Covid-19-May 6 updates

updates: May 6, 2020 12:00p

On Friday, May 1st Gov. Holcomb shared guidelines for the reopening of the State of Indiana.  Those guidelines also included helpful information for churches.  The guide, titled Back on Track Indiana lifted restrictions for churches but still encouraged them to support the fight against COVID through safety measures like social distancing.  As an Eldership, we have reviewed those recommendations and worked with the staff to determine the procedure for reopening Fair Haven Christian Church.  Our goal as Elders was to weigh the safety of the church with the desire we all have to resume in-person worship.  This letter is intended to give you the initial information regarding the reopening.  The staff has been working to organize the details of the reopening following the guidelines of the Eldership.  We are creating a comprehensive document that will be made available detailing reopening.  As there are recommendations that are still forthcoming regarding best practices for churches, it is necessary to delay distributing Fair Haven’s comprehensive plan.  

               In the meantime, I want to share with you the information that we do know.  First, we are targeting June 14th, 2020 as our first Sunday open for in-person worship.  This coincides with stage 4 of the Back on Track Indiana plan.  It is important to note that we are targeting this date because of the recommendations contained in stage 4.  Should the State determine it necessary to delay moving into stage 4 on June 14th, reconsideration of our reopening date will likely follow.  Second, we will continue to offer our online streaming services.  For those who fall into the high-risk category because of age or medical history, it is our recommendation (and that of Indiana) that you continue to participate in our online services only. There are three main groups of people at Fair Haven.  First, those who are ready to return to in-person worship immediately.  Second, those who would like to return but are cautious and worried about safety.  Third, those who are at high risk and have been encouraged not to attend.   As a staff, we are working to creatively minister to the needs of those in each group.  For those who fall in the last category of at-risk individuals; I want you to know that we have a special heart for you through this season. The staff and elders are dedicated to keeping you connected with the rest of the church for as long as the social distancing practices are recommended.  A staff member or volunteer will be reaching out to high-risk individuals to help keep you connected through this season.  For those cautious about reopening, we expect the forthcoming plans to mitigate some concerns over meeting.  Our goal is to follow the recommendations and best practices of medical officials in our state.  As that information is made available, we will answer any questions you have regarding reopening.  Finally, if you relate to those ready to meet again immediately, I ask that you seek patience and trust from the Lord.  We learned last week in Philippians that each of us should look to the interest of others instead of our own. Our church would surely be strengthened by heeding those words.

               Again, this letter is only intended to introduce our reopening plan. We will distribute compressive plans as they are completed. As we continue to meet online I would encourage you to try out some of the methods of connecting with others in the church. If you watch on our website, drop a comment or question into the chatbox. If you watch via youtube on a TV, try also going to the website on your phone.  Pause the phone video but still participate in the chat. Also each week we host video prayer rooms. This week we are expanding that to include a virtual foyer. Go to before and after our online services on Sunday mornings.  Visit with friends, ask questions, meet the pastor, request prayer.  You will need a free Zoom account to join the foyer. If you need help setting up the account, let us know in the church office.  You might also consider hosting a watch party at your house for neighbors or friends.  As restrictions lift, and you are comfortable, watching the Sunday service with a few other people will be a great encouragement and reminder of the blessing of worshipping together.    

Finally, we believe that everyone can have a spiritual breakthrough during COVID-19.  If God has been working on your heart through this season and you are ready to make a decision for the Lord and be baptized, I would love to hear from you.  We can help facilitate a baptism at Fair Haven in a way that is consistent with health recommendations and still allows friends and family to be present.  I am truly grateful for the patient, kind spirit of this church over the past few weeks.  Now as we begin looking ahead to reopening, I ask that you continue in that wonderful spirit.  I look forward to seeing you again.  May God bless you and keep you.

In Christ,
Brian T. Clark
Lead Pastor