Author: Carol

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,
Gene Cover

More Details on Farmers to Families Food

As part of the USDA’s $3 billion program to help our farmers by buying meat, dairy and fresh produce to give away, we have a wonderful opportunity to share God’s riches with our neighbors.  On June 12th, boxes of fresh produce will be available to be distributed by Katy-area churches.  All the costs of this program are being paid by the USDA; the food is free to us.  Inserts can be added Inside these boxes to share the Good News of Jesus and provide helpful aids for people struggling in their homes.

This effort in the Katy area is being organized by the affiliation of 30 or so churches in Christ Together Katy.  Kingsland Baptist and The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch are the main organizers.

We are free to request as many boxes of food as we would like!  There is no reasonable limit.  The picture shows what will be in each box.  A box will contain bags of potatoes, onions, oranges, apples, carrots and dried beans.  This food is not just for the needy, although those are among our highest priority.  This program was designed to help our farmers, and we can all join in doing that by getting a box for ourselves.  Our main emphasis will be for Cornerstone congregants to distribute food boxes to their neighbors.

There are three groups that Cornerstone is targeting for this food:

  1. Cornerstone members for themselves and their neighbors
  2. Memorial Parkway residents
  3. Cosecha de Vida members and friends

Cornerstone congregants will need to place your orders with Debi Barrett (dbarrett@gmail.com) for the number of boxes that you want for you and your neighbors, by Friday, June 5th, for pick up in the Cornerstone parking lot on the 12th. 

For Memorial Parkway residents and Cosecha de Vida, a website will be set-up, KatyFoodBox.com, for people to reserve however many boxes of food they want.  Friday, June 12 is when the boxes of food will be available for pick-up at Kingsland Baptist and Powerhouse Church.

A lot of details are being worked out at this time.  Updates will be posted on the Cornerstone website as we learn more.  A really fast turnaround for all of this to get done, a God-sized task for which He is able.

Gene

Farmers to Families Food

As part of the USDA’s $3 billion program to help our farmers by buying meat, dairy and fresh produce to give away, we have a wonderful opportunity to share God’s riches with our neighbors. On June 12th, boxes of fresh produce will be available to be distributed by Katy-area churches, including Cornerstone congregants.

We are free to request as many boxes of food as we would like! There is no reasonable limit. A box will contain bags of potatoes, onions, oranges, apples, carrots and dried beans. Our main emphasis will be for Cornerstone congregants to distribute food boxes to their neighbors,

Cornerstone members will need to place your orders with Debi Barrett for the number of boxes that you want for yourself and your neighbors, by Friday, June 5th, for pick up at the Cornerstone parking lot on the 12th.

Details are still being worked out at this time. Updates will be posted on the Cornerstone website as we learn more.

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

SWOH Ministries Day of Prayer May 22

Friday, May 22nd, SWOH is hosting another Day of Prayer. You have two opportunities to pray with us: a LIVE online Prayer Meeting @ Noon (CT) and another LIVE online Prayer Meeting at 5:30 pm (CT). Each Prayer Meeting will be 30 minutes long.

We want to continue to faithfully pray and support SWOH’s ministries in Uganda even as our lives continue to change in light of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Would you join us this Friday to pray?

We are using Zoom to gather to pray remotely. You will be able to join us from anywhere with internet and a computer or smartphone.

Noon (Central Time) Prayer Meeting
Meeting ID: 751 0037 0710
Password: SWOH40

JOIN

 

5:30 pm (Central Time) Prayer Meeting
Meeting ID: 745 4742 3821
Password: SWOH40

JOIN

Thank you for your continued support.

Our Contact Information
Sovereign Wings of Hope Ministries
P.O. Box 218432
Houston, TX 77218
713-503-8011
http://swoh.org

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