Letter to the Congregation – Safety Protocols

Dear Cornerstone Family,

Our On-site Logistics Task Force has been busy. Under Don Russell’s leadership, Barbara Smith, Carol Kutzer, Roy Thomas, and Jim Kolesar have created some plans and have already begun to implement some of them. We hope to send out weekly notices informing you of new protocols and soliciting any thoughts, concerns or questions you might have. Below is their status report.

Our leadership continues to prayerfully prepare the church for reopening. We still do not know exactly when that will be, sadly. But until then, we think it is important to communicate with you regularly about our progress.

We began this process by turning to God’s Word, where we are reminded of the sovereignty of God and of His power and strength. Verses like Psalm 46:1-3 help calm our fears and anxiousness.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

Mark 12:29-31 reminds us of our priority and grounds us as we begin making plans.

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ there is no commandment greater than these.”

Because we are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength we are eager to reopen the church. However, we cannot do this at the expense of our neighbor. Who is our neighbor? Everyone! The healthy, the vulnerable and the at-risk.

So, the big question is, what does loving our neighbor look like at Cornerstone during the Coronavirus? This is what the Task Force has been considering. In this week’s letter, we are sharing the changes we are making around the facilities to create an environment in which you, and your neighbor, can feel relatively safe while worshiping.

First Things First: We realize that not everyone will be able to return when we reopen. Therefore, we are working hard to improve our ability to stream a reliable and quality worship service. We hope to have this in place soon. When it is ready, we plan to worship live in the sanctuary with the worship team only for a week or two (without a congregation) so that we can test the upgrades.

Second Priority: Knowing that there is a team working on the technological challenges, another team has taken on the altering of the sanctuary so that it conforms to government standards and reduces the hazards of meeting in person. These include:

  • Removing chairs and spacing rows to allow for a 6-foot space between family units.
  • Allowing for only one entrance/exit
  • Turing off the water fountain
  • Closing the nursery
  • Removing the Bibles & Hymnals
  • Having a hand sanitizing station which will include: hand sanitizer, masks and gloves
  • No printed bulletins
  • Encouraging online giving BUT having a donation box easily accessible in the foyer
  • Removing toys from nursery rooms
  • Taping-off the breeze way to discourage people from gathering on the patio or playground on Sunday mornings
  • Training Greeters & Ushers in new safety and cleaning protocols (i.e., wearing face masks and gloves, contact free welcoming, manning the doors so attenders do not have to touch the handles, cleaning frequently touched surfaces)

This team has also put together a list of protocols that attenders should follow:

  • Wear a face mask (children too, if able)
  • We encourage everyone to bring their own, but we will have some available for those who forget
  • Refrain from shaking hands and hugging
  • Gloves will not be required; however, we will have them available
  • Maintain safe distance
  • Not entering if you feel sick or have felt unwell in the past 2 weeks
  • Not mingling with others

Hopefully, this information will help put you at ease about returning once we reopen. If you have any questions or concerns, please voice them when your Care Group leader contacts you. Or contact Don Russell.

In upcoming letters, we will discuss challenges that families with young children may be facing when it comes to worship and changes in the way we offer Communion.

As always, we solicit your prayers and input.

On behalf of your Officers and Task Force,
Gene Cover