Greetings from your Continuity of Ministry Committee,
This group is comprised of our pastors and members of our church from various backgrounds such as business, education and the medical field that are volunteering to help make as much sense as possible of all the information coming our way regarding COVID-19. We are not experts in epidemiology or infectious disease, but we do listen to those who are, and we are working our hardest to represent the best interest of our congregation with the information available to us. It is important for the committee and for the congregation of OSLC that we provide transparency on how decisions are made that effect the gathering of our flock amid the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. We want you to know that we do not take our decision-making lightly and we, as much as anyone, long for the day when we may all be together again safely!
Here is a brief re-cap of the decisions we’ve made in the past 11 months:
- March – Made a decision to suspend in-person worship and meetings. Came up with plan for virtual worship formats (a valuable new calling).
- June – Made a decision to resume in-person worship and meetings in a limited capacity while continuing to provide virtual worship formats.
- December – Made a very tough decision to suspend in-person worship again due to rising case loads.
- February – Put a plan in place for parking lot meetings last Sunday of the month.
- TBD – We look forward to making the decision to resume in-person worship again as soon as it’s safe to do so.
How we as a committee make decisions:
- The primary goal of our decisions is to keep our members, our families, and our pastors safe while continuing to serve God and serve our neighbors, which is why prayer is our number one “go to” — privately and corporately.
- We regularly scour the CDC website for the latest updates from the experts on the topics of highest importance as well as monitor the latest recommendations of our local and state governments.
- We take into consideration the advice and guidance given to us from the Synod and larger church.
- We keep abreast of what other congregations in our area (and areas similar to ours) are doing to provide worship and other opportunities for their congregations in these unique times.
- Since a handful of us work in the healthcare industry we keep an eye on what is happening in and around our local institutions — visitation policies, capacity, elective surgeries being cancelled, percentage of COVID patients, etc., as well as state and national trends for hospitalization rates and so on.
- Last, but not least, we mix in some common sense and open, honest, sometimes rather intense, conversation and a willingness to work together with an eye on our #1 goal of making the best decisions for the greatest good of our congregation and community.
As you can appreciate, this process is not easy and there is no playbook or definition of how to get this “right”. We welcome your thoughts, concerns and suggestions with the understanding that we will continue to follow the above process in careful and prayerful consideration of your feedback. Please email the church office with anything you would like sent on to the committee for review. We will continue to strive, with your support and prayers, to do our best to modify our recommendations as the situation, science and guidance continue to evolve.