these past seven weeks, approximately 10,000 newsfeeds have been reached in 18 states, plus Puerto Rico and Brazil. Even more reassuring, between 40-50 households are consistently watching each service live from start to finish. Your faithfulness has also been on display through your tithes and offerings. Whether you’re giving online, through the mail, or stopping by the church, you are being exemplary in supporting international and local missions, as well as the ongoing mission of our church. Thank you so much! Your faithfulness shows God is continuing to grow us into a healthy church.
There is much confusion in our communities concerning the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Virginia and West Virginia are on very different paths to normalcy. Throughout this ordeal, we have sought to be good citizens and follow the recommendations of our political leaders. With the ambiguity of Governor Northam’s current directives, that is becoming increasingly difficult. This Sunday, May 10th, we will worship in our homes on Facebook Live at 11:00, hopefully for the last time as the church scattered.
After consulting with Tazewell County and Town of Bluefield leadership, the deacons and I have decided to resume in-person gatherings on Sunday, May 17th, if nothing significant changes between now and then. In order to do that, while honoring the recommendations of our political leaders, we will implement several precautions.
- We will offer nearly identical 9:00 and 11:00 services. Each service will have a desired attendance of no more than 40. Any overflow will be seated in the Fellowship Hall.
- Masks and gloves will be offered and required by all except those on the platform. Leighia and her grandmother made over 80 masks for any who are not able to bring their own. We will have disposable gloves available for all.
- Ushers will seat all attendees immediately upon arrival (sorry if you aren’t able to choose your pew for a while). Every other pew will be vacant, and people will be seated with their family units. Family units will be appropriately “socially distanced” from other family units.
- Offering plates will be stationed in the back of the sanctuary and will not be passed.
- Hymnbooks and pew Bibles have been removed from the pews.
- Children’s Church, Nursery, and Busy Bags will NOT be available.
- Only the main bathrooms in the hallway will be available. The water fountain will not be available.
- We will dismiss by row to avoid crowding in the lobby.
- A cleaning team will sanitize door handles, bathrooms, and hard surfaces in the sanctuary between services.
- In-person Prayer Meetings will resume Wednesday, May 20th at 6:30. We will use masks and gloves and observe appropriate social distancing in the Fellowship Hall.
- Sunday School, Sunday evening New Life Core, and other church activities will remain on hold for now.
I need your help to attempt to balance attendance between the two services. Between now and Thursday morning, May 14th, please let me know which service you plan to attend. RSVP one of the following responses by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the church office weekdays between 9:00-1:00.
- I plan on attending the 9:00 service (number in your family unit who will be attending with you)
- I plan on attending the 11:00 service (number in your family unit who will be attending with you)
- I have no preference
If you indicate you have no preference, I will let you know by Friday, May 15th, which service to attend.
I realize some of you are hesitant to venture out at this time. If you are at significant risk due to age or health condition, I strongly urge you to continue to shelter-in-place. We will continue to broadcast our worship services on Facebook Live at 11:00 each Sunday, even though they will look and sound different than they have over the past seven weeks.
As with everything about this pandemic, this is not how I hoped things would happen. My desire was for us to finally re-gather with a huge celebration. Current circumstances will not allow for that. We will seek to do the best we can with what we have to work with. I encourage you to be as faithful in this next phase as you have been up until now. God’s faithfulness has been, and will continue to be, on display in your life. I’m blessed and thankful to be your pastor.