November 19, 2020
Dear Church Family,
I wanted to give you an update on how the new restrictions from the governor are going to affect our in-person gathering for the next several Sundays.
If you missed the announcement from the governor here is a quick recap:
Religious Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. Congregation members/attendees must wear facial coverings at all times and congregation singing is prohibited. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service. Vocal or instrumental soloists are permitted to perform, and vocal soloists may have a single accompanist.
So, how does this affect our Sunday in-person gathering? For those who have been joining our in-person worship service, we will continue to meet on Sundays at 10am as we have been doing in the past several weeks. We will continue to plan for 25% capacity in our sanctuary which we have been doing since we re-opened. This means that we need everyone who are planning to attend to continue to RSVP (www.lifepointnaz.church/rsvp) and to practice the basic COVID-19 safety measures such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and staying home if you are sick. One important thing to note. Since we re-opened for our in-person service, we haven’t reached the full 25% capacity in our sanctuary. That means that we have room for you if you are wanting to explore returning to our in-person service.
The big difference you will notice this Sunday is we won’t be having a live worship team. With the restrictions in place, we are going to try out a few things. Some Sundays we are going to have a pre-recorded video of the worship team that we will play on our video screens. There will also be other Sundays where the team will be live, but the team will be stripped down to one singer and one accompanying instrument to make sure we are following the guidelines. I know that this can cause frustration for some. There are a few who already voiced their frustration to me, and please know that I hear and share your frustrations. We even have pastors who have voiced their frustration to our District Superintendent. I too echo his response when he said that if the governor believes that our not singing congregationally for the next four weeks, along with football fans staying away from stadiums, bowlers staying out of the ally, restaurants and bars being closed to inside dinning will help save the lives of vulnerable people and ease the pressure on those called to care for the sick and dying, then as a church, we should be a part of that compassionate response. He also goes on to say that we do not have to agree to obey.
As your Pastor, I want you to know that I am not at all discouraged with these restrictions because I know that our worship is not limited to singing. Don’t get me wrong, I love singing too, for that I am glad that this is only temporary. So for those who will be watching online from home, I’m going to ask you to sing loud and clear for those of us who can’t. But, for those who will be worshipping with us in-person, I am excited to explore other avenues of worship. Things like leaning in more to moments of silence where we can spend more time in prayer and reflection and reading scripture together. Perhaps it’s in these moments where we can truly experience Paul’s words when he said, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Once again, I remind you of Paul’s words that we learned a couple Sundays ago. “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, rather, bring up all your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.”
I’m looking forward to worshiping with you all this Sunday. Join us at 10am either in-person or online. We will once again turn to the Apostle Paul and try to understand how he can say things like, “I have nothing, yet I possess everything” in the same breath. I have been very encouraged as I am preparing to preach, and I trust that you will find encouragement in it as well.
I’m praying for you this week.
Pastor Sherwin Rulloda