Letters to the Congregation
Video Updates with Pastor Dave
Video Update Below
Christ Community Covenant Church
July 24, 2020
FROM: Pastor Dave Scherrer
RE: Current church COVID-19 gathering policies responding to the July 16th Colorado state masking mandate as it applies to indoor public space and religious practices.
This correspondence is for Christ Community Covenant Church (4Cs) members, attenders and for those who might visit our campus for ministry programs and worship experiences.
As our church begins gathering again, our hope is that, by being clear on our attitudes and policies regarding this COVID-19 season, those who make 4Cs their spiritual/church home base will find understanding and comfort in knowing that we are prayerfully attending to the risks and hopes of our extended congregation.
History of 4Cs response to the COVID-19
- Throughout this COVID season we have made it clear that we are attending to the best advice possible. The authorities that we have employed are, among others, the Centers for Disease Control, Colorado state guidelines, Jefferson County guidelines, Arvada city guidelines and Jefferson County Public School policies.
- We recognize these guidelines while still understanding that all authorities on earth fall under the ultimate authority of our Jesus Christ. Our fellowship is resolutely submitted to the authority of Scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit as we fall under the Headship of Jesus Christ.
- Stating the obvious, in our community there are many opinions regarding the appropriate response to the COVID circumstances. Some consider the infection and the various responses to the risks to be an over-response and those with this opinion may believe that the isolation and disruption of education and business is more of a risk than the virus itself. Others see the virus as exceptionally dangerous and have dramatically adjusted their lifestyle to protect themselves and others from this perceived dangerous threat. The swings of emotion can be very dramatic.
- As you can imagine these vast differences of opinions tempt the leadership of 4Cs into a no-win stance. Depending on our policies we may please some and disappoint others. The concern is that any policy we may chose will alienate some and that some may leave our church.
- Frankly, I don’t accept the premise that we must all agree on the details to find a plan forward that perfectly honors each other and our God. Our 4Cs Relational Covenant (which you can find at https://www.4cs.church/about-4cs/our-mission-the-five-stones/) prescribes how we wrestle with the difficult decisions concerning both our world and our church lives. We at 4Cs all commit to these Biblical principles so as to disagree at times while seeking the unity of the Spirit that Christ prayed over us in the upper room.
- I am informed that over 130 state mandates have been released from the Governor’s office since the virus appeared in Colorado. It is a very complex time to keep informed. Federal and local guidelines also make it complicated for those of us looking for consistence and trustworthy advice. Medical professionals and research science seem to be all over the continuum as well. For many of us, we feel at a loss as how to get firm truth regarding this infection.
For instance, on the Colorado state COVID website, we are directed to maintain a 6 ft. social distance from each other. Then elsewhere, we hear stories that even 20 feet may not protect us. Now we read on the same Colorado state advisory webpage guidelines from the World Health Organization that advise us that 1 meter (39 inches) is an appropriate social distance. It’s very confusing!
- With these discrepancies in mind, on Thursday, July 16th Governor Polis issued a new mandatory mask policy for the next 30 days (you can find this at https://drive.google.com/file/d/13S9bLuKZbMVmHPucQnekVyOY2k6gYRa9/view).
- A careful read of this new document informs the reader that the policy is specifically written to address entering and leaving Indoor Public Space. It is not a mandate to wear masks all the time in all public settings – though that is commonly misunderstood. The exact quote is “all individuals over the age of ten must wear a covering over their nose and mouth when entering or moving within any Public Indoor Space.”
- The State of Colorado 7/16 mandate also states that businesses impacted by this new directive must post signage at the entrances to inform the public of this new policy.
- The State of Colorado 7/16 directive amends a previous State directive replacing the strong suggestion to mask up upon entering or leaving a public place (previously understood as ‘discretionary’) to now be understood as ‘mandatory.’
- This policy is in effect for 30 days or until midnight August 16th.
- FYI: Public Indoor Space does not refer to whether the property is privately or publicly held, but rather refers to common, public space found in a building. For 4Cs, that would include all space other than our personal offices.
Important: The policies concerning continued masking or unmasking assumes that appropriate social distancing can and is being maintained in a group setting. For instance:
- Restaurants will ask customers to mask up when entering, leaving, and when out of your seats (for instance, using the rest rooms) but will allow them to unmask at the table, whether they are eating or not. This is allowed as the restaurants have set the rooms up to assure appropriate social distancing.
IMPORTANT: 4Cs gathering experiences most often resemble this ‘restaurant’ scenario as we have set up our seating to include appropriate social distancing.
- On the other hand, retail businesses, since they cannot assure social distancing, fall under the state mandate to wear masks until appropriately social distanced. Using common sense, for most of us that means that once we get outside, reach our cars or get home, we can then unmask.
IMPORTANT: How all this impacts our 4Cs gathering policies for the next 30 days
- We are asking all staff and visitors to our 4Cs campus to mask up upon leaving your car until you reach your seat inside for the purposes of your visit. Seated with appropriate social distancing, you are free to unmask, though of course you are not required to unmask!
