Dear CVC Family,
These past two months have been unusual to say the least. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an array of challenges for all of us. As your pastor, I truly miss seeing you all in person! But I am so proud of the ways that you have “shown up” to be the church outside the four walls of the CVC building. I’m so grateful to hear and see how you have continued to give of your time, talents, and treasure to advance the Kingdom of God during these uncertain times. Thank you!!
Our CVC Team has been working hard to continue to provide opportunities for our church family to WORSHIP the Lord, to meet virtually in GROUPS, and to SERVE those in need. We want you to stay healthy and stay connected to each other as you grow closer to Christ. We are committed to continuing to provide you with these opportunities in the weeks and months to come as we work toward regathering at CVC.
Governor DeWine has been unfolding the Responsible Restart Ohio plan. We want to continue to follow the guidelines of those in authority over us and take necessary precautions for reopening the CVC building, demonstrating to our surrounding community that we are people who lead with love and care for the health of others. Our Elders and Leadership Team have been planning what that will look like for us. As of this writing, it looks like this plan is going to unfold in three phases.
WHAT ARE THE THREE PHASES OF THE “REGATHERING” PLAN?
Here’s a brief snapshot of what the three phases will look like:
- Phase One—Meeting outside at CVC
- Phase Two—Meeting inside the building at CVC with safety modifications in place (safe distancing requirements, wearing masks, limited seating capacity in the Worship Center, no childcare, etc.)
- Phase Three—Meeting inside the building at CVC without modifications
WHEN DOES PHASE ONE BEGIN?
We’re planning to kick off Phase One—what we’re calling “Church on the Lawn”—on Sunday, June 7. This will be an outdoor worship venue on our front lawn and in the parking lot. We’ll meet at 6:30pm (weather permitting) for about an hour. Be sure to check our website or our CVC Facebook page in case we have to cancel due to bad weather.
We realize that not everyone will feel comfortable gathering even in an outdoor venue and we totally understand! We’re counting on you to follow the recommendations of governing authorities as well as the leading of the Holy Spirit as you consider how and when to re-engage in church community in person. We just want to provide an opportunity for those of you who feel ready to safely come back onsite and worship together.
For those who are not comfortable coming back onsite yet, and in case weather does not cooperate, we will continue to provide online worship services on Sunday mornings at 9:30am and 11am.
Here are some additional details about Church on the Lawn:
- Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on.
- Please maintain a safe distance from other families.
- There will be an option to stay in your car and tune in to the service using your radio.
- Masks are not required outside.
- Families will worship together–childcare will not be provided.
- Main level restrooms in the building will be available if you need them.
Another step you can take toward phasing back into community with other believers is to invite a few people from your LifeGroup into your home to watch Sunday morning service with you. Groups of 10 or less are of course recommended, and only gather if you are able to do so without risking anyone’s health.
WHEN WILL PHASE TWO BEGIN?
I’m sure many of you are wondering—when can we gather in person inside the CVC building? The short answer is we still don’t know. Although the signs of Responsible Restart Ohio are very promising, there are several factors that still make it difficult for us to know exactly when we will be able to gather for large, in-person Sunday worship services.
WHAT FACTORS ARE IMPACTING LARGE, IN-PERSON SUNDAY GATHERINGS?
You might notice that some churches in Northeast Ohio are already meeting, while other churches like CVC are going to have to wait a bit longer. There are a few specific factors that will keep our church family from being one of the first churches to resume large, in-person Sunday gatherings.
- Number of People
One of the primary factors that will delay our ability to meet in large, in-person worship gatherings is simply the number of people that regularly attend on a typical Sunday. We will not be able to accommodate our normal attendance while maintaining safe distancing. We’re looking at ways to allow as many of you onsite as possible while maintaining appropriate physical distance, but we will definitely have a lower-than-normal capacity in our Worship Center until we are given an “all clear” to resume meeting without having to maintain a certain distance.
- Potentially Distracting Requirements
There are a number of health requirements (i.e. wearing face masks, seating limitations, regulations on interpersonal engagement, etc.) that although they are beneficial to public health, are not ideal in a worship environment. We are as eager as you are to get back inside the building and worship together, but these will be tricky times as we do our best to keep everyone safe in the process. We love being able to greet one another with handshakes and hugs, sit right next to our friends, and not have to wear masks at church. But in order to meet safely, we’ll have to make some adjustments. Please be prepared to adjust with us.
HOW WILL THE CVC ELDERS AND LEADERSHIP TEAM DETERMINE WHEN & HOW WE CAN GATHER AGAIN FOR LARGE, IN-PERSON WORSHIP GATHERINGS?
We will continue to pray!
Our first priority is to listen to and follow Jesus — not just in this season, but in every season of our life with Him. We are actively praying and seeking wisdom from the Lord about when and how to gather in larger ways in the weeks and months ahead.
We will seek to honor our governing authorities.
We want to obey the Scriptures by honoring our state/city governing authorities as long as their guidelines don’t conflict with the ways of Jesus. For the time being, this means we will work hard to honor the recommendations given to us by our local and state leaders.
We will consult with a medical team.
We have assembled a team of people in our church family who are medical professionals. We are asking for their input and recommendations as we make plans for regathering.
We will make choices based on the mission Jesus has given our church family.
If this includes resuming our large, in-person gatherings in the coming weeks, then praise God — we will do just that! But if we need to meet in smaller, more agile spaces and gatherings for the next few weeks or longer to best accomplish Jesus’ mission, then praise God — we will do just that! God’s mission has never been limited by the size of a worship gathering or to a physical building, and we are confident He is leading the way during this unusual season.
WHAT DO WE DO UNTIL JUNE 7?
We are admittedly taking a conservative approach to regathering onsite at CVC. Please know that this is for your safety. We realize that people have varying opinions on how soon to come back together, but we are doing our best to navigate these uncharted territories with wisdom and faith. Here’s what we would encourage you to do in the meantime:
- Continue watching our online worship services on Sunday mornings at 9:30am and 11am.
- If you feel comfortable and able to do so safely, gather in your home with a few people (in groups of 10 or less) to worship & participate with the Sunday Live Stream each week. This could include friends from your LifeGroup, a neighbor, a co-worker, or your “one.” You can also enjoy fellowship, worship, Bible study, and service opportunities during the week.
IT’S NOT SAFE FOR ME TO LEAVE HOME JUST YET, WHAT CAN I DO?
We will continue to provide online Worship Services on Sunday mornings at 9:30am and 11am. We have no intention of removing this option even once we are able to gather in the building again. If you’re having trouble connecting or you need our help in another way, please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to help you stay as connected as possible during this time while you stay safe at home.
I love you, church family! Please pray for our leaders as we make decisions in the coming weeks and months. Our CVC team will be offering more updates as they become available.