Dear Church Family,
The past several months have certainly been difficult as we have continued to persevere through the COVID-19 crisis. Each day seems to bring a new way of addressing the issues at hand. Each one of us have been impacted to some degree by the issues we are facing. Yet, it is a comfort to know that God is still in control. This whole circumstance has not taken Him by surprise. It is the reality of His presence and His providence (superintendence over us as His people) that gives us hope in the midst of all this. As the psalmist said in Psalm 42:5, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God.” As believers, we don’t have to live in fear; we can go forward in faith trusting that God will see us through.
With this in mind, let me share with you our church’s most recent response to the coronavirus crisis.
Contingency Plan for Service Schedule
This past week, President Trump made a public declaration as the Commander in Chief of our nation declaring church gatherings “essential” at this stage of the reopening after the coronavirus. Up to date, we have patiently waited, striving to submit to the ordinances of our civil authorities. Now, in working with both our county, state, and federal civil leaders, we have come up with a plan through which we can safely and effectively begin the process of reopening.
For the past several weeks we have been in what is being called the Safer at Home stage in Colorado. Gatherings have been restricted to 10 or less. In this phase, it has been impossible for us to have public worship services together, so we have continued on with both online and house gatherings. Through this time, the leadership team of our church has worked diligently in conjunction with the leadership of our state and county to develop a plan we believe will enable us to safely and effectively reopen our church doors for public worship services.
Therefore, we are excited to announce that on Sunday, May 31, we officially plan to begin a phased reopening of our church doors for public worship services! On this Sunday, we will begin Phase 2 of our Reopening Plan (see attached plan for full details). You can be sure that we will be exercising every precaution in taking this step to protect the well-being and health of every person in attendance.
Here are a few highlights about Phase 2 of our Reopening Plan for you to keep in mind.
1. There will be two morning worship services for you to attend. (8:45am and 10:45am)
a. The first worship services will be at 8:45am. We recommend all the elderly and at-risk who are comfortable attending come to this service as it will be a smaller attendance.
b. The second service will be at 10:45am.
c. There will be no Small Group gatherings at the church on Sunday mornings during Phase2.
2. We are seeking to keep attendance at less than 30 percent of our auditorium capacity to be able to maintain social distancing (as has been recommended). Therefore, we ask you let us know which service you plan to attend in advance if possible. You can register on our website (lbccortez.org), at https://reopen.church/r/RLgtbtuD, on our Facebook page (lbccortez), or by calling us at 970-565-9302 (if nobody answers leave a message to let us know).
3. If you are not feeling well, are running a fever, have any symptoms of COVID-19, or if you might have been in contact with anyone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, you should not attend.
4. Adults with chronic lung disease, severe asthma, serious heart conditions, those undergoing cancer treatments, or any others who are immunocompromised, are encouraged not to attend. Of course, you will not be denied the right to attend the service. But, remember, your health is more important than your physical attendance.
5. There will be no nursery or children’s classes during the early part of Phase 2.
6. Seating will be adjusted in the auditorium to maintain social distancing.
7. Wearing a mask will not be required, but recommended. All of our ministry volunteers will be wearing masks to protect those who attend.
8. The church building will be cleaned and sanitized before and after every service.
9. We ask that you do not shake hands or hug others before, during, or after the service. (Sorry!)
10. If you are uncomfortable with regathering at this point, we totally understand, love, respect and honor your decision (and we will miss you).
11. We will continue to broadcast all our services on Facebook Live for those who would feel more comfortable staying home. (All services are posted later on our YouTube channel — lbccortez and our website — www.lbccortez.org.)
For more information on this plan, please reference the attached Reopening Plan. Please read through the guidelines set forth therein, and help us as we strive to maintain them in our public gatherings. Together, we will persevere through this time striving to protect one another and maintain a good testimony in our community.
Through this crisis, God taught us many things. Chief among them in my mind is how precious and important our church family really is. Though we have been distanced physically, I believe in so many ways we have grown closer relationally and spiritually.
Church family, we have not allowed this time of separation to divided us, so let us not allow this time of regathering to do so either. Though you may not agree with every decision regarding how we are reopening, please understand that every decision is being made through prayer and counsel. We each must follow the leading of the Spirit of God in how we move forward from this difficult time. Let us not be quick to judge one another in practicing our faith, but let us seek to love and encourage each other.
Please know that I love you. You have been specifically in my prayers through this crisis. If you have a need or if you need to talk don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Can’t wait to see you again soon!
Sincerely in Christ,
Bruce M. Burkett