Recently, Governor Hogan lifted the stay-at-home order for the state of Maryland while emphasizing that we are “safer at home.” You probably have questions for what this means for church.
We might liken our current situation to that of an ice storm or blizzard. During such a storm, it may not be illegal for us to meet, but it may be unsafe or unwise to do so. It remains the concern of CUMC’s leadership and of our Bishop that when we do eventually return to our church property, that we re-enter well. We want to be certain that we have taken all appropriate measures to ensure that the risk of those attending worship in person is minimized.
For that reason, I and the Administrative Council have formed a “Re-entering Well Task Force.” This group of church leaders and medical professionals will meet next week in order to begin to make preparations for us to meet together in person. I expect it to take several weeks, at a minimum, to make the appropriate preparations. Our bishop recommends that congregations continue to meet exclusively online for worship, meetings, and study, throughout Phase 1 of the recovery. Additionally, our County Executive may also provide (or may have provided by the time you read this) additional guidance or restrictions for gatherings, given the high population density of our area.
With this being said, for now, we will continue to worship online and not in person. I want you to know that I remain committed to providing some form of online worship experience as the recovery progresses. Even when we enter into Phase 2 of the recovery, those who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 should continue to stay home. We will want to continue to serve these individuals, as well as others who have only ever attended our church in its online form. I see some form of online ministry to be part of our calling for the foreseeable future.
Please continue to stay home and safe as you are able. The recovery is only beginning, and there may yet be significant set backs if we are too ambitious too quickly. Although “Online Church” continues to leave a lot to be desired, I think we have been learning that we can indeed stay connected to God and one another while being physically separated. Thank you for your openness to trying new things and for your faithfulness in prayer, in giving, and in service.
Yours in Christ’s Service,