>>> Updated as of 8.8.20 <<<
Reopening: August Update from the Elders
It has been a little more than a month since we reported to the congregation on our phased Reopening. We pray for God to protect Prestoncrest from COVID-19 and to heal those affected by it. We continually ask for God’s wisdom as we strive to fulfill Jesus’s fundamental commandment to us all, from Matthew 22, demonstrating passion for God by loving God with all we have, and compassion for people by loving our neighbors as ourselves.
As we near the end of summer vacations and the beginning of the school year, in whatever form that may be taking, we have seen God working here at Prestoncrest. Attendance at our two in-person services is trending up, enriched by great sermons from Gordon Dabbs on Heaven and from the book of James and our typically great singing led by John Scott Davis. More Adult Bible Connections are looking to meet in-person in rooms large enough to accommodate our social distancing requirements, working with our Adult Education Minister Robert Stolte to meet those needs. And attendance in our new Discover class, led by the newest member of our staff, Young Adults Minister Jacob Hawk, is trending upward as well.
Meanwhile, online attendance at our worship services and online Bible class continues to be strong. After Mike Pipkin finishes his series on the Life and Ministry of Paul, we look forward to a new series in September, taught by Jacob Hawk. We thank God for his perfect plan and for providing Prestoncrest with the means to continue to serve and worship Him, in person, in Spirit, and in truth.
Additionally, the renovation of the Nursery is nearing completion; our young families and their children will be thrilled with how the Nursery has been transformed. Finally, plans are underway for the renovation of space in Preston Place for the Discover class and expansion of the SHOUT class area.
While we have much to be thankful for, the Elders continue to be vigilant shepherds of God’s flock that is under our care, as Peter instructs in 1 Peter 5:2. To that end, the Elders continue to work with and rely on the Reopening Task Force, supported by the Medical Advisory Committee, which has continued to meet and assess how we can best accommodate our fellowship of believers during this extraordinary time.
As Jesus (in Matthew 22:15-22), Paul (in Romans 13:1-7), and Peter (in 1 Peter 2:13-17) have all written, we as believers are to submit the governing authorities. “The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:2) The Elders and Reopening Task Force also consider the advice and counsel of our brothers and sisters on the Medical Advisory Committee. Moreover, we continue to monitor what our medical community is seeing in terms of diagnosed cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19, which have fortunately begun to trend downward after some alarming peaks in early July. Finally, working closely with our Youth Minister Bryan Borden and our Children’s Ministry Director Rebecca Sutton, the Reopening Task Force is assessing how school districts and private schools are planning to function in this difficult environment.
Taking all of this into account, we will be maintaining the status quo through August and into September. We will continue to conduct Worship Services at 8:15 and 10:45 a.m. with social distancing and face coverings mandatory during our services. 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 ages 3 and over while on the Prestoncrest campus except for those Adult Bible Connections that are meeting in rooms large enough to accommodate social distancing. The Elders and Reopening Task Force are heeding the advice of the Medical Advