Following lengthy prayerful discussion, the elders of Burning Hearts Community Church have reached unanimous consensus on the following guidelines for Burning Hearts to again begin meeting. All that you read below is based upon the idea that the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak will remain neither significantly better nor worse than it is at this time.
1. We will reopen on June 7. Should there be a significant spike (worsening) in the coronavirus in our area, as evidenced over a 2-week period, prior to that date our reopening will be delayed. Should such a worsening take place after we have begun meeting, we will discuss returning to our current status of having no public meetings.
2. In order to abide by the CDC guideline of recommended social distancing, the chairs in the worship space will be arranged in a manner that will preserve that distancing. Family units may sit together. Also, because of the distancing guideline, there will be no nursery and no children's classes. Handshakes, hugs, "holy kisses" or any other intimate contact with one another will be discouraged. Elbow and toe bumps will be, at least in the foreseeable future, the new normal. Will this be strange? Yes. Can we live with it for awhile? We need to.
3. There will be two service times: 9 am and 10:45 am. More time is being built into the 2 service times so as to allow for sanitizing, avoidance of congestion between those coming and going, etc.
4. Not everyone should come to church. If an individual is considered "high risk" we would discourage that person from attending. Clearly if one feels at all sick, as always, they should not attend. So as to help keep the building environment safe, the forehead temperature of all will be taken at the entry door. Any with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be sent home.
5. In both services, ushers will wear masks and gloves.
6. The service will be available for watching, at home, on Sunday morning. Whether that will be pre-recorded (as we are currently doing) or live has yet to be determined.
So that is where we are. We have been assured by an Assistant U.S. Attorney (two steps down from the Attorney General of the United States) that our meeting is both constitutionally protected and will be defended by the Department of Justice should there be any question. It is expected that many churches, once our area is deemed "yellow" (as opposed to "red"), will begin meeting. Our concern is that given our county's great presence of nursing home facilities, that re-designation could be many months away.
These have been difficult decisions. The results of the survey (sent to Burning Hearts congregants) reflected a wide diversity of opinions. What we have outlined above is our best attempt at respecting these varied opinions.
All are loved and all are highly regarded. We hope and pray that not only will you find this plan for reopening acceptable but that you might also embrace it. June 7. Mark it on your calendar!
And yes, someday, all of this shall pass.