>>> Updated as of 6.25.20 <<<
Reopening: A New Update from the Elders
A little more than a month has passed since we shared Prestoncrest’s plan for reopening our campus for worship services in phases, with Phase 1 beginning on May 31. We then moved to Phase 2 a week later, with two or three of our adult Bible class connections beginning to meet.
In the meantime, the Elders have continued to pray for healing and protection, and for God’s wisdom as we consider the current conditions and next steps, keeping in mind Jesus’s fundamental commandment to us all, from Matthew 22, to love God with all we have, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. And the Reopening Task Force, relying upon the expertise and guidance of the Medical Advisory Committee, has continued to meet and assess how we can best accommodate our fellowship of believers during this extraordinary time.
The Reopening Task Force has continued to take into account what our government, both local and federal, is asking of us, as Paul instructed us to do in Romans 13:1. To that point, Dallas County has created a guidance system for the activities that may put the public at risk of acquiring COVID-19 that is based on guidance from the State of Texas and the CDC, using colors to reflect the level of risk: red, orange, yellow, and green. Several local congregations are using the Dallas County guidance as an objective measure to determine when they will begin to meet in person.
The Dallas County guidelines also provide specific recommendations for a variety of activities, including attending worship services, funerals, and large gatherings. Meanwhile, we are all aware that Dallas County and Texas in general are experiencing an unwelcome spike in diagnosed cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19. As a congregation of believers, we are doing our very best to align ourselves with governmental policy regarding COVID-19, while heeding the advice and counsel of our brothers and sisters in the medical community.
At the same time, we have been demonstrating our care and concern for all by following our Phase 1 and 2 protocols, while looking forward to what Phase 3 and beyond might look like.
As a reminder, we will continue to conduct Worship Services at 8:15 and 10:45 a.m. Some local congregations have decided to stop meeting in-person after opening up for a brief time, so we are thankful that we can continue to meet together. Seating will be limited to approximately 225 people per service to comply with social distancing guidelines, but we are no longer going to ask for you to let us know if you will be attending; all are welcome.
At-risk members are strongly encouraged to stay home and stay safe, watching the online service and Bible class which will continue to be streamed online and posted on Prestoncrest’s YouTube channel.
The use of face coverings continues to be mandatory for all attendees over the age of 2 while on the Prestoncrest campus except as otherwise provided. The Elders and Reopening Task Force are listening to all who have commented on and may disagree with this requirement. But please know that this necessity is done out of love. As Paul said in Philippians 2:4, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Under Phase 2, some adult Bible class connections have begun to meet in person in classrooms that allow for social distancing and the optional removal of face coverings, provided that there is no singing. Please refer to the website for additional information on where those classes are meeting.
Of course, we will continue our streaming, YouTube, Zoom videoconferencing, and other online group opportunities so all members will be able to worship either in person or online.
As for how long we will be in Phase 2, given what we are seeing in our county and state, we will be in Phase 2 through July and into August. In the meantime, the Reopening Task Force and the Medical Advisory Committee will continue to gather additional information and data, including looking at what our local schools will be doing when classes are scheduled to begin, either in person or online.
Some are asking about what Phases 3 and 4 might look like. The Reopening Task Force, supported by the Medical Advisory Committee, continues to discuss that topic, either in our Zoom meetings or individually. We have spent a great deal of time listening to our Children’s Ministry parents, and it is our goal in Phase 3 to develop opportunities for our kids to be able to meet safely once school begins. And we look to the wisdom and guidance of our Medical Advisory Committee with respect to our use of face coverings, especially as we consider studies that suggest that face coverings are the single best way to control the spread of the virus.
As for Phase 4, we will continue to pray that it be God’s will that many of us who are not at risk will be able to meet together in person in growing numbers, until such time that we can fellowship with one another out from under the cloud of uncertainty that this virus brings.
Please continue to be in prayer that God will bless us with His wisdom, guidance, and protection. We look forward to meeting together, in person or virtually, worshiping in spirit and in truth.