- Visitors to our campus will see that all staff are wearing masks in the building whenever they are not in their personal offices. I share this with you to help you understand the level of concern we have for each other and for you our congregation.
- For the next 30 days (August 16th, 2020), all staff and visitors will mask up when entering and leaving the property or when moving around where social distancing cannot be assured (moving from room to room, using the rest rooms, etc). Please note that there are exceptions to masking up that are granted in the state 7/16 document for health reasons and the like. 4Cs recognizes these exceptions. *
- Appropriate signage has been posted at the church entrances.
- Similarly, masking up practices for entering and leaving also includes our youth and children gathering ministries. Children over the age of ten and all youth are expected to wear masks in settings where social distancing cannot be assured. Consistently, when seated and social distancing can be assured, participants may unmask.
- Masking for all over the age of ten is required when one leaves their seats to move about the classroom, sanctuary, the over-all building or to leave the premise.
- As noted below (M-7) the approved exceptions also includes those ‘officiating’ (leading) a religious meeting. Therefore, we will not require leaders on the platform to mask up until they leave the stage.
*July 16th Executive Order Exemptions
The following individuals are exempt from the requirements of this Executive Order:
- Individuals ten (10) years old and younger; or
- Individuals who cannot medically tolerate a face covering.
M-7. Individuals performing the following activities are exempt from the requirements of this Executive Order while the activity is being performed:
- Individuals who are hearing impaired or otherwise disabled or who are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication;
- Individuals who are seated at a food service establishment;
- Individuals who are exercising alone or with others from the individual’s household and a face covering would interfere with the activity;
- Individuals who are receiving a personal service where the temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;
- Individuals who enter a business or receive services and are asked to temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes;
- Individuals who are actively engaged in a public safety role such as law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel;
- Individuals who are officiating at a religious service; or
- Individuals who are giving a speech for broadcast or an audience.
I am aware that these policies may seem too strict to you or too liberal. I invite you to pray with us and to invite the direction of the Holy Spirit over these matters. Regardless, as the Spirit directs you, I’d love to see you back in fellowship one to another.
What seems important to me is that increasingly, we gather to pray, worship and learn together. None of us are defined by our mask/non-mask preferences – We are defined by Jesus Christ and His priorities. Shower each other with grace and let’s find sweet communion in the 4Cs community of Jesus Christ.
June 24, 2020
Dear 4Cs Family,
In my most recent online PSA, I mentioned that the church staff and Council would be meeting Monday, June 22, to discuss and pray over plans to begin re-opening the church. We had that meeting and found the conversation and prayer over you, our church family, to be hopeful and helpful. We kept coming back to four key points:
- Our prayer is for unity and grace to be overflowing in our fellowship. We long to be that community of believers who demonstrate unusual care one for another – as Paul encourages us to put selfishness aside and to “Think of others as more important than yourself.” These are times of distress and distrust in our public discourse. The loving and healthy church that focuses on Jesus Christ and His grace and mercy will be well placed to take care of each other and to offer peace and hope to a troubled world.
- We long to open our church building to gathering ministries as soon as possible. We all felt that the gathering of the church for fellowship, prayers and worship will both be a blessing to Christ but will be life giving to us who long for the sweet communion of our community.
- We also long to open in a safe and person-centered manner. It will be important for us to provide a place where you and your family can know that we have given much thought to public health guidelines and care to our overall safety.
- We believe that the best policy is to over-communicate to the church about our current opening plans and policies so that we will all have, as best as possible, a good sense of what opening up looks like “4Cs Style.”
As we move forward, let me stress to each of you that you are your own best Health Care Provider! You know best if you are healthy enough and feel confident enough to start the process of re-engaging in these kinds of group settings. Please do not see these communications as a guilt trip that you should be coming back to church if you’re just not ready! Of course, if you aren’t feeling well or have a fever, the caring thing to do is to stay home and get well. That is always the best policy with contagious illnesses!
Here is the schedule as we see it today,
- This Sunday, June 28, is a test service for the purposes of exploring (and addressing) all the health and space issues that go along with healthy safe distances and the like. We’re doing this test run by invitation only with generally only staff, council and the worship team. The service will be streamed live at 10:30 am for all who care to go to our web homepage and join in. After the “live service” you can see it anytime in our archive of services. We have many safety and technical details to run through, so this test run is a big deal for us!
- On July 5, we’re having a “drive in” service in the parking lot. You are welcome to drive to the service, park in the north lot and we will have an outdoor celebration. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the outdoors with us in worship. You will be staying in/near your cars and the service will be less than an hour.
- On July 12, we’re planning to have our grand reopening, dedicating 3 rooms set up for live streaming to each room for the sermon. This will allow for more people to attend while maintaining our social distancing. At this point, we can only safely accommodate up to 70 in a room, but that includes the worship/tech/ministry/volunteers and must allow for social distancing – that in itself limits us for space.
For the time being, as we reopen, we are planning just one service at 10:30 am but in multiple rooms.
This will allow us to fully clean and disinfect the building before the congregation comes in and not need to redo it between services.
