Monday, May 11, 2020
We’re seeking God’s wisdom on reopening Athens Christian Church with numerous safeguards in place. I spoke this morning with our Menard County Sheriff, Mark Oller, and with our Athens Mayor, Bobby Dowell, in order to request their recommendations and guidance. Both the Sheriff and the Mayor are pleased with how we plan to proceed. I continue reaching out to others as they are available. Our thoughts, for now, are to host several 30-minute worship services on Sundays at 7a, 8a, 9a, 10a and 11a to provide ample space for social distancing starting Sunday, June 7. Sunday School classes will not meet in person as we reopen, but only online (please host your online classes on Sunday afternoons or Sunday evenings, rather than during our morning worship services). There will be no children’s ministry or childcare for the first weeks, except online. Our ministers will be our hosts, wearing masks except at the pulpit. There will be no handshakes or passing of trays for Communion or offering. Sunday bulletins will be available for pick up. Our custodians will provide real-time cleaning throughout the morning, especially at thirty minutes past the hour as each group exits the building.
We may practice this format with five brief, Sunday morning services during June, July, and August. Dick Bachman will play the organ for the 7a, 8a, and 9a services. Ashley Cantrall will play the piano for the 10a and 11a services. Our hope is to resume our usual Sunday morning schedule and Wednesday Night Connection schedule for September-December, so we are planning accordingly. We’re adding a permanent, secure drop box near our outer office door for people who are bringing their tithes, offerings, checks, and cash in person. We hope to keep our services online every week for anyone with health issues, high risk, weekend work, and so forth. We need a couple of volunteers to step forward now to help us if we are to keep our worship services online, please.
If you are able, please park further from the building to leave the closer spaces for guests and visitors, elderly and disabled, and families with babies and small children. Security upgrades on Sundays will soon include asking everyone to enter and exit the building through our main front foyer doors, so the parking spaces near the main, front foyer need to be readily available for those who need them most, please.
Please bathe these efforts in prayer now. Ask God to give us a sweet Spirit of unity, harmony, and peace as we try to care for His people and to reach out to all those in our region. Please forward these plans and details to others as you are able. And remember, "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape!" God is good and He will faithfully guide us through the transitions ahead. THANK YOU for your partnership in the Gospel!
Prayerfully, Ken Gennicks