Update Concerning COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
 

Dear River of Life Church Family,

After much prayer, patience, and contemplation, the leaders of your church believe that the time to bring the body back together for corporate worship has arrived. While monitoring the Governor’s stay home/stay safe orders closely, we have been developing plans to reopen our doors. On Sunday, June 7th, we will begin the process of phasing into worshipping together at the church building. This process will be a gradual build-up to normal that includes various precautions and safety measures to make this transition safe and respectful for all. 

While this process is going to feel unorthodox, we are confident that our church family is resilient, considerate of others above themselves, and adapts easily in the wake of adversity. It is no secret that many in the household of faith fall on different parts of the opinion spectrum in regards to COVID-19. Differing passionate opinions can be seen and heard from passionate people. In spite of this, one thing remains a fact, that while COVID-19 opinions are not a spiritual matter, our response to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is. At River of Life, we will communicate lovingly and extend grace to those who think differently than ourselves as individuals, while doing our best to physically protect the vulnerable and compromised members of our church family. The Apostle Paul modeled the concept of extending grace to one another well.

 Let’s take a look at Romans 14:13-19.

13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. 14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. 16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. 19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

 

While Paul was discussing the arguments that Christians were having about what was okay to eat/drink or not to eat/drink, the spirit of the lesson in this portion of scripture applies to us today. The safety precautions that we will put in place such as wearing face coverings, etc. will resonate differently in everyone. This could be positive, negative, or neutral. We are encouraging all within the household of faith, to take on the attitude of Paul and go above and beyond to show love to our brethren. The reality is, this crisis has caused a divide. There is anger and skepticism on one side and fear and extreme reserve on the other with varying feelings in between. Satan is chomping at the bit to use this to do harm to the church and cause division in the body of Christ. At River of Life, we rebuke Satan’s schemes and will not be used as pawns. 

We are also reminded by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Matthew 22:37-40 that our two most important commandments are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves. 

With all of that being said, we are overflowing with joy and anticipation with the prospect of worshipping together in person very soon.

 

Below is a list of questions and answers along with our plans for reopening. 

 

Will services continue to be available online?

Definitely! We recognize that not everyone will be physically able or comfortable returning to the church building just yet. Therefore, services will be live-streamed for real-time viewing during the Sunday morning worship time. 

 

What are the precautions being taken to prevent virus spread?

  1. We suggest that if you have a compromised immune system, pre-existing condition, or elderly that you stay home until you feel it is safe for you to join the congregation. 

  2. Anyone who displays any of the COVID-19 symptoms, or has been directly exposed to anyone suspected of or confirmed with the virus need to stay home.

  3. While we will not make it mandatory, we do strongly encourage all church attendees to wear a face-covering while in the facility. We ask that you provide your own, however, we will have some on hand if you need one. 

  4. The facility will be set-up to accommodate a family-style worship service where households are seated together with proper social distancing recommendations between household seating. 

  5. Temporarily, two service times will be offered, 9:30 and 11 a.m., to promote proper social distancing. 

  6. To help maintain social distancing, our regular “fellowship song” will be suspended during the service for a period of time. While handshaking and hugs are not recommended at this time, friendly gestures are encouraged. Congregating in the foyer before and after service will be discouraged, while proper social distancing in the parking lot will be encouraged. Do not lose heart. This is all temporary. 

  7. We are taking extra precautions to disinfect all frequently touched surfaces before and after services. 

  8. Sanitizing supply stations will be provided in various areas of the church. We encourage everyone to carry an individual bottle of hand sanitizer if possible. 

  9. No food or drink will be permitted in the church. The one exception is for the Worship Team and Pastor. 

  10. Communion will resume during the next phase of our reopening plan. 

  11. We will heavily encourage online giving, however, for those who wish to give in person, offering boxes will be located at the sanctuary doors. 

  12.  You can help by washing your hands regularly, cough into your elbow or sleeve, immediately throw away any tissues that you use, and try not to touch your face, nose, eyes, or mouth. 

  13. All leaders, ushers, and volunteers serving during this stage of reopening will be required to wear a face-covering while inside the church facility. If you are unable to comply with this requirement, we would love for you to be involved in the next stage of reopening. (The worship team and Pastor will not be wearing a face covering while on stage.) 

  14. All volunteers helping to get the church facility cleaned and prepared for reopening will be required to wear a face covering. This also includes those volunteering to prepare the church between the 9:30 and 11:00 services. 

  15. The church basement which includes all classrooms and youth rooms will be closed and off-limits during this stage of reopening. 

 

What about the children?

Sunday School, children’s church, midweek programs, and a staffed nursery will all be temporarily suspended. The nursery will be available strictly for nursing mothers and infant care. For an undetermined amount of time, River of Life will provide “family style” worship services. We will all worship together. 

 

What about Vacation Bible School?

While VBS is at the heart of our outreach here at River of Life, it is an extensive, intricate program that is challenging to implement this year. Therefore, this summer we will provide our volunteers with a sabbath time to rest from ministry and time to regroup for our fall programs. 

 

Again, these safety precautions are temporary. We realize that not everyone in our church family will feel comfortable returning to church right away to worship corporately and that is okay. We encourage individuals to return when they are ready. We will continue to monitor and most importantly pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as we consider further steps in the reopening process. Please continue to pray for your church leaders as they strive to be wise stewards of their roles in watching over and caring for your church family. 

 

Serving Until Jesus Returns,

River of Life Leadership Team

 

 


River of Life Christian Church
5482 Winell St.
Clarkston, MI 48346