JUly 19TH, 2020 UPDATE – Safe Practices for Public Assemblies
With the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout the world (including our region), it’s vital that those who gather for in-person services of the Central Church of Christ remain vigilant in observing safe practices.
What Has Changed: Effective July 19, 2020, the elders have announced that there will be no restrictions on any age group of people from attending our 10:30 a.m. Sunday assembly. For now that will be the only in-person assembly offered. Families with young children are now welcome to attend the 10:30 service, assuming children remain with the family under whose roof they live.
What Has Not Changed:
- Our 6:00 p.m. Sunday worship and all Bible classes will continue to be offered online. You are urged to join in these opportunities as frequently as you are able.
- Those who are having any symptoms of illness are asked to worship from home until those symptoms resolve.
- If you have recently returned from traveling to an area that has a high frequency of COVID-19 infections, please worship from home for a few days.
- You are expected to wear a face covering from the time you enter our building until you exit (except during the Lord’s Supper). Children ages 2 and younger should not wear masks. If you don’t have a mask, you will be offered one at the door.
- You are expected to observe social distancing while in the building or in the parking lot. Some pews have been marked off; please don’t sit in these.
- You should not enter areas of the building that are marked off or locked.
- No handshakes or hugs, please. Smiles are always welcome, as are air hugs.
- Communion trays and collection plates will not be passed during the assembly. On your way in, please pick up a communion set. Baskets for your contribution are in the back of the auditorium at each of the three exits.
- Make frequent use of hand sanitizer. These are located throughout the lobby.
- If you visit the rest room, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before leaving, and also use hand sanitizer.
- As you enter and exit the building, be careful to remain six feet apart from others.
Making Your Decision: It may be best for some to continue to worship from your home. If you have health conditions that put you at special risk, we urge you to be safe. Pray for God’s wisdom to guide your decision. You should not feel guilty in deciding to be cautious. God knows our hearts and our motives.
Questions Or Suggestions? The Elders would like to hear from you. Pray for them as they lead us through extraordinary challenges.
June 10th, 2020 UPDATE
This Sunday – Another Step Forward: Beginning this coming Sunday anyone 65 or older is welcome to attend the morning worship assembly if you feel your health does not put you at heightened risk. Some will be wise to continue worshiping virtually because of certain health factors. Also, the age of children recommended to attend is now 10 and above, provided they remain under the close supervision of parents / members of their household. Our elders feel the state of our region is such that these changes can be safely made.
What Does Not Change is the expectation that all who attend our Sunday morning worship assembly will wear masks and practice social distancing. We will have ushers available to help ensure everyone maintains proper distancing, and masks will be available at the entrances for those who may not have them, including any children (10 and older) who may be present.
Another Factor To Consider: If you have traveled to an area where the incidence of COVID-19 is greater, please choose to worship virtually for a few days to make sure you have not picked up the coronavirus in your travels. Let’s practice the Golden Rule and be considerate of one another.
In The Development Stage is a Sunday gathering for families with young children. We don’t have any details worked out yet, but within a few days expect to hear more about this opportunity which we hope to have ready before the end of June.
June 26 Edit: Information regarding the Sunday gathering for families with young children can be found here (July 19th edit – this link was removed to reflect an update in policy).
May 9, 2020 Update
Reopening The Church’s Building
After much discussion and consultation with our medical professionals, the elders have set a tentative date of Sunday, June 7 to resume meeting at the church’s building on a very limited basis. In keeping with government recommendations, face coverings are encouraged and physical distancing is to be observed.
Everyone 65 years and older, people with disabilities, people with serious respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, people who are immunocompromised, and others who may be at higher risk for infection should not gather in person until a later time. Families with children under 14 years of age are also encouraged to remain at home during this time. We encourage those who cannot attend to join our assemblies and classes via Live Streaming/Facebook Live/YouTube Live/Zoom.
Other items to be noted: the nursery will be closed, water fountains will not be available, communion items will be available as the prepackaged sets which we have been using recently. More information will be provided as additional details are worked out.
Please review the recommendations from Governor Lee and the CDC.
We look forward to a time when we can all meet with fewer restrictions.
Elders, Central Church of Christ
March 17, 2020 Update
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
After much consideration, consultation, and prayer, the elders of the Central Church of Christ have decided to cancel all public worship and Bible study assemblies at our building until the end of March. As more information comes to light, they will decide what our course of action will be from that point forward.
This is admittedly a drastic measure, but one that is necessary for the good of our community. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is highly contagious, and limiting our exposure (social distancing) is the best method to prevent overwhelming our medical system. Though its presence is barely realized in Northeast Tennessee, it is almost certain to make its way throughout the U.S., just as it has in China, Italy, Iran, and other nations. (73 cases have now been confirmed in Tennessee at the time of this update.)
Steve Ingram stated it well when he said, “The church building will be closed, but the church will remain open.” We are blessed to have technology that will enable the vast majority of the congregation to stay connected. Click here for the class and worship schedule along with information on the technologies that will help us stay connected. You can also connect using the Central app for your smartphone or tablet.
There will be other ways we will seek to stay connected as a family in Christ during this time, and we’ll be sharing that information with you in the days ahead. Check your email daily to find out how we propose to do that.
We continue to stress the importance of physical presence at church assemblies. For the present time, however, that physical presence could be dangerous to the health of those among us who are vulnerable, and it could facilitate the more rapid spread of this virus. That’s why we’re asking you to be patient, stay connected, and pray for God’s help as we navigate these unfamiliar waters.