Hello True North-
 I am writing to share some information about our COVID-19 mitigation plan for us all to consider. As a reminder, the full plan is published on our website at https://www.truenorthcf.org/covid-19-mitigation-plan/

The biblical basis for our response to the pandemic is Philippians 2:3-4 : “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
We want to be a people who recognize that even if we are not personally at risk for serious illness, there are people we interact with who are. Our willingness to notice them and adjust our actions on their behalf affects our fellowship with one another and our ability to be effective witnesses for Christ in our community.  

We are committed to being a church that goes out to build relationships with people and show them how faith in Jesus can change a person’s life.  One of the biggest questions on my mind these days is how we continue to interact with new people during this pandemic in a way that does not feel threatening to them.

I am confident that the people of True North are compassionate toward others, and I want to let you know of some specific considerations during our worship gatherings that will help us all to live out that calling to value others above ourselves.

There are members of our church family who either work with people who are at a high risk of severe complications from COVID-19 or have family members who are at high risk.  Because of this, they need to be very careful about not becoming infected and potentially exposing those people.  It is possible that some work places could be shut down entirely if one of our church members becomes infected.

I know that there are a many questions being raised about the true severity of COVID-19, but because there is still so much unknown and our culture is proceeding to re-open public gatherings with caution, these consequences will take place regardless of how any of us feels about the pandemic.

It is important, therefore, that we all take seriously the guidelines for hand-washing, physical distancing between family groups, use of face masks, and other steps for minimizing the spreading of diseases. When it comes to gathering together for worship, we have increased the spacing between chairs and are asking family groups to sit in separate areas as much as possible. We are also asking everyone to keep a 6ft distance between one another and have a face mask available to wear if you can’t keep that distance and those near you are concerned about possible infection.  One of the easiest things you can do is simply ask the person near you if they would prefer you to wear a mask while you talk to them.

There is one specific part of our worship gathering that we need to draw attention to in following these guidelines.  At the end of worship, we often have groups of people who stay to talk and pray with one another.  This is a valuable part of building our fellowship with one another.  We do also need to be aware, however, that there are other people near us who are leaving the building and may need to walk through areas where groups of people typically congregate. This can cause some difficulties for maintaining a comfortable level of distancing from others.

With that in mind, I want to ask us all to consider those people around us and make some changes to the ways we take that time for fellowship after Sunday worship.  Here are some options to consider:

  1. One easy option is to simply move your conversation outside and away from the doorway.  The weather is wonderful lately, and there is plenty of space outdoors
  2. Move away from high-traffic areas of the church and take notice of how close you are to others.  There is plenty of room for us to spread out throughout the church building and allow room for others to move past us more easily
  3. Wear a face mask if you will be engaging with others after church; especially if you are going to be standing close to one another. Remember to ask the people your are talking to if they would prefer you to have a face covering for their protection.

This is not intended to be a complete list of choices you have. There may be other ways I have not considered that you can still enjoy a time of connecting with others in the church as well as take notice of those around you so that we can all have a better comfort level with the efforts we make to prevent unintentionally infecting others around us.