Covid-19 Update, May 18, 2020

God has been good and faithful in the pandemic period.  Like many churches across the country, it appears more people are participating in OCC worship services than when in the building.  Formal and informal groups have studied, prayed and cared for one another.  God is using many in our body, for His glory.  This has brought new meaning to the words of Paul, 15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  Ephesians 1:15-16a. Thank you, to the church body, for your support of the Gospel and our Lord’s Kingdom work in unusual circumstances!  God gets the glory for the gracious, caring, thoughtful and persevering attitude seen in so many!

As our country, state and community begin reopening, what is next for OCC?  Plans are being made to relaunch physical services along with the 4th stage of Idaho’s reopening plan.  Even though live physical services will return in a few weeks, everyone should be prepared that some patterns and procedures will be different.
The amount of worship services, seating capacity, times and transitions are being evaluated.  For an extended period of time there will be less people, spaced out at services.  This may require additional service offerings and thus adjusted times.  Children’s and youth ministry will look different for a period of time and may not fully relaunch with the services. 
While we are waiting on a final word from camp leadership, children’s, middle school and high school camps are not likely happening as planned.  VBS will not be a traditional week day option, but will be offered as the children’s program during Monday night services.
Campus wide sanitation standards and practices will increase on many fronts.  There will be cleaning between services.  Individuals will be asked to step up handwashing.  There will be guidelines and procedures requiring handwashing before many ministry roles.  Specific examples include children being asked to wash hands BEFORE entering a kid’s classroom and greeters/ushers before they start their “shift.” Please support these changes.  Handwashing is a small, selfless way, to display an act of kindness to the body.
The free coffee station will be moved to the kitchen window with volunteers preparing cups for distribution.  Children will be checked in by one volunteer instead of self-check-in by each family.  Additionally, our online service streaming option will continue with launches in the middle of the week. 
Also, here is a thought for the most vulnerable.  If your age, health or family member’s health, put you on the medically vulnerable list, please consider not attending physical services for the time being.  It is clear, singing “together” is much more powerful than in front of a TV, but remember that your health matters.  Consider the risk versus the reward.    
Lastly, remember this clear truth; the church is not about a building or even a weekly worship service….it is about people living in unity for Jesus.  Informally, live and video gatherings among the body, have been happening for some time.  If you are starving for people time, invite a friend to take a walk, sit for lunch at a park, deck or parking lot with a friend.  Men’s and women’s ministry have plans to offer similar gathering opportunities soon. 
Please, please remember: You are loved, and prayed for.  God will continue to show his faithfulness through our current trying circumstance.