Dear First Pres,
Welcome to Level 4 of ministry at FPC. It’s been a long time coming. We moved into Level 1 (online only) in March. Then in July we transitioned to Level 2 (small group gatherings). At the end of August we moved into Level 3 (larger outdoor gatherings). Now, as Fresno County has moved into the red/substantial tier, we have also moved to Level 4. Level 4 means that we are open to larger indoor gatherings while maintaining COVID-19 safety protocols. You can find out more about our Level 4 guidelines on our website by clicking HERE.
So, we’re changing our Sunday morning schedule a bit. Starting this week, October 25, we will have one service at 10 am that will welcome both in-person and online worshippers. For those of you who are planning to join us in-person, please know that we will be wearing masks throughout the service, maintaining physical distance between households, and doing a very brief health screening as you enter. (Doors open at 9:45.) For those of you who will participate online, there will really be no change, except that you might see and hear some folks in the Sanctuary worshipping with you.
While Fresno County is in the red tier, the guidelines allow for inside groups at 25% of room capacity, up to 100. So, for us, that means we can have 100 people in the Sanctuary. If attendance exceeds our capacity, we will provide an overflow space in the Fellowship Hall. This will, of course, be a live-streamed experience. Think of it as a spontaneous Worship Pod in our Fellowship Hall. And, as more folks transition back into worshipping in-person, we will accommodate that by adding a second service.
What’s happening with kids? We will have Kingdom Kids classes for kids in K-5 during the 10 am worship service. Parents should check their kids in for class (check-in is in the nursery) before checking themselves into worship. We are quickly working to safely accommodate nursery and pre-school children, but we’re not ready for that this week. Of course, all kids are welcome to be in the Sanctuary, too. Ignite and Rooted will continue their off-site D-groups as they’ve been doing for several weeks.
How about Sunday School for adults? For now, I want to continue to encourage you toward the online RAP (Reflect, Apply, Pray) class starting at (new time) 8:30 a.m. This is an interactive Zoom call that spends time engaging the Bible text that is preached in the service. It’s a fantastic way to get more out of the sermon and be connected with others in your church. Click HERE to get the meeting ID.
Of course, we’re excited to move to Level 4, but we also want to encourage everyone to remain vigilant in slowing and stopping the spread of COVID-19. If Fresno County moves back into the Purple/Widespread tier, we will level back to Level 3. So, as we pray for God’s mercy over all who are suffering with COVID-19, please pray with me that God will graciously keep us from experiencing a surge in new cases like much of the rest of our country is experiencing.
Other ministries will be adjusting into Level 4 as well, so please stay connected with our website and messages for updates. Remember, our fight against this pandemic is a fluid situation. Thus, we must remain flexible as a congregation in navigating it together. May the Lord lead us, use us, and keep us focused on what is most important, living out the mission God has given us in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
P.S. Many prayer groups are continuing to meet weekly and would gladly welcome you. Click HERE to explore and register for one of the groups.