Covid-19 Update: Regathering Update 3

Most of us have never experienced a year such as 2020!  Whatever we previously defined as “normal” feels like a distant memory, and we are learning to embrace an ever-changing landscape in which we must learn to be flexible and full of grace. Your leadership at Woodland Park has sought to consistently seek God for direction throughout this season. We have prayed, sought wise counsel, and adapted as best we can each step of the way to continue to live out our mission to Encourage Surrender, Equip Believers, and Engage our World for the glory of God. In this strange year we have opened and maintained a food pantry to our community, celebrated several baptisms, and welcomed 101 teenagers at Student Camp. Even a pandemic can’t stop God’s work!  We are excited about our future and want to share an update with you.

Regathering Plan

Early in May we shared a detailed four-phase regathering plan. It was based on the best information and counsel we had at that time. Due to the ever-changing nature of Covid-19 research and data, we have made modifications to the plan along the way. We understand this has caused some confusion and questions and has made the plan less clear. So, while we are still proceeding with caution and safety, we have decided to set aside the four-phase plan and instead update you as to where we are presently. We are still receiving regular counsel from our task force of doctors, and if any new Covid-19 developments—specifically in Hamilton County and the city of Chattanooga—affect our plans and procedures, we will promptly communicate those with you. Thank you for your patience and your prayers for your leaders. We love our church family and count it a joy to serve you.

Weekend Service

August 8 & 9 will mark our eighth weekend of regathering for onsite services. While many people have not yet returned—and for many reasons—it has been refreshing to worship with some of our church family in the same room together! If you’re thinking about joining us onsite, here are a few things we’re doing to ensure your safety:
  1. Seating - In order to maintain physical distance, the number of chairs in the worship center has been reduced and spread out into short rows of 2-9.
  2. Masks - Out of love and deference for those around us, everyone age three and older must wear a mask. We understand that it might be uncomfortable or inconvenient, but the reason many people feel safe to attend is because we are wearing masks.
  3. Cleaning - Bathrooms, door handles, Worship Center seats, and other surfaces are cleaned and disinfected before, between, and after every service.
  4. Minimal Contact - Greeters will meet you as you enter the building to eliminate the need to touch door handles. Secure offering boxes have been installed on the inside of Worship Center doors in place of passing a plate.
  5. Pre-Registration - Because of our current limited seating, and in order to offer contact tracing should there be a Covid-19 exposure at a service, we are registering and checking in every leader, volunteer, and attender.
Given these precautions, we encourage everyone and all ages to join us as you feel it is wise and best for you. Select your service time and save your seat today for an upcoming weekend. We will continue to provide online content for those unable to be with us onsite. Finally, because so many people in our church have not seen each other for months, we are planning one outdoor service on Saturday evening, September 12, followed by a time of fellowship.

wpKids

We are excited to begin onsite activities and care for children from birth up to grade 5 on the weekend of August 15 & 16 starting with one service time only—Sunday, 11:00am. Children in kindergarten through grade 5 will meet together for wpKid’s Church, and we will have caregivers and leaders for birth through age 4. Following the guidelines of Hamilton County Schools, children grade 2 and younger will be able to remove their mask once they have been checked into their rooms. You can register your entire family on one form. We are looking forward to helping families connect their kids to God and to each other!

Focus for the Fall Semester

Acts 2:46 says of the early church, Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart. Covid-19 has disrupted both our large group gatherings as a church, and our small groups as well. Heading into the fall of 2020 and a new ministry year, we will be emphasizing more than ever the need to be connected in community with a smaller group of believers at Woodland Park. As we seek to discern how to best be the body of Christ in these challenging days and to better understand what strategies will be most helpful, we value your input. Would you take a couple minutes to fill out a short survey?
Our current situation calls for flexibility, patience, and grace. Ministry at Woodland Park will certainly look different this Fall Semester—no Equip Fair, no typical Wednesday evening or Sunday evening programs—yes, our groups will look very different. However, we are encouraged that our great King is at work in and through His people and will use these circumstances to further transform our lives both individually and as a Body to reflect Christ. Our primary goal in the coming months is to connect people to one another and to God as safely and effectively as possible. By God’s grace, we will step into the uncertainty of the immediate future with full confidence that Jesus is in control and His Church will flourish as we live in surrender to Him.
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