We will be asking that all attenders:
- Wear a mask from “seat to seat.” That means when you leave your car, please mask up and when you have found your seat in church, if you feel comfortable, you can unmask for worship. If you get up from your seat to use the restroom or to leave, we ask that you mask up again when social distancing will be harder.
- Please avoid handshakes and hugs. We encourage bright smiles and safe conversations!
- Be sure to RSVP to our emails as to whether you are intending to attend. We will be working hard so that each room (Worship Center, Fellowship Center and the youth Big Room) will all have a meaningful, person centered worship experience.
- Please watch for upcoming worship service details! Each room will have a separate entrance/exit unique to that room and specific restrooms to use.
There will be a learning curve for us all!!! Thanks in advance for your patience. We will be striving hard as staff to bring Spirit-led services that bring honor to God and a gathering experience that is safe and meaningful.
Pay close attention to our www.4Cs.church webpage, PSAs and other communications.
We invite your prayers for patience, endurance and the grace and peace of Christ that will guide us through these decisions.
Don’t forget to wash your hands!
May 7, 2020
Dear Church family,
The COVID-19 virus has impacted our personal lives dramatically and has placed many of the plans we had for the summer either on hold or cancelled altogether. The same is true for some 4Cs church plans as well.
The Mission trip to NAOMI scheduled for May 25-30 has been cancelled. We’d still like to send a smaller group later this summer to help the weary staff and discouraged kids, if possible. – contact Scott Parr if you’re interested.
The same is true for our high school Youth Mission trip to Memphis that was scheduled for July 19-25 is also cancelled. Also, our hopes for a trip for our Confirmation students this late spring/early summer must be cancelled for now. We regret that these very meaningful events cannot happen this summer as planned. We hope to find ways to experience missions and to celebrate graduations in fresh ways in the near future.
Our Kids Camp week (VBS) scheduled for the week of June 22nd is also a casualty of the virus and will be cancelled for this year. We gave serious thought to postponing the event later into the summer. This would pose considerable logistical challenges, including challenges to all the families and volunteers involved, and uncertainty about meeting restrictions remain. We decided it would be best to set families and volunteers free to enjoy family and vacation time this summer.
Friendship Tours has cancelled the trip to Israel in October but we are hoping to reschedule a trip into 2021. Please be watching for details on this opportunity.
We are still looking at ways that we can experience our Labor Day Weekend Family Camp, but probably closer to home, lower cost, and flexible to adapt to whatever precautions we are taking in September. Please watch for more info and save the date of September 5-7!
Please keep in prayer 4Cs and the participants of these various events who will be disappointed that we cannot offer them this summer. Of course, more details will be coming on alternative ways of connecting and we invite you to check out our website at www.4cs.church and if you have other questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office (x121) as well!!
March 18, 2020
Dear Church Family,
I have two things for you to make please make note of:
First, we have recently put on pause various ‘gathering’ events in light of the COVID 19 circumstances and the hopes of participating in the containment of this virus. As noted in a previous email, the events on pause here at the church include:
Tonight’s Third Wednesday evening prayer,
Tonight’s High Point for the teens,
Friday morning’s Male Call
And all related ministries sponsored on this Sunday morning, March 22, including gathering for worship, children and youth programming.
Second, I want you all to know that we are hoping to release this Sunday a menu of ministry options for you that will continue to serve your spiritual needs. Many of these will be options that you can watch with those you love by accessing them from our website.
I am gratified that so many of you logged in to catch the sermon and worship last Sunday. Let me encourage you that we will once again be posting a video sermon and worship expression that we can enjoy together this Sunday morning about 8:30am. I am particularly hopeful that most of you will catch the sermon. I believe that I have God-offered words from Scripture from Christ’s journey to the cross that will feed our minds, hearts and souls in this troubled time.
We who are on the Staff and Council of 4Cs are responding in deep prayer and we recognize that for us to serve you well we must be clear in our communications and kind in our attitudes. Toward that end, I will say that it would not surprise me if we will need to postpone our gathering ministries past the end of March, but for now I invite you to prayer, to our website and Facebook page (simply click the link on our homepage) for timely communication.
Again I am deeply hopeful that our response will be one of light, life and love to our fearful world. Peace to you my friends and my prayers for your steadfastness in Christ are deep and wide!
March 13, 2020
Dear Church Family,
As you know the Covid-19 dynamic is a very fluid phenomenon. Only two days ago I sent out an all church mail and email stating that our church services would go on as planned this week. That has changed. I have, after much prayer and conversation, made the decision to close our church services for this week and the next, March 15th and 22nd.
This decision is built on the civic directives of our Governor and on the Public School’s response and to respond with Christ’s love for our church and community. It is not a decision out of fear but out of our desire is to participate well in the containment of this virus.
To be clear, this closing will also include other large group gatherings:
Youth functions of Fusion and Highpoint for the next two weeks,
The next two Tuesday morning women studies and Male Call events,
Tuesday’s Together/KCCC and KICK ministries on Tuesdays March 17th and 31st
This Sunday’s Easter Choir practice.