River Oaks is reopening for corporate worship this week!

River Oaks is reopening for corporate worship this week!

Church family,

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable! (Psalm 145:3)

Whether you are able to join us on Sunday in person or whether you will join us over livestream, we will worship our glorious God…together…this Sunday.

We, as leaders, are thankful to the LORD that we can begin a process of gathering corporately for worship again. Our desire is to be very clear about what Sunday morning will realistically look like so that everyone can make an informed decision regarding what is best for them and their families. Let’s strive to serve one another by considering the interests of others as well as our own (Philippians 2:3).

First service will begin at 9:00 AM and second service will begin at 11:00 AM. We will livestream second service only at 11:00 AM.

Here are 8 things to consider:

1) Sunday will be joyful, but not normal. We are implementing a phased-in approach so there will be differences for some time. 50% capacity for us with social distancing (per the recommended guidelines) means that we will be able to set up seating for about 125 worshipers each service in the sanctuary including the balcony. Seating in the sanctuary will be limited to groupings of 4 or less with some spaces available in the balcony for larger families or groups. We are setting up an additional 50 seats in the fellowship hall for overflow during second service. The livestream will be broadcast into the fellowship hall during second service.

2) There will be no children’s ministry or Sunday morning equipping classes. This means that all children will need to be in the sanctuary seated with their family (or in the overflow area in the fellowship hall during second service). We realize that this will limit the number of families able to join us. While we know this may be disappointing especially for some kids, please understand that we are attempting to lovingly serve all of you in the safest way possible.

3) If you are feeling hesitant to come, it is completely reasonable to still worship from home. Nearly everyone has their own perspective on risk and responsibility and that’s okay. However, based on CDC recommendations, the following people are strongly encouraged not to come: If you are in a higher risk category with respect to COVID-19, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive or traveled to an international or domestic hot spot within the past two weeks, or if you or anyone in your family have a fever or are symptomatic.

4) The church will be sanitized prior to Sunday and we will disinfect the sanctuary between services. One of the ways you can help us with this is to move conversations outside into the open air at the conclusion of each service. The weather should be gorgeous!

5) Regardless of the level of your personal concern regarding the spread of COVID-19, please be respectful of others. For those who are able to come on Sunday, we will be excited to see one another, but in order to love one another well, let’s limit contact in terms of shaking hands and hugging. The elders will serve as greeters and attempt to hold doors open to minimize the number of necessary touches. Bulletins, friendship pads, and offering bags will not be utilized.

6) We are not requiring people to wear masks so please act according to conscience but recognize that some people will be present without them. This is an area where we need to show one another much grace. Caution is not cowardice and freedom is not foolishness.  May unity reign among us!

7) Your attendance in person for the corporate gathering is not an expectation of the elders. A phased-in approach means that for the safety of all, we will gradually work our way up to full attendance. We are estimating that at most half of our members will be present this Sunday. As leaders, we are attempting to serve those who are able to come in the best way possible, and to serve those who can’t be here, equally as well. We have invested in technology and worked hard to make the livestream as excellent as we can so that everyone can participate as fully as possible.

8) The ability to gather again, even in part, is good news of great joy! We are excited to begin welcoming you back to church, but the reality is that it will take awhile for all of us to return. If you are able to come, our hope is that you can worship in freedom and joy as we gather together in person. For those who will not be here, know we are united by the Spirit, and that we long for the day when our whole church family can celebrate the goodness and the glory of our LORD in person together!

Please pray that we as a people would be adorned with compassion, kindness, grace and joy on Sunday!

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all,

The Elders

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