COVID OPTIONS & PRACTICES

When our children where young and still at home, Kathy & I would periodically call a Family Conversation. When a serious issue arose or a significant decision was made,...we would call a Family Conversation to resolve that issue or explain our decision. This is a Church Family Conversation because there is a serious issue before us, and the leadership has made a significant decision. The issues is COVID 19 and the decision is concerning masks and in person gatherings.

There are several realities we are all dealing with:
1. COVID is real and dangerous to many people.
2. There is a significant spike in cases in our state and county.
3. There is a lot of conflicting information and uncertainty about masks.
4. People are distressed and divided:
o Some are staying away because they are being asked to wear a mask.
o Some are staying away because some in attendance don’t wear masks.
o Some are staying away because of symptoms, vulnerability, or caution.

There are a number of things we all agree on:
• We all want to have in person services.
• We all want to minimize the risk of infection and spread of the virus.
• We all want to create an atmosphere of safety & unity.
• We have been blessed so far, but if we have any kind of outbreak we will have to go to online only services and have to cancel our Christmas plans.

There are a number of options available to us:
1. Leave it the way it is ➝ confusion & frustration / Risks – exposure, outbreak,& division
2. Go to online services only.
3. Close off the balcony or make it a no mask zone.
4. Start a second services ➝ one where masks are recommended & one where masks are required.
5. The leadership agrees that none of these options are viable or necessary at this time in light of the current needs, restrictions, and resources.

The preferred option is to approach this as a teaching moment and growth opportunity:
• Throughout the New Testament there are a number of “one another” passages where Christians are to consider and defer to one another: love / honor / bear with / member of /devoted to / same mind with / accept / admonish / serve / submit / encourage / bear one another’s burdens.
• Philippians 2:3-5 challenges us to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude as Christ Jesus.”
• From these and other passages, we draw these conclusions:
o Christians should be willing to place others’ needs above their own.
o Our consideration & regard for others may result in inconvenience or sacrifice.
o Compliance with a request or mandate is not necessarily compromise of a principle or conviction.
o The integrity and unity of the church is of utmost importance!

That said….after diligent study and prayerful consideration, the leadership of NorthPark Church has made the following decisions based on the current information and circumstances:
• We ask you to use your best judgment about whether or not you should come to in-person services at this moment.
o Some have good reasons to stay home right now. If that is you, we encourage you to do so and hope you will watch the live stream at www.northpark.church.
If you do come, we ask that you follow the required safety protocols which are:
1. Socially distance yourself from others.
2. Use of the hand sanitizing stations setup throughout the building.
3. Sit with your family or those you came with.
4. Wear your mask the entire time you are in the building.
• We don’t want to be insensitive, offensive, or bullish but we are committed to these basic practices, which we consider to be reasonable and responsible in light of this                current crisis.

In addition, due to the local spike in cases and the number of people who have been exposed,…we are cancelling the final Wednesday Night Family Worship & Study on December 16th.
• We are committed to continue with our current in-person and online worship at 10:45 am each Sunday morning.
• And at this point, we are still planning to host two Christmas gatherings:
o Family Christmas Service – Wednesday, December 23rd at 6:00 pm
o Come & Go Communion – Thursday, December 24th from 6:00 to 7:00 pm

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to one of the Governance Board members or any of the Church Staff. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed about any necessary changes or cancellations. Thank you for your concern and cooperation in keeping NorthPark Church open and a safe place to worship. May God continue to guide and guard us as we seek to serve and honor Him.