Responding to COVID-19
May 14, 2020
Dear Northminster Family,
I hope this finds everyone doing well as we continue to live through these days of the pandemic, face masking, and social distancing. These last two months in lock down have been surreal and sometimes overwhelming for most of us, to say the least. However, we Northminster people continue to depend on each other for caring, for connection, for friendship, for community and for help. We have been so blessed, sustained, and comforted to come together each week in extraordinary and spiritually uplifting online services crafted by our ministers and music staff. We continue to be busy with online activities: social gathering after Sunday worship service, Sunday School classes, parents get-together nights, book studies, commission meetings, mission activities, and planning for the church’s present and future needs. Our children have not been forgotten either, as their home yards were “egged” during Easter and children workers provide weekly activity packets to 13 families with a total of 30 children. Life tends to go on, we adjust, and we, as a church family continue to be a powerful, ministering, witnessing force in this community.
This week Governor Edwards announced that Louisiana will transition to Phase I of a reopening program on May 15. It will primarily allow some businesses, including churches, to reopen with continued mask wearing and social distancing restrictions, and a limited 25% occupancy. At Northminster, we have a little less than 200 total building occupancy and an average weekly worship attendance of 75-80. Under this Phase I directive, our 25% worship capacity limit would be around 50 people, and we could not have a choir due to social distancing and mask wearing restrictions. The Coordinating Council met earlier this month and was in full agreement that we will not attempt to reopen our church until we can safely welcome in our whole congregation and embrace full programming for all age groups. We are discussing many issues that must be considered before making this decision such as: We have approximately 175 active members and almost half of them fall into the high risk group of those over 60 years old; we are a small church and maintaining social distancing inside our building would be difficult to impossible; we are looking at our building cleaning practices and what we need to change to assure a safe environment when we return. As our state begins reopening, it is hard to curb our impatience to reopen our church and engage again in physical togetherness, but we must be patient! Our primary concern must be the health and safety of ALL our members. Fortunately, we have some Coordinating Council members who are also medical professionals and a great help in crafting our reopening plan. We are asking you to bear with us and be patient as we try to plan and do our best for the people of Northminster Church. If you have any concerns or suggestions, please contact our staff or any member of the Coordinating Council.
Please take care of yourself! Call and connect with someone today, and you will immediately feel better. Let us try to live into Romans 12:12 – “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” The Coordinating Council and our staff request your prayers as we seek discerning wisdom in making hard decisions for the days ahead.
Grace and peace,
Peggy Burns, Coordinating Council Chair