Word for the Week ~ 5/18/2020
It was exciting to announce Sunday that in just two weeks we will be launching our first service back since the onset of the Coronavirus. As I shared in my sermon, things will be different as we arrive on May 31st at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. Change is never easy. I am glad we have such a flexible church at Grover. Just as Israel would never be the same after their Egyptian captivity and wilderness experience, so we too are faced with the changes (both temporary and permanent) that we will have to deal with in the aftermath of our “Captivity” caused by the Coronavirus. In whatever might change during the unprecedented days for which we are living, we are thankful in knowing that God never changes, and His commission and call are the same from generation to generation.
More On Reopening Services At Grover: While there was a slight up-tick in Coronavirus cases in Johnson County last week, the Leadership Team reaffirmed yesterday that our first Sunday back with Public Worship Services at Grover will be May 31st. We are calling it a “soft opening” with the intent of starting things back up slowly. We are more than ready to get things going again, but we definitely want things to be safe for everyone who attends. I know this sounds strange coming from a Baptist preacher, but we hope to have no more than about 150 to 200 people present for our first service. We say that because with two services at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., we can safely socially distance ourselves with this number of people. As you know we have already taken out every other row of chairs in the Worship Center to provide six feet separation between the rows. We will also be asking everyone to sit four chairs apart (except for family) to ensure six feet from side to side. With that said, I want you to know that we are prepared to add more service times as need be to accommodate as many people who wish to attend in the future. We can do more services if we need to do so for everyone’s safety. On the other hand, we may only need one service to meet the safe space needs of our congregation this summer. We will have a better idea as we get started. Your safety is our priority! Be that as it may, we have decided to begin with two services on May 31st in order to properly socially distance ourselves and ensure everyone’s safety. We will have an overflow area available if it is needed.
Not everyone should attend this first service on May 31st. First, if you consider yourself at risk due to age, immunity concerns, auto-immune disorders, or respiratory issues, then you may not want to attend this first service. You may wish to talk to your doctor for counsel before exposing yourself to a larger crowd of people, even where social distancing is practiced. Second, we are asking you not to attend if you do not feel you would not be willing to comply with the Safety Guidelines as set out by our Leadership Team which are listed in this email. Some people do not see the Coronavirus as a true threat. While we respect everyone’s opinion, we have chosen to follow these social distancing guidelines recommended by civil leaders. We have chosen to err, if we indeed do, on the side of caution. Third, we are asking that you not attend worship at Grover Park if any of the following statements are medically true the day you come to worship:
(1) You have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher.
(2) You are presently under quarantine by a doctor or the health department.
(3) You has been exposed to the Covid-19 Virus in the last 14 days.
(4) Someone in your immediate household, that you live with in the same house, has been exposed to the Covid-19 Virus in the last 14 days.
Ten Precautions Updated: Besides social distancing mentioned above, there are a number of other precautions we will be taking. We will be asking everyone who attends to submit to having their temperature taken as they enter the Worship Center Foyer with a non-contact thermometer placed 3-5 cm from their forehead by a masked member of our team. It will only take two seconds. Anyone who has a body temperature of 100 degrees or higher, will be politely and discreetly asked not to attend the service. This is the same testing procedure used in public schools. Secondly, we are encouraging people to consider wearing a face mask as they come to worship. We have new home-made face masks available in the foyer for those who wish to wear one in the service and don’t have one of their own. While not required, we strongly encourage everyone to consider wearing one during the service. Third, we will only be allowing two people at a time in the restrooms. While we will not be having a nursery, there will be a Baby Changing Station in the Nursery area for you to care for the needs of your baby. We will also be closing down the drinking fountains. Bottled water will be available at the information desk in the foyer for those who need one. No coffee or donuts will be available. Fourth, we will be sanitizing the Worship center seats and foyer bathrooms with an anti-viral cleaner between services to clean our facility to the best of our ability. This special cleaning, and being able to dismiss everyone comfortably, is why we are allowing extra time between services. Fifth, please avoid early arrivals to either of our two services, especially our second at 11:00 a.m. We will be socially distancing outside as well as inside. There will be a number of signs outside the Worship Center to remind us of the social distancing guidelines we will be following. We will need time to allow the first service to exit before we can allow people to enter the Worship Center for the second service. People may need to exit out one of the other doors to avoid clashing with those arriving for the second service. Sixth, please try to social distance yourself from others if there is a waiting line to enter the Worship Center. Watch for the signs! Offering plates will be stationed by the entrance doors to the Worship Center for you to give your offerings individually so that you will not have to touch the offering plate. Eighth, please wait to be seated and dismissed by one of our ushers so that we can better control seating for everyone’s protection. Please understand that you will probably not be able to sit in your usual seat on Sunday as we will be seating people from front to back and dismissing everyone from back to front to avoid contact. We are flexible, remember! This is only temporary and hopefully we will not have to practice this very long. Ninth, please greet one another without any contact such as handshaking, or even fist bumping. We are no longer doing our regular greeting time during the service. Finally, we will not be handing out bulletins in the service and will instead be scrolling announcements and emailing sermon outlines during the week.
