Letter to Congregation – Including Young Children
Dear Cornerstone Family,
In this third letter discussing our preparations for gathered worship, we will address the specific issue of including children. When we consider if young children should attend worship when we reopen, it stirs our deep emotional connection to our children. There is a potential to react out of anxiety.
One of the multitude of sources which the On-site Logistics Task Force is using is a weekly webinar hosted by Humanitarian Disaster Inst. and the National Assoc. of Evangelicals. The opening statement of each webinar is, “Faithfully respond, don’t fearfully panic!” When taking in all the statistics, all the reports, the constant 24/7-365 news, and all the online chatter it is easy to begin to panic…especially if we have young children. After all, it is our job to protect them. How do we do that in these crazy times? Knowing that our Sovereign God is lovingly caring for us, we find rest and we find peace. And out of this, we can begin to respond faithfully.
As we have already announced, due to all the challenges and rigorous regulations regarding children, we do not plan to offer childcare or host Worship Training at this time. We are sad that we cannot minister to young families in this way. We are eager to love on your kids and miss the connections we have made with them. To help us know when it will be safe to return to these, we are watching a few things this summer.
- What will Katy ISD do this fall?
- Will there be outbreaks resulting from summer school, summer camps, or VBS ministries?
- Will the state alter their recommendations relating to children?
- How long will people be required to wear masks? (Since so many children are afraid of masks.)
Once we do reopen, before attending worship each person will need to ask themselves:
- Do I feel well?Have I (or any member of my family) had any symptoms of the Coronavirus?
- Have I (or any member of my family) had a fever over the past 14 days?Am I (or any member of my family) considered at-risk? (According to the State of Texas
- guidelines for houses of worship, at-risk individuals are those who are age 65 or older, especially those with chronic lung disease; moderate to severe asthma; chronic heart disease; severe obesity; diabetes; chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis; liver disease; or weakened immune system.)
That is a lot to consider. And after you have considered all this, there is still one more question…will my attendance put anyone else in attendance at risk? When you consider all the asymptomatic people out there, this question is not so easy to answer.
Philippians reminds us,
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
After considering all this, most of us could probably attend gathered worship safely. But what about our children? We are all longing to return to gathered worship. But when we begin to put others’ needs before our own, we need to address the challenges that children bring.
- Will my child find it too tempting to run up to friends and hug them?
- Will my child understand the playground will not be open?Can my child sit through a worship service or stay corralled with my family?
- Can my child (ages 3 and older) wear a face mask?
- Is my child at that age where everything goes into their mouth?
- Will not having access to the Cry Room be a problem?
Happily, after years of Worship Training ministry, we believe that many of our children will do rather well when we return to gathered worship. But some children may still be too young when we consider the above list. If your family finds yourself in this position, we would like you to consider the following scenario: Dad brings the older kids one week while Mom stays home with the toddler and watches worship via live streaming. Then, the next week, Mom and Dad swap positions (Mom brings the older kids and Dad stays home with the toddler.)
Remember, when we return to gathered worship, we will not have any Bibles or hymnals available. Nor will we have printed bulletins or the children’s clipboards. You should consider printing your bulletin at home and bringing it with you – or – using the electronic version on your smart phone. Also consider bringing paper for your children to draw what they are hearing in the sermon.
Hopefully, this information has been helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Don Russell.
Next week, we hope to address changes in the way we will offer Communion.
As always, we solicit your prayers and input.
On behalf of your Officers and Task Force,