After so many months of prayer and all kinds of flexibility, we have recently heard some good news from both the CDC and the governor’s office regarding our progress through this pandemic. And we are giving thanks to God!
I am so deeply proud of how this church has navigated the past 15 months. We have kept the gospel central, remained rooted in scripture, championed unity through the rich diversity of the church, and multiplied. We will continue to live these values, and God will continue to grow his kingdom!
Once again, we’re in a season of ongoing change as our state moves from Phase 2 last week to Phase 4 by the end of June (or sooner!). Most of us are very eager to move beyond this season, but we’ll need to show significant patience in the coming weeks. We expect there to be confusion and frustration as we are beginning to live with new guidelines and freedoms.
Paul said: “Above all things, put on love.”
Peter said: “Love covers a multitude of sins.”
Please, be patient with me, with Discovery’s leadership, and mostly, with those around you with different convictions than you.
No Masks and Vaccinated Seating?
You have likely heard that many mask requirements are being lifted for those who’ve been vaccinated. The accompanying requirements as we read them, however, for any gathering, including worship services, include the setup and monitoring of vaccinated-only seating.
This we are unwilling to do.
When we ask ourselves - is it a higher cost to God’s people to be divided into sections, or a higher cost to have everyone, vaccinated or not, continue to wear masks, the answer is easy. The unity of God’s people isn’t to be taken lightly and we will not be dividing people.
Throughout the entirety of this pandemic, we have been committed to honoring our authorities, unless there has been no creative way to do so in conscience. We continue to hold to this principle and will continue to honor the guidelines. In keeping with this practice, since we will not create vaccinated-only sections, we will continue to all wear masks together for the time being.
So does anything loosen?
Yes! We have lots of good news as we move into Phase 3. Here are some of the changes you will experience at our Tacoma and Lakewood services beginning this weekend:
- You will be welcome to sit wherever and with whomever you wish. We will no longer assign or track seating and will simply designate some areas as “no seating” in order to accomplish spacing.
- We will no longer check temperatures, though we will have the supplies on-hand in case anyone wishes to verify their own temperature. We will also no longer keep two weeks of attendance records for health tracking purposes.
- We will be able to serve more kids! Our kids’ classes can move from 6 feet of distancing to 3 feet of distancing!
- In addition to the above, small groups are welcome to decide together whether they will meet in homes or online, and they can also decide together regarding masks.
We are celebrating all of this, and we invite you to celebrate with us!
We expect more changes ahead, and by mid-June, we will be in touch again. In the meantime, I and Discovery’s staff and leadership welcome your questions and your thoughts. We’ll all be figuring this out together.
And together, we will, above all things, put on love.