This has been the most unconventional year many of us have seen. Church attendance was steady most of our lives. There may have been an occasional snow or ice storm which caused us to postpone services for a week or so, but we never saw anything like the Coronavirus until this year. On March 15th, many churches began closing their doors. We had 93 in attendance. On March 22nd, most churches closed their doors, but following the guidelines given us we had one more service. We had 30 something in attendance. For the next six weeks, we had no in-person worship services in our building. We did have one Sunday during those six weeks when we had a “drive-in” worship service. Otherwise, everything was live-streamed and that was the only way our congregation was able to worship together.
Since then, we went back to in-person worship on May 10th. Phase 1 lasted for two weeks and we averaged about 35 in worship. Phase 2 began on May 24th and remained in place until June 21st, when we began Phase 3. Phase 2 saw our attendance steadily in the 50s except the last Sunday when we saw 61. Phase 3 attendance should help us get back into the 70s or 80s. However, we still have not been able to meet in Sunday School. Very few churches across our state are meeting in small group settings. The main reason is classrooms aren’t generally large enough to social distance in, especially for the size of groups who normally meet in these rooms. In our case, many of our classrooms would not be large enough for 10 people.
After eight weeks back, we still do not see a clear time when Sunday School would be allowed unless we use the worship center, the Family Life Center and the fellowship hall for three classes. This would change the dynamics of who would be in which classes. Currently, three classes are meeting online. There are only two adult classes who are not meeting online. Maybe those two classes could meet in the fellowship hall and the Family Life Center. If you are a part of the classes not currently meeting online, please contact the church office and let us know if this option would work for your class.
Ministry has continued throughout the pandemic. Our church has passed out food, worked on Disaster Relief, helped with home repairs, and taken a mission trip to Mississippi to help a church there. Our members help with Good News Club and are continuing to reach out to people of all ages. We recently saw a young family of seven join our church with one of those getting baptized. Even though it has been an odd year, ministry continues. I pray we live by faith and continue to minister in ways we never thought possible.
In Jesus’ care,
Pastor Jerry Jeter