August 24, 2021
Dear Church Family,
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)
Like all churches across the nation (and most of the globe), here at Church of the Redeemer we are continuing to make adjustments due to the changing dynamics of COVID-19 and all the various related ripple effects. This is not easy or fun. We all know that.
As we see infections rates spike across Georgia, as our local hospitals ICU beds are maxing out, and as we see children, unlike last year, being infected with COVID-19 and transmitting it to others, the elders have decided to re-institute several (what we hope to be) short-term measures to enable everyone to worship safely and feel that they and their children are safe when we’re together as a church family.
For all those reasons, in an abundance of caution in the face of so many unknowns, and for the sake of the weak and vulnerable in our family, the Session met last night and approved the following resolutions:
- That we postpone all indoor classes and events on the church campus except Sunday worship (supported by nursery for children birth – 3 years and additional childcare when we can do it safely) at least until Sunday October 3, OR until cases in Fulton County drop below 10 per 100K.
- That we continue celebrating communion as we have throughout the pandemic until October, or until our case-count target is met.
- That Refuge continue to meet outdoors on campus, weather permitting, and that all participants be masked if it becomes necessary to go indoors for any reason.
- That, for the time being, we return to requiring masks for all adults and children while indoors during church events.
- And that, in view of COTR’s policy, we strongly encourage all small groups to wear masks when meeting indoors. However, we give freedom to individual groups to determine by common consent among the participants both where (indoors, outdoors, online) and how they meet (masked or not, distanced or not, etc.).
We did not come by this decision lightly, but the reality is that, in our church and in many others, this uncertainty and lack of clarity on whether everyone should be wearing a mask or not, has led some of our families to feel like they must opt-out of participating in worship. Given that our children are unvaccinated and infection rates are spiking, that is understandable.
What’s more, this uncertainty has made it more challenging to recruit and retain the teachers, leaders, and helpers we need to fully staff our children’s ministry as well. If mask-wearing for a time can help remove a barrier to worship and serve for those who have those concerns, then that seems to be a worthwhile price to pay.
In all of this we are ultimately seeking the glory of God.
As you process this, I encourage you to read, reflect, and meditate on the passage from 1 Corinthians 10 above. As we make sacrifices to honor God and love our neighbor, may our Father help and sustain us, give us supernatural grace and patience, and deepen our love for him and each other.
I continue to lament all of this. Personally, I really hate wearing a mask. It irritates my face and dries out my mouth. But we do this for his glory and in an attempt to love our neighbors.
I continue to earnestly pray and plead with God that he would glorify himself in these trials.
Yours in Christ,