Community in Action

    I received a disturbing email yesterday. A pastor, I know in the tri-valley, is asking his congregation to gather on May 31st at their church. He is requesting they don’t come if not healthy in every way. He says that they will need to observe the six foot distance and no in-person touching is supposed to be done unless you are a member of that person’s immediate family.

    His reasoning is as follows, ”In consideration of the church being essential and exercising the same rights granted to other businesses, and considering the extremely low percentage of the population infected, here are the guidelines for the reopening of [Blank] Church on May 31st.”

    His shared this email with some of us after he had shared the same information at a fellowship gathering of pastors on zoom. His sharing was precipitated during a discussion as to how pastors were handling the current restrictions and what their plans were for the future.

    I replied to his email that I thought this was not a good idea. I agreed church’s are an essential business, but that we don’t need to exercise our rights to counter the mandates by the governor of California. I said our church has elected to abide by the protocols given to us by our state and county, not because we don’t believe we have rights, but because we are concerned about those around us.

    The whole point of Matthew 25:31-46 is to be concerned about “the least of these.” We, as Christians, are to be our brother and sister’s keeper. We are to give up our rights so we can accommodate the needs of those around us.

    I wear a mask, not for me, but for those with whom I come in contact. True, I often don’t wear a mask while walking with Joan, but I do have it with me so when others approach me within six feet I can put it on. I also put it on if those coming toward me already have theirs on as I try to be sensitive to their concerns.

    When will we as a church begin to gather again? I don’t know. I do know that the Worship Committee is giving us guidance on how to handle our current worship practices. As I reviewed the service of various churches on Youtube, I haven’t found any other church which has a band playing on the chancel as we do and I am grateful for all the work they put into to make this happen.

    In viewing other churches I noticed there are people without masks on the same platform or off to the side, but they are a good ten feet away from the speaker. I haven’t found a preacher yet, who is wearing a mask. l am making sure I am at least six feet away from others when I am doing the Call to Worship or praying during our service. When I preach the platform is cleared so I can move around a little more, thank you band for being will to move to the pews so I can do that.

    I think as we continue to celebrate our faith together it is good to keep up the protocols of protection. I also am grateful for others in the service helping me find a way to continue to preach and lead in worship.

    I hope that you look forward to some future time when we are all together as I do and am certain that this will happen not too distant in the future.

    Blessings to you and yours,

    Pastor Randy

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