Preparing to Launch! An Update from Pastor Paul on Re-Opening our Church campus
June 2nd, 2020
Dear KCC family,
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.” - Romans 15:13
I want to give you a quick update on our upcoming return to the worship center at Kerman Covenant. As you probably have heard, the federal, state, and our local officials have released the new guidelines for churches to return to their facilities. I am deeply grateful that our local government officials have been able to loosen the restrictions on shelter-in-place, so we are moving ahead with plans to return to campus.
For the time being, our focus will be on implementing safe practices for our return. Our KCC Leadership team has been meeting weekly for prayer and discernment, and we have been studying all state guidelines and CDC recommendations. Believe me, it's a lot of information to digest!
Right now, we are taking the steps to put in place best Covid-19 safety practices and procedures. But here’s the thing: we can’t return immediately. We are just not ready to re-open this Sunday! Like all churches, we have ordered a ton of stuff like sanitation stations and touchless thermometers; we have Chris Otto working on more masks; we are rearranging our church to ensure social distancing; and our custodians have been doing a stellar job on deep cleaning every nook and cranny on the campus.
In addition, we are also working on getting the technology ready for both live service and online engagement for the foreseeable future. In our recent survey of your plans to resume on-campus activities, many of you indicated you are ready to return to campus, but there are also many who said they are not yet ready to return to campus activities at this time. This is understandable. Please do what is best for you, and stay home if you are not ready to return to campus.
Whether you are ready to come back or wish to take more time at home, we want to make every effort for both on-campus and at-home worship experiences to be high quality and inspirational. Wherever you are, our desire is to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and connect with one another.
No matter where you are in your discernment process concerning your own health and the health of those you care for, our mission doesn’t change. It is important that we remember that the Church is the gathered people of God—no matter how we are gathered. I know we all long to be back together with our church family under one roof, but we are no less a church virtually than when we share the same physical space. While things may seem different and difficult for a while longer, we are the same church and the same family; let us continue to care for one another and encourage one another. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we will overcome and press on!
There are a few things I would like to highlight regarding what to expect when we return to campus:
• According to state guidelines, the maximum number of people we can host for any given service is 100. That’s not a big issue for KCC but La Vina will need to do some creative things to accommodate their congregation. They may take more time before they return to campus, and we want to do everything we can to support them in their process.
• When you arrive at the church campus, you will make your way first to the patio, where there will be a welcome station with hand sanitizer and masks available. A greeter will also offer to take your temperature with a digital thermometer. Instead of entering through the foyer, there will be a one-way entrance from the patio into the main room of the worship center. We are asking everyone to sit in the chairs that will be arranged six feet apart, with families seated together.
• When you enter the sanctuary, expect to see a new configuration (your favorite chair and row will not be there!). We are rearranging chairs so that everyone will be more spread out, in clusters of 2 or 3 or 4. We will update you in the very near future on how this will look.
• At the close of the service, we will all exit through the patio doors as usual, beginning with the back rows closest to the doors. After the service, there will be no refreshments or Bible study. To keep high-touch areas to a minimum, all doors to the sanctuary will remain open.
So when are we going to return? Soon! Not this Sunday but sometime in June. We definitely have a target date in mind, but I want to make sure we have all the moving parts in place. This is a time where we want to lean—not on our own understanding—but trust God with his plan, his purpose, and his timing. So stay tuned for more updates.
Finally, I want to thank you. Thank you for praying, for your patience and understanding, and for continuing to financially support our mission. In the meantime, if you have any questions about our re-entry process, please call me at the church office at 559-846-5307. I would love to hear how you are and how we can pray for you. Thank you for caring for one another. Please keep it up! Shine brightly where you are, and allow God to use you as He chooses.
Hope to see you online this Sunday, June 7, at 10 a.m.
A letter from Kerman Covenant Church Leadership.
May 16, 2020
Greetings members, friends, and families of Kerman Covenant Church,
Grace and Peace to you! I wanted to give you an update from the leadership team. We have been meeting and praying throughout this pandemic, though the meetings have been Zoom video conferences. While we have sought the Lord’s leading together, it has been a major challenge to overcome the disconnected feeling that such communication leaves us. We are grateful that technology has allowed us to still act as the leadership team on behalf of you, our congregation. In a similar fashion, we are all immensely pleased that our online church services have kept our worshipping community connected to God, his Word, and his people. Yet, the disconnected feeling remains.
Last Tuesday, the team felt comfortable enough to meet in person. We met outdoors and with appropriate distancing. It was good to be in the same “room” again. We know that all of us long to be together as the body of Christ, in person, present with one another. However, it is not news to any of us that significant challenges remain before our sanctuary can be filled again with the people of God worshipping our risen Savior.
The slight easing of the shelter in place guidelines have us looking towards the steps of reopening. This is not a simple matter of reopening the doors and resuming all activities. We have been praying and collaborating for a couple of weeks to find a safe and wise process. The leadership team decided to “test the waters” of meeting again by okaying the Men’s Thursday Morning Bible study to once again use the side room of the main building to gather. With some opting for the Zoom connection, we were less than 10 people and we kept the appropriate distance from each other. It was a good start to resuming normal activities. However, one meeting of one group does not mean all avenues are open. That would not be a wise course of action.
In the upcoming days, it may be appropriate for smaller groups to come together. If you are a part of a group comfortable enough to meet, your leadership team asks you to consider several things. The first is to recognize that not everyone has the same timeline or comfort level about resuming being together in person. All parts of the body are to be respected and honored! We are all gifted by the same Holy Spirit and no one’s voice is more nor less valuable than another. We must allow each other to approach our individual situations as we see fit. Secondly, consider if meeting outdoors would work. Could you meet at a home? Our church has been forced to reconsider what it means to be the Church and many of us realize that smaller groups, in our homes, can and should be a valuable part of our fellowship in the future. Also, can you use Zoom or something similar, to accommodate those unable to or uncomfortable with meeting in person? These are some of the guidelines we ask you to consider. If you want to pursue an on-campus meeting, we ask you to first gain approval from the staff and leadership team. There are many issues to deal with, so at this time we will be considering meetings on a case by case basis.
When it comes to meeting for all church worship, the issues multiply. The guidelines for larger meetings are not clear. Whose guidelines do we follow? The state? The county? The city? Do we simply pick the one that more closely follows our own opinions? How does our church’s decisions impact our sister church La Viña and our ministry collaboration with Kerman Christian School? Sanitation, seating, and singing are but a few of the considerations, and those are just the ones starting with the letter “S”! The leadership team is working on plans that address all these issues to the best of our ability. We want to meet in person as the body of Christ! We have been called to patience in these unusual times. The leadership team wants you to know we are cautiously optimistic that we are moving towards reopening. However, I have no date to announce at this time. Pray, pray, and pray again that we might make wise Spirit lead decisions as we take this journey together. Thank you for being a valuable member of the body of Christ. Please do not hesitate to contact your leadership team members. We are here to serve you. I hope to “see” you online at church this Sunday!