In our desire to communicate well in this COVID-19 season, we wanted to provide an update on some recent decisions made by the Elder Council on baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Due to the restrictions of COVID-19, Cherrydale has been unable to observe these biblical ordinances safely since March, and we’ve missed them! Now that state guidelines allow us to meet in person, we can consider observing these vital church ordinances with continued guidance from health officials on safe practices.

After prayer, discussion, and reviewing state guidelines, Cherrydale’s elders have opted to resume baptizing believers in our church baptistry starting June 28th; we will follow distancing and face-covering guidelines to the extent possible:

  • The state recommends that self-application of “oils, water, ashes, and other materials” in religious ceremonies should be followed “to the extent possible.” Since every biblical example of baptism involves one person baptizing another, self-application is not possible.
  • The pastor performing the baptism will practice physical distancing in the baptistry (with the exception of the actual baptism) and wear a face covering when not speaking. The person being baptized will also wear a face covering, except when speaking or being immersed. When physical distancing is not possible—during the actual immersion—the pastor will wear a face covering.
  • We will only baptize one person per Sunday unless those being baptized are members of the same household.
  • These plans are consistent with other state guidance for those performing various duties during the worship service for which a face covering is not practical, such as preaching or leading worship.

On July 5th, Cherrydale will also return to observing the Lord’s Supper every first and third Sunday. Jesus commanded his followers to take the Lord’s Supper together regularly as a remembrance of Him—His death and resurrection on our behalf. As such, the Lord’s Supper is only for those who have placed their faith in Christ as their only hope for salvation. For those still exploring faith in Christ, we are so glad that they are a part of our service and encourage them to take time during the Lord’s Supper to consider Jesus’ invitation to trust in Him.

During the service, those who have trusted Christ and who are worshipping with us on the livestream may partake of the Lord’s Supper from home using your own elements; however, you may also just participate in spirit if you do not have anything suitable (such as bread or crackers and grape or cranberry juice). The point is not to feel like you must participate from your home but that you can if you would like to do so during the service.

We would much prefer that our church family take the Lord’s Supper in person but recognize that is not an option in this COVID-19 season. We believe that the benefit to the church family in returning to the Lord’s Supper is greater than the downside of not being physically together.

For those attending in person, per Virginia’s current guidelines for religious services, no items can be passed among attendees during the service. In addition, anything used to distribute food or beverages must be disposable, used only once, and discarded. To that end:

  • We will begin using disposable sets that have an individually wrapped wafer and a small cup of juice. On the way into the service, each follower of Christ who intends to participate in the Lord’s Supper will pick up a set of elements on a table on their way into their worship room (whether the Worship Center, Gym, or Community Room). We will also offer a gluten-free option.
  • At the conclusion of the service, we will ask you to take the empty packaging with you for disposal in the trash cans provided on the way out. This will help us minimize cleaning and disinfecting time when we add a second service.

This update on baptism and the Lord’s Supper can be found in our FAQ section available on our COVID-19 Info Page. If you’d like to read more about Cherrydale’s views on baptism and the Lord’s Supper, see our Church Constitution (Article 3, section “M”).

As a reminder, registration for this Sunday closes at 12:30 pm on Fridays. Please register weekly to help our staff and volunteers prepare a safe and welcoming worship space. We hope to see you there or on the livestream!

In Christ,

Tom Oostdyk
Lead Pastor