At our Consistory meeting, one of our elders noted a comment he’d heard: coming out of this pandemic is going to need as much care and thought as when we were coming INTO it last year. Good words, true words. The whole world has been through an ordeal and we’ve been through it together, as a church. We’ve sought to be respectful to one another, and to our government as scripture instructs, but not bound to government, and even willing to politely differ along the way in terms of things like singing in worship to our Lord. I thank God for how He has held us together, united In Christ and the gospel. We’ve been planning our own way forward for months now, looking at timelines and making our plans… but even WE were surprised by the CDC announcement last week regarding vaccinations and masks.
After thorough discussion, we’re certainly pleased to embrace the freedom given by this announcement and will no longer ask that fully vaccinated persons wear masks at church. Personally, Kathryn and I have a week to go before we’re fully vaccinated and, as an example, we will be masked one more Sunday except for when we’re distanced up front. The recommendation of Consistory is that unvaccinated persons continue to follow the guidelines (it seems even these will likely be shifting or lifted soon – predictions seem to be around the end of June). However, we will leave this matter to individual conscience, and the reality that some may not be planning to get vaccinated and are willing to assume the commensurate level of risk for themselves.
We assume for the next stretch some folks will be masked and others will not. We will not be checking vaccination cards. Specifically, we ask that this next season of change is one where we love and respect one another, assume the best, and not make assumptions relative to each others’ intentions and heart: some fully vaccinated members may still wear masks for cautions specific to their lives and family. Some who have had Covid this last year may decide their antibodies and immunity are enough for now. Others may not be ready to hug just yet. Some may still leverage the live stream through May and into June. This is a great and applicable stretch where we can avoid needless shaming and judgement and model Christ-like dignity and patience with one another.
It’s likely that we’ll have an update every few weeks like this for the next few months as things continue to evolve. My prayer is that we continue to build one another up in love, take the precautions that seem wise to our household, and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ in which all things hold together.
Grace and peace,
– James Harleman
Pastor, Refuge Church
– 9:30am On-site Prayer in Sanctuary
– 10am On site service (NOTE: Children’s Ministry is offered)
– 10am Virtual service can be accessed through our YouTube Page: youtube.com/c/RefugeChurch
BEYOND SUNDAY SERVICE:
Refuge Youth: 1st & 3rd Sundays
11:30am-12:30pm Fellowship Hall
Email Ben: email@example.com
Young Adults: Sundays 6:45pm
Ladies Fellowship (virtual): 7-8pm Via Zoom
Men’s Breakfast (virtual): 7-8:15am Via Zoom
Email James: firstname.lastname@example.org
Weekly Bible Study – GENESIS (virtual) 6:30- 8:30pm Via Zoom
Email Bev: email@example.com
Men’s Happy Hour (virtual): 5:30-6:30pm Zoom
Email James: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heartbeat REFIT Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday – email email@example.com
Gung Fu (Martial Arts) Classes midweek as well – email firstname.lastname@example.org