By the grace of God, we now have an opportunity to put into practice what the Lord has said to us. The word for the year for us in 2021 is this: Realign. Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27-30).
We have said that there will be many opportunities and challenges in this year to see where we are in or out of alignment morally or missionally. The Lord wants to help us to realign in order that we might respond in ways that line up with the good news of our King. So, let’s work to show up well.
On Tuesday, March 2, Gov. Abbott issued an executive order “lifting the mask mandate in Texas and increasing the capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 percent.” This executive order goes into effect on March 10. It is also noted that Gov. Abbott cautioned Texans to continue following recommended guidelines, including distancing and wearing face coverings. “This does not remove personal responsibility,” Abbot said. “Personal vigilance is still needed to contain COVID. It’s just that now, state mandates are no longer needed.”
- So, what is getting stirred up in you regarding this executive order to lift the mask mandate and to allow businesses and facilities to increase capacity to 100 percent?
- How are we going to show up in this culture where people are so polarized and seeing things so differently?
- What are we going to think about another person who has chosen to wear a mask? Or what will we think about someone who is not wearing a mask? How will we relate to a business that is requiring masks? Or how will we relate to a business that is not requiring masks?
In our recent messages, we talked about the importance of defining ourselves and staying connected. We want to be a people who refuse to judge and who won’t disconnect from others just because they think, feel, or believe differently than we do. We are a people who give grace and who work at unity and connection. Such a stance requires humility, grace, and wisdom. We are a people who honor one another, even if other people see things differently than we.
Here are our revised policies at Calvary in light of the executive order lifting mask mandates.
- Masks are optional at our services and activities.
- Each of us will choose whether to wear a mask at Calvary or not. So, please feel free to opt in or to opt out of wearing a mask.
- If you are wearing a mask, we will assume that you also want personal space and limited physical interaction.
- If you don’t wear a mask and want personal space and social distancing, please communicate that in love to those who try to get close to you.
- Group identity: We want to be a people who give grace and understanding. We choose not to judge people if they decide to wear a mask or not.
- Some people will choose to wear a mask for personal health reasons.
- Some people will choose to wear a mask for the sake of others in their family or spheres of influence who have immune compromised systems or who are prone to sickness.
- Some people will wear masks because it is required by their employers.
- Some people will wear masks as a way of identifying with or expressing support for those who are wearing masks.
- Masks are still worn by Ministry Teams at ministry time.
- We continue to ask our Ministry Teams to wear masks when they pray for people at ministry time.
- We ask our Ministry Teams to ask permission to lay hands on people seeking prayer.
- Masks are still worn by our Greeters and Ushers.
- We continue to ask our Greeters and Ushers to wear masks when they are welcoming people to the services and assisting people before, during, and after worship.
Here are some other steps we have taken for this season:
- We have put space between our rows of seats.
- We have placed offering baskets at the doors, rather than passing the baskets during worship. In addition to giving during worship, we encourage you to keep giving online or mailing in your tithes and offerings.
- There are connection cards and giving envelopes in the seats for you to use. You can place those in the offering baskets as you leave after the service.
- There is also a connection card online for you to use to connect and share prayer requests. And, you can email your prayer requests to us at email@example.com.
Remember that you get to choose whether or not you will attend in person. Each person is responsible to do what you are comfortable doing in this COVID-19 season.
- Some of you will choose to stay home for various reasons, and that is understandable. Please feel free to do what you need to do.
- If you’re sick or are experiencing COVID symptoms, we ask that you please stay home and participate online.
- If you’re in the high-risk category due to age, physical, medical, or autoimmunity issues, please use your own discretion, knowing that you have the option of worshipping online.
Our church also wants to help you in any way that we can. If you have a need—physical, emotional, spiritual, or otherwise– please let someone know, like your small group leader, a staff member, or a friend. Feel free also to call the church office at 281-550-4323, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to help; communicating well makes that possible.
As always, if you have questions or comments about any of the issues in this blog, please communicate with me. You can reach me via email or cell (281-686-5291). For regular updates, please check the Calvary website and blog.
Pastor Jeff McGee