UPDATE: August 12, 2021
We want to let you know that we continue to monitor the covid situation and how it is impacting our church family. Know that we are praying for those of you are sick!
PLANS REGARDING OUR GATHERINGS
In light of the spike in covid cases in our community, and even among Gateway members, what should we do? We want you to know that we are praying about and thinking together about how to navigate Gateway through these challenging times. We take these matters very seriously. Before sharing what we believe we should do, we thought it would be helpful to share some key thoughts that shape our decision making:
- We are in a trial.
Covid is difficult. Yet, we know that God is sovereign and desires to bring great good to us through the difficulties of life. Let’s not forget the reminder of James 1:2-4 – “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
- We need grace to not be fearful.
Over and over in Scripture we hear the words “do not fear” and “do not be anxious.” In fact, Jesus commands us in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life.” In our culture at large, and often among believers today, there is much fear and anxiety over the uncertainty of covid and its impact on our health and lives. God wants to give us grace in this trial to not be anxious, but instead to find His peace. We have the opportunity to be different because we are His people and His Holy Spirit dwells within us. We want to encourage you to meditate on God’s character during these trying days, and to ask for His grace to not let fear overcome any of us. Know we are praying for God’s peace for each one of you during these days.
- We need to be wise.
Not being fearful does not mean we become reckless. We need to be wise about what we do and do not do, and we need to seek to mitigate the spread of covid as much as possible. When we need wisdom, God promises to give it to us. In the next verses in James, he says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5). Different people will have different needs depending on their health and situation, so we recognize that how each person needs to respond may be different.
- We still need to meet together as possible.
Yes, there is a risk of getting covid or any number of other sicknesses any time people are together, including in our church gatherings. However, isolation from the faith community has serious consequences as well. God has made us for community and for us to be in face-to-face relationships with one another where we can encourage each other and be encouraged with the Word of God. That need does not go away during covid. As such, we will do all we can to provide you with opportunities to gather together as you are able. Feel free to take whatever steps you need to be able to join us, whether that is keeping social distance or wearing masks or utilizing the hand sanitizer stations around campus. Know that we also will continue to provide a live-stream for those who do need to be at home.
- We need to show much grace toward one another.
The reality is that believers have very different views about covid and how to respond. The enemy loves to take things like this and divide us. We must be on our guard against that, and be willing to show much grace to people who make different decisions on how to personally and collectively respond to this trial. As we wrestle with these decisions, let’s seek God’s grace to live out Ephesians 4:2-3, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
SUNDAY MORNING PLANS
As such, our plan for Sundays is to continue to provide in-person Bible study small groups and worship service, with preschool childcare available during it all, to those who can gather in person. Kids Worship will also be available during the sermon for 1st to 4th graders. So at this time, our Sunday schedule will continue as normal.
Again, please feel free to take whatever precautions you need to take to help you be able to gather:
- The hand sanitizer stations continue to be available and stocked near every entrance and throughout the campus.
- We also are providing masks again for those who would like to wear them. Masks are now available at the table in the back of the sanctuary, at the preschool check-in area, and in the gym lobby.
- Know it is okay to not shake hands or hug, as well as to keep your distance. Please know you are free to take whatever steps you need for your health.
WEDNESDAY EVENING PLANS
We had planned to resume our mid-week activities next week. However, due to the recent number of people at Gateway who have been sick, we believe it is best to temporarily postpone the start of the new Wednesday activities. As such, Kids Club, the ladies Bible study of John 15, and the men’s book study of Every Good Endeavor will now begin for the fall on Wednesday, September 8 (the Wednesday after Labor Day).
However, the youth group that has been meeting during the summer, along with the music ministry team rehearsals, will continue to meet on Wednesday evenings.
Know that we continue to pray for you during these challenging days!
Please continue to pray for one another, for those currently sick, and for wisdom as we seek how to respond each step of the way.
Gateway’s Elder Team