[1/21/21] 2021 COVID Update
Since Thanksgiving, there have been increases of COVID cases in our community and increases within our church family. With new cases continuing to show up around us, we wanted to send along a reminder to be aware, be vigilant and, while with us on Sundays, please wear a mask and practice distancing.
As pastors at Genesis, we feel enormous responsibility for the well-being of our church (Acts 20:28). We are concerned how we, as a body, represent Jesus, and we are concerned for each member’s own walk with Jesus (1 Pet 5:1-4). And, yes, we are even concerned for people’s physical health (Jas 5:14).
We, your pastors, are not medical professionals. We seek the best counsel we can and make the best decisions we are able to. We make these decisions knowing the following:
- Everyone has been affected by this virus and is worn down (so we want to be compassionate and loving in our approach [Rom 12:10]).
- We are all trying to do what we can (so we want to be gracious with one another [Col 3:12-13]).
- Our precautions cannot ensure physical health (so we want to be honest with our weaknesses [Jas 4:13-14]).
- We know that not everyone will agree with our precautions (so we want to be upright before the Lord, to whom we give an account [Heb 13:17]).
As a reminder, if you are with us indoors, our expectation has been that all people ten and up wear a mask during the service and practice physical distancing. We have asked worshippers to wear a mask through all portions but the sermon, but we encourage wearing it the entire time. Since our original communication in the spring mentioned we did not want to require masks, perhaps this newer expectation has caused some confusion. Forgive us for that confusion. Our intent is not to be protocol police. However, if you are not comfortable in a mask but want to be present, then we’d ask you to worship outdoors. Our options have as their aim the inclusion of as many people together as possible.
We ask these precautions of one another because they are beneficial. We are grieved at how divisive some of these issues have been for Christ’s church (and, thus, must be a matter of prayer for us all). Still, we believe that these precautions help us be together. They allow us to serve our brothers and sisters who are present all morning and into the afternoon—making the service possible. They also show deference to those who are more vulnerable but want to be present. As a church, our ultimate vindication is not in whether our precautions were better than another’s, but in the love and grace we show to one another as we serve our Lord during a time of extended stress and anxiety for many (Phil 4:5).
Over the past ten months we’ve continued—as a church family—to navigate the myriad issues that come with COVID. All of us have done this together. Thank you for that. Thank you for joining us in this renewed effort, too. Let’s not grow weary as we gather together and enter into a new year (Gal 6:9).