Security Personnel: We will be having extra Security people available on Sunday, May 31st. They will not only be doing their normal duties of providing protection, but they will also be “policing” us a little bit as we come to church. They will be assisting in the parking lots if you have questions. They will be helping us socially distance ourselves by gently reminding us to keep six feet apart as we gather and enter the building. Don’t take it personally if one of them asks you to please step back from someone you may be getting too close to. It is more difficult than you realize not to move closer towards people you haven’t seen in a while and visit with them. They will be there to help us be safe.
Video Next week: We will be sending you a video next week before our first service on May 31st that will walk you through our first Sunday back to Grover. We hope that will help give you a better picture of what to expect as you return.
We will continue to Livestream our services every Sunday at 9:00 a.m., just as we have always done. You may watch services and messages on our website at groverpark.org, on Facebook Live, or on YouTube. Just search Grover Park Baptist Church in Warrensburg, MO. We are having better reports now that people are having less problems watching services online, but we still sometimes have problems with our internet speed. Reboot is the key word when that happens.
A Learning Experience: Our Leadership Team is set to meet again next Sunday at 10:30 a.m., as we continue to prepare for May 31st, and to assess the ongoing health of our immediate community. In trying to protect our membership, we realize that this is a work in progress. We will not do everything perfectly on May 31st, as hard as we may try. This is a learning experience, so please be as patient as you always are.
Training For Ushers, Greeters, and Security: This Thursday night at 7:00 p.m., we will be meeting in the Worship Center with our Greeters, Ushers, and Security Team to train and prepare for our opening on May 31st. Then, on this Sunday, May 24th, we will actually be doing a Run-Thru of the service. Ushers and greeters should be here at 8:00 a.m. and should plan to stay for the entire time as we will be walking through every part of the service. Face masks are encouraged. Security personnel will arrive earlier at 7:30 a.m.
Sunday School: Once again, we will be starting back up slowly with worship only and no Sunday School for now. Our goal is to take every precaution as we prepare to resume public worship on May 31st. The guidelines set out by our civil authorities require us to socially distance ourselves in any small groups that the church offers, such as Sunday School. That presents a number of problems for classes that are already wrestling with space needs. A few classes have asked about meeting in some of our larger meeting rooms, but there are not enough for everyone to use. It is nearly impossible to socially distance children, and so our civil leaders have said we should not have Sunday School for them until a vaccine or treatment for the Coronavirus is made available. We will be having a Sunday School teachers and officers meeting soon to talk about our options. For now, we encourage our classes to do online Sunday School classes through Zoom until our Sunday School Director and Minister of Education have had an opportunity to meet with our teachers and make further decisions. Zoom meetings can also be done by way of telephones, and so some classes are doing that as well. Please call Logan Williams if you would like help getting set up to do virtual classes online.
The Journey will be meeting tonight at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom for Bible Study and discussion. They will be starting a new series entitled, “What is a Healthy Church Member?”
Women’s Bible Study: This Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m., the Women’s Ministry (Women With Purpose) will be continuing it’s Zoom Bible Study. They are gathering together online to walk through the Bible Study “Better,” a 10-week video series of a verse-by-verse study in Hebrews by Jen Wilkin. The book that accompanies the study is $15.00. You can still register on our Women’s Ministry Facebook page “Grover Park Baptist Church Women With Purpose,” or by email at email@example.com to join the Study.
Prayer Updates: Pray for Jeannie Campbell who had eye surgery last week. Please be in prayer for Greg Greer and his family in the passing of his sister, Patricia, last week. Also, pray for Tammy Greer who is having surgery next week. Tammy’s daughter, Heidi Runions, is back to work after a car wreck last week. Please pray for Floyd Jackson and his family in the loss of his brother last week in Pensacola, FL. Pray for Dave Kesinger who came home last Thursday from the VA Hospital in Kansas City. Pray for Paul Plummer who is scheduled for knee replacement surgery this Tuesday, May 19th, at Saint Luke’s East. Pray for Gayle Yocum who is now home after being in Pleasant Hill Rehabilitation Center with pneumonia. He is doing much better. We are happy that Jennifer Stoner is going back to work tomorrow. Pray for Howard Bullard who is home under care of Hospice. Pray for Linda Hargenrader who is receiving a new chemotherapy drug which she is getting every four weeks. She is struggling with very low energy. Pray for Anthony Myers who is home recovering from a staph infection from his appendectomy several weeks ago. Rachel Vaughn is home recovering from shoulder surgery last week. Pray for Deborah Johnston who discovered she has a blood clot in her heart in Eldorado. Pray for Christy, a working companion of Wendy’s Chaplain’s daughter, who just had a baby and brain surgery. Pray for our church as we prepare to begin services on May 31st. Our Deacon of the Week is Jake Cantwell (660) 441-2580.
New “Selfie” Church Directory: We will be handing out copies of our new Church Directory on May 31st.
A beautiful week ahead,