You may remember that when the pandemic first became a cause for concern and cities began locking down that Parkview was one of the last churches to stop in person meetings because we believe the Sunday morning gathering is vitally important to the strengthening of Christ's church. Most churches closed on March 9. Our last service was March 16. Were closed for 8 weeks and during that time we were able to develop a strong online and social media presence. We reopened in May with a commitment to maintain the integrity of the Sunday morning worship service, so we kept everything off the calendar except the two Sunday morning worship services.
We canceled NextGen camps, modified VBS to accommodate only 5th graders and did what we could to keep everyone safe. As we got into the school year, we felt that it was safe to gather at different times during the week in order to maintain connections within our NextGen families. We also brought Life Groups back, adjusted our Sunday morning schedule, and began operating at what we hoped would become a new normal. Unfortunately, Covid-19 cases have surged and Parkview has experienced a sharp increases in cases among our church families.
With many of our volunteers either sick or quarantined, we believe we need to take some action in our programming that will help us finish 2020 safely. Our priority continues to be to protect the Sunday morning worship gathering. After consulting with our deacons, here is the plan for the remainder fo 2020:
1) All Life Groups and Next Gen ministries are canceled for the next two weeks, December 20 and 27. In addition to Sunday morning NextGen cancelations, for consistency, all NextGen Christmas parties and other gatherings will be canceled and the start date for Upward Basketball will be moved to January 4. These cancelations will reduce the number of people who attend our worship services in person and allow us to maintain strict social distancing protocols for both the 9:30 and 11:00 services. We trust that if you choose to not worship in person that you will stay connected through our online presence. You might also consider using this opportunity to teach your children what it looks like to sit as a family in church. As always, if you are experiencing symptoms of any kind of illness, such as a cold or sinus infection, please for the sake of caution and the safety of others, please stay home and worship with us online. We believe that by Sunday, January 3, we will be in a position to reopen our Sunday morning Life Groups and NextGen ministries.
2) We want to continue to be able to worship on Christmas Eve. Because of the crowds that we have experienced in the past, we believe it will be best to offer multiple worship services on Christmas Eve. This year we will hold three services: 4:00, 5:00, and 6:00pm. The services will last approximately 30 minutes which will give us 30 minutes in between to reset and disinfect. We will not have childcare, but we believe that the services are structures in a way that is conducive to family worship.
3) We had planned to start back live on Wednesday nights on January 6. We believe that we should maintain an online only presence for at least two weeks following the Christmas break to make sure that no spikes in Covid-19 come from traveling over the holidays. Our plan is to resume student worship on Wednesday, Jan 6 and then restart children’s ministry and in person midweek worship services on Wednesday, January 20.
Thank you for your prayers and your patience as we continue to find solutions to the problems of large group gatherings brought on by Covid-19. You have been a most generous and flexible congregation. Thank you!! If you have any questiosn, please feel free to contact the church office at 386-752-0681. I hope to see you this Sunday.