May, 31 2020
It’s been a long time, but in God’s goodness we’re meeting together again on May 31! We’re starting with a phased approach as we both ease back into things and seek to protect the health of our members.
We will be rotating attendance by shepherding group. You and your group will be sent an email letting you know if you’re scheduled for AM or PM the coming Sunday. If you’re scheduled to serve both services (i.e. usher, music, AV, security, deacon of the month) then you and your family are on for both regardless of shepherding group.
We strongly advise at-risk individuals (those over 65 or with compromised immune systems) to watch the live-stream service from home. We also ask that those demonstrating sickness to stay home and contact their doctors. (And as always, if you fall into one of these categories and are in need, please contact an elder or deacon, they’d love to help!) We encourage wearing a mask, we’ll try to have masks available for use.
When you arrive, greeters will be at the door to welcome you with a wave. Bulletins will be available as usual. When you enter the sanctuary, please have your entire family sit together. We’ll be blocking off every other row in the sanctuary to allow for distancing. The first week, ushers will help you find your seat. There will also be additional seating available in the foyer if the sanctuary looks more crowded than you’re comfortable with. Doors to the church and sanctuary will be open to minimize the number of touchpoints along the way. All doors and such will be cleaned before and during services. We’ll be using the screen for singing, please bring your own Bible.
When we start, we’ll be singing two songs and a doxology, and look forward to adding in more as the weeks continue.
After church, please wait for the ushers to dismiss your row. The ushers will be carrying baskets for collecting offerings. Once dismissed, please exit the building. There’s not enough space in the foyer to accommodate everybody, so we’re omitting coffee hour at this time.
As part of the phase-in process, no nursery will be provided May 31. It will start again on June 7.
The past few weeks have been challenging in different ways to all of us, and we give thanks to God for His sustaining hand through this. You will likely find yourself disagreeing with fellow members in the response to the virus and what to do now, whether you think it’s too strict or not strict enough. Remember the grace Christ showed you and show that same grace to each other.
We know that this is not the normal we’re used to, but we’re also all getting used to normal not being normal anymore. We will continue to revise our guidelines as it is appropriate to do so. Thank you for your patience, and we greatly look forward to worshiping under the same roof with you again! If you have any questions, please contact your elder.
March 18, 2020
As you are well aware, the CDC and Presidential COVID-19 Task Force have changed the recommendations for in person meeting groups. In light of this, we will not be holding live worship services for the time being. Instead we will have Scripture reading, prayer, songs and a message by our Pastors. These will be posted on our YouTube channel at our normal worship service times. We encourage you to participate in this manner by tuning in on your television, iPad, phone or computer. We will resend the links for this later in the week. Please let us know if you need help with getting this set up.
We are not sure how long this will need to continue, but we will be in contact with you as needed. Please continue in prayer for our church, community, nation, and world during this difficult time. Remember that Jesus is our solid rock in changing times.
“His oath His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my Hope and Stay
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand
Please contact the pastors, Elders, or Deacons if you have needs that arise. Also let us know of others who may have needs both within and outside of our church family. We love each of you and are grateful that we can minister to each other in the name of our Lord and Savior in such a time as this.
The Session and COVID-19 task force
The Redeemer COVID-19 task force set up by the session has been monitoring the virus related events and recommendations by local and state authorities. We are planning to still have both worship services this Sunday. We will be cancelling Sunday School and other events for the time being. We recommend as per our original communication that high risk individuals such as those 65 and older, families with children 5 and under, and those with compromised immune systems or on immune-suppressant medications seriously consider staying home and joining the services on live stream. We, however, want to be mindful not to bind your conscience on these things. We ask that you prayerfully consider the appropriate way for you and your family to worship during this epidemic.
Finally, please stay home if you have significant respiratory symptoms such as cough or wheezing, especially in conjunction with a fever greater than 100.5. Please also refrain from hand shakes and other contact unless necessary.
Remember the Lord is our high tower and refuge even through epidemics!
Please feel free to contact one of the pastors or elders if you have further questions or concerns.
In Christ Alone,
The Redeemer COVID-19 TaskForce
The session has asked that a task force to be set up for Redeemer OPC regarding the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus pandemic. We believe there are two dangerous extremes when approaching such a circumstance as this. One is to respond with panic and undue fear along with hype about the disease, the other is to ignore it completely or downplay the legitimate concern and unnecessarily put others who may be vulnerable at risk. Our approach is to take the advice of local and national authorities in a prudent fashion while also helping one another as needed thus reflecting our true nature as the family of God.
To that end, we believe there are some clear measures that apply now at the early onset of the disease cycle. Older individuals greater then 65 and very young are most at risk with the virus. Also at risk are those who may have weak immune systems or are on immune suppressing medications. We recommend that these individuals at most risk consider staying home and instead watch the services on live stream until the risk decreases. Those who are not at high risk should also take some extra precautions. If one has a fever with respiratory symptoms such as cough or wheezing, they should stay home and consider contacting their health care practitioner. Those who have no such symptoms should use extra precautions while at church or in public venues. Wash hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds after going to the bathroom or having any significant contact with other people. Also, use of alcohol hand sanitizers is recommended. In fact, using hand sanitizers after washing and drying offers extra protection. To that end the Deacons will be making sure the hand sanitizer stations at church are filled and that contact surfaces such as door hands and touch points will be cleaned regularly including multiple times during the services. We are recommending no handshakes or fist bumps. Verbal greetings should suffice during this pandemic.
The task force will also be making further recommendations for future action if the disease progresses here in West Michigan. This will be done in consultation with local authorities as well. Some parts of the country are encouraging more members to watch the services by live-stream to limit crowd size. We will have plans in place to implement this if needed.
Finally, if any member needs assistance, please reach out to your Deacon or Elder. Those at higher risk may desire someone to get groceries and do errands to avoid exposure to the virus. Feel free to contact the church office, Pastors, or church officers.
Remember, our God is Sovereign and all things are in His hand. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah.” Psalm 46:1-3