AN ENCOURAGEMENT FROM THE PASTORAL TEAM
First, I want to thank all of you who so faithfully pray for CHBC and for those of us who are charged with leadership through this pandemic and the broader crisis we face as a nation. Your prayers give new strength every day.
Second, we want everyone to know that we are working very hard to provide a way for us to come back to our beautiful church campus on Broadway in the safest way possible. As you know already, we are continuing to celebrate worship online via our YouTube channel, Facebook Live, and our Website (colonialhills.com). During the month of June, we will also meet to worship in The Sanctuary on Saturday nights at 6:30 pm for services aimed at the younger group, and on Sunday mornings at 8:30 am aimed at seniors 55 and up. Sunday School for everyone is at 10:30 via Zoom. If you do not know how to log on to your Sunday School class, please call or email the office. We are working on a plan for a re-opening of some Sunday School rooms in the not so distant future and will communicate that as soon as we sense we are able to do so in a safe way without excluding anyone from participating.
To make sure we all stay safe, we have done an extensive job marking every pew in such a way that everyone can be seated with the proper 6ft distance or more. When you arrive, doors will be open and hand sanitizers be ready. You will be able to walk straight to your seat without having to touch anything. Furthermore, our cleaning crew will sanitize the sanctuary between the services.
To say that we are looking forward to the day when we again can see each other face to face without concern would be an understatement. Until then, we are grateful for technology and proper safety measures that allow us to see and hear each other despite physical distance. Please make it your habit to ask yourself daily if there's someone you could reach out to today!
As you can imagine, we stay in constant contact with authorities and medical professionals and we are thankful to have several of these in our own midst. Please read the letter below from Dr. Hurley.
Sincerely with prayers for God's visible hand in our midst.
A Note on Masks
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am excited that on-campus activities are restarting, and I look forward to seeing many of your faces over the coming weeks! The song from Cochran & Co, "I Wanna Go to Church" is playing in my heart right now.
As a practicing physician in this community and a member of this congregation for 20 years, I would like to implore you to wear a mask while on campus. There are several reasons for this.
First, it provides a layer of protection for others in the event that you are later found to be infected with COVID-19. Suppose you went to church without a mask and became sick with COVID-19 the next day or two. If you did not wear a mask at church, anyone who was within 6 feet of you for more than 15 minutes during your visit would likely be put on a 14-day quarantine, and some employers might require this even if it was only 3 minutes of contact time. If you did wear a mask, these individuals may be able to continue their normal activities yet self-monitor for symptoms, depending on the level of contact they had with you. Wearing a mask not only protects your family, friends, and community from getting the illness from you, it may also protect them from life disruption caused from quarantine. I do not say this because I want people to be afraid to come to church! I say this because we can come back to church with reasonable safety, yet it is best if we all wear masks.
Second, it provides a layer of protection for the person wearing the mask if they come in contact with someone who has COVID-19. While it is true that cloth masks do not provide the same level of protection as an N95 mask, it can be quite effective when added to other forms of social distancing. Depending on the level of contact you have with a person later found to be infected with COVID-19, the wearing of the mask may be the difference between going about your business with self-monitoring for illness, or being stuck at home on a 14-day quarantine. That reason alone should be enough to encourage people to wear a mask anywhere in public, not just at church.
Third, it is less likely to disrupt your life or cause angst if you were later found to have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or that you were sick with COVID-19 and exposed others. Everyone who died from COVID-19 got it from someone else. Sometimes this was from a relative or friend who loved them very much. Everyone who has had their life disrupted by quarantine got exposed by someone else.
So please wear your mask when you come to church! The mask should cover your nose and mouth, and should be left in place until you leave church. When you take the mask off and on, you should wash or sanitize your hands every time. Please wear the mask the whole time you are here, with the exception of teaching, performing, or preaching, as long as you will be 6 feet away from others at the front of the Sunday school class or on stage. Most people can tolerate masks fine once they get used to them. There may be some who will not, such as those with severe shortness of breath, autism, or very young children. I encourage you to see this not as a loss of freedom, yet rather as an act of love for others in this congregation, some of whom have high risk chronic diseases or would face severe financial consequences if they could not work for 2 weeks while on quarantine. While you might not be afraid of COVID-19, others in the congregation may be.
Let's do all we can to make this transition back to on-campus activities both fun and safe. Let's please all wear masks!
Janet Hurley MD
Medical Director of Population Health
CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic