There have been questions and new developments over the weekend regarding the guidelines and precautions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The country, the state and the city have continued to offer increasingly stricter mandates. The U.S. president just yesterday issued guidelines encouraging the public to stay home whenever possible and avoid gatherings of 10 or more individuals.
Accordingly, below is direction that has been given on specific issues and questions that have come up. We are giving this direction in order to both comply with government mandates and to assist our communities to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Firstly, please note that in addition to what is listed below, the State of California has called for all individuals 65 and older to stay home and self-isolate at this time. Our pastoral staff, if they are 65 or older, will be complying with this.
As noted previously, this situation is extremely fluid and these guidelines may change at any time due to the rapidly changing mandates from governmental entities.
Small Groups & Meetings
We have instructed our pastors that there be no small groups or meetings allowed within our churches or be sponsored or encouraged to occur in the community at member homes or elsewhere. Church committees should take place by telephone only.
Worship Service Livestreaming Crew
We have instructed our pastors that there be no more than 10 individuals may be physically present at the church facility on Sabbath for the purpose of facilitating or livestreaming the service; these individuals must keep all social distancing and hygiene practices at all times.
Each church has been permitted to make the decision to allow their on-site employees to work if they wish. If the church permits employees to work on the premises, proper social distancing must be practiced (hand hygiene, wiping down of commonly touched surfaces, i.e., doorknobs, etc.). Still, if federal, state or local authorities require complete closure and no on-site work, the church will need to comply.
Pastors may see individual parishioners and their immediate family group at the church as long as appropriate social distancing and hygiene is maintained. Individual church members should work with their local pastor to determine times to assure that the pastor is available and that there are not more than one family on campus at a time to see the pastor.
Some churches have asked about personal ministry to the elderly and those who cannot leave their home. This is a wonderful idea and is encouraged, once again, as long as social distancing and hygiene is practiced. For example, if members bring groceries to an older individual, the groceries must be left on the doorstep, or if the resident is unable to pick up groceries at the door can deliver in the home to a location determined by the resident, but members are to avoid touching surfaces and maintain 6-foot distancing.
These ministries may continue; a proper procedure for implementing social distancing must be in place and individuals may not be permitted to congregate while waiting. The individuals distributing food must practice proper hand hygiene, and the food items must be bagged by our volunteers to help prevent surface spread via handling of fresh items by the public. If the facility or area being used has only one entry or exit, the church must set up a process to prevent two-way traffic through a single doorway or any narrow space.
Due to new governmental communication recognizing the essential nature of food service, personal ministry and food bank ministry have been permitted to continue.
These guidelines, while they may seem harsh, are practical steps we can take to protect the lives and well-being of our loved ones and those we serve. Our employees and members are our top priority; these restrictions are set in place for your health and safety. We thank you for working with us to look out for those who are most vulnerable and do our part to protect them.
Please join us in continued prayer for our country and our communities. May we seek the Lord for renewed faith day by day, as we trust that He will continue to sustain and protect us during these challenging times. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV).