As you may have heard, new restrictions, closures, and guidelines have come out due to the increase of people testing positive for COVID-19 and an increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19. What we understand the California government is doing is not only to keep the most vulnerable from contracting the virus, but also to keep hospitalizations down so there are beds for those who need them.
Some of these new restrictions and guidelines are for churches. These are still just guidelines, and we continue to be protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. This Amendment states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. However, we are obligated to do all we can to follow The LORD’s mandate to love our neighbor (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39, Galatians 5:14).
So, in light of both the state guidelines and our biblical calling we are making some changes to our in-person Sunday gatherings for the Cypress Campus for the month of July, or until further notice.
We will be having our in-person gatherings outside, viewing the worship gathering on large screen TVs. Starting this Sunday, July 5th only at 9am.
This gathering will be under our front patio overhang. Masks will still be required and of course with the 6ft of social distancing encouraged. People will have the freedom to sing or not. The worship program will still be produced and filmed in the worship center as 90% of our congregation is continuing to view at home and online.
This Sunday, July 5th we will be enjoying communion together. For those at our in-person 9am gathering, we will be using our special all-in-one communion element cups. They will be individually handed out by a gloved server. It will be a wonderful time not just being part of our worship gathering, but for those who join us in-person to connect in a safe and open-air environment.
The lobby will also be open for these Sunday 9am open-air Worship Gatherings for those who would feel more comfortable in an open-air portion of the building. This lobby option also provides more shaded area to safely interact and connect. In addition, all restrooms will be accessible. The worship center will be locked and only available for producing the online 9am worship gathering.
We will continue to rebroadcast the 9am worship gathering at 11am with on-demand availability on our YouTube channel.
We believe these actions help the cause to fight the spread of the virus, show love to our neighbors, and provide for the connecting needs of our congregation.
Some of the main reasons for these changes are due to the state encouraging churches to meet outside. As well, for a congregation to be in an enclosed building with limited ventilation, the state is discouraging singing. Being social-distanced outside will provide ample ventilation and allow this critical part of worship to be expressed both in-person and online.
Our Los Alamitos campus will continue to meet indoors, but has sought alternative non-singing forms worship. Our Spanish congregation will also be making some adjustments.
We know this is not the best or optimal, but we are trusting God will continue to work through these new ideas. Please also know we will continue to explore alternate ways to increase contacting, interaction, and engagement as we help people thrive as fully functioning followers of Jesus.
Please continue to pray for God to remove this virus, for us to press on despite the obstacles, and for God to be gloried in all of this.
See you Sunday online or in-person,