“But as for me, I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more” (Ps. 71:14).
Dear Church Family,
We are in the midst of an exceptional and challenging time for us as individuals, society, and a church as we grapple with life during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our privilege to serve you as Elders during this time. Thank you for the many ways you have also made it our joy. In the midst of the trials we are going through, we also have experienced many blessings as we pray together, share one another’s burdens, share the gospel with non-Christians, and gather (virtually) together.
We are writing to describe the Elders’ plan for reopening Cherrydale and gathering together physically for Sunday worship. Anticipating that state and local authorities will allow Arlington to enter “Phase 1” (as defined by the Virginia Department of Health) on May 29th , our plan is to begin in-person worship services on June 7th with a single service at 11:00 am.
In order to comply with safety guidelines and take necessary steps to protect attendees and our community, our services for a time will look very different than they did before the pandemic. Please pay careful attention to the specific guidelines and instructions below, (Safety Guidelines) and in subsequent communications.
Our decision to reopen was guided by four core principles:
- Honoring God and His call to (and instructions for) corporate worship (Heb. 10:24-35, Eph. 5:18-21, Col. 3:16)
- Obeying the governing authorities that God has instituted for the protection of human life and the preservation of sound order (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17)
- Protecting the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of attendees
- Loving our neighbors (Mk. 12:32-33)
Our hope is that in charting a course for reopening that is guided by these scriptural principles, we will together bring glory to God and His gospel.
The decision to recommence services on June 7th (rather than May 31st) will give us time to communicate and process this together as a church family, time for our neighbors to hear about and respond to our reopening, and time for church staff to make the extensive preparations needed to meet in person under “Phase 1” safety guidelines. We ask for your flexibility and patience as the situation is complex and plans may change.
We understand that members of our church family will come to very different, and equally godly and appropriate, conclusions about how best to participate in worship in the weeks ahead. Recognizing this, we are providing options to accommodate members’ decisions. For those who are unable or not ready to worship in person, we will continue to offer the livestream option and look forward to welcoming you back whenever you are ready.
As we plan for June 7th, we wanted to communicate with you some preliminary details of what worship at Cherrydale will look like throughout Phase 1. Our 11:00 a.m. worship service will have limited seating capacity based on Phase 1 guidelines. We will require you to register in advance to attend the service. Please review additional details in our Safety Guidelines document:
We recognize there will be mixed feelings as we return to worship together in this fashion. While it is worship together, it is not fully worship as God ordained it or as believers have ever previously practiced it. We are likely to experience both joy and pain in regathering under these circumstances. Even though this is how we must regather for a time, we know God is at work and trust He will use it to strengthen and nourish our church body in deeply needed ways.
Please join with us in praying that God would open our hearts to work according to His will during this time and would deepen our love for Him and love for and unity with one another. He has faithfully knit us together, and we are trusting Him to continue!
This is our first step in starting to worship together again. We have many more steps, and decisions, ahead of us. Thank you for faithfully, and prayerfully, walking ahead with us.
Please direct questions you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org, to your shepherding Elder, or to email@example.com, and keep a close watch on our COVID-19 Information Page for details and updates to this blog. We will follow up with you next week with further information.
May God bless you and have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.
Chairman, Elder Council
Lead Pastor, Elder