Letter to the Congregation Regarding When We Will Reopen Cornerstone

Dear Cornerstone Family,
Your officers have been working on plans to reopen Cornerstone for worship in light of the issues that the CoronaVirus pandemic has forced upon us. The purpose of this letter is to tell you something about what we’re doing and to solicit your prayers and input.

First, we have not set a date to resume corporate worship in our sanctuary. Reopening will be sometime after May 18. Governor Abbott’s Phase 2 reopening announcement on the 18th may have some bearing on what we do. Furthermore, in our meeting on Sunday, it quickly became apparent to us that we’re not ready to reopen. There is more about that later in this letter.

Our objective is to reopen Cornerstone in a safe manner for all, to try to make worshipping together as positive an experience as we can, given the current constraints, and to provide a good on-line worship experience for those who continue to worship with us on-line. As you have probably heard many times by now, shutting down was easy; reopening is not so easy.

Don Russell is coordinating all of our reopening planning. Here are some of the things that we are working on:

  • COVID-19 data:  gather and analyze data on COVID testing and new cases to aid in assessing the health risk of reopening. Gene Cover will lead this effort.
  • Next two weeks:  Create a plan to make recording and transmittal of the worship service easier. Jonathan Shumate and Jeremy Smith will lead this. Roy Thomas is contributing his technical expertise to all of the electronic upgrades we’ll be doing.
  • Worship participants safety:  spacing and cleanliness of shared equipment, like microphones and instruments. Jeremy Smith leads this task.
  • Sanctuary:  setup and cleaning once members and visitors start attending. Deacons lead this with Roy Thomas heading it up.
  • Safety Procedures:  procedures for attending members and visitors from the time of entry until leaving the campus. Roy Thomas and Jeff Magee are in charge of this.
  • Communion setup and process:  including provision for those worshipping at home. Tom Lott is heading this up.

An on-site logistics task force has been created to oversee all the details of these plans. This Task Force consists of Don Russell, Barbara Smith, Carol Kutzer, Roy Thomas and Jim Kolesar. The Session will, of course, have final say in the implementation of any of these plans.

The next two weeks, May 10 and 17, worship will be only on-line as it has been for the past seven Sundays, but with a few of the worship team actually in the sanctuary. The service will be pre-recorded as this is much easier to manage than live-streaming, plus we don’t have the equipment we need for high-quality live-streaming yet.

There will be no Sunday school, adult or youth, nor will there be any church-provided child care during worship until we are confident that it can be done in a safe manner.

Finally, we want to hear from you about your questions, fears, concerns, worries, and comments. Please tell us what is on your mind that may influence your worship experience. To aid in getting that feedback, your Care Group leader will be calling you to hear what you are thinking. We don’t have all the answers but we really do believe that with your input, we collectively will do a much better job in anticipating and solving any potential problems. So be thinking about this and be ready to give your thoughts to your elder when he calls. If you have something to add about any of the above items, please, please call an elder. We are all in uncharted territory and are ready to receive help from any of you.

We need your prayers as we all work our way through this challenging time.

We will be communicating with you again as we make progress on our reopening plans. Any announcement about our reopening date will be widely broadcast via several types of media.

On behalf of your Deacons and Elders,
Gene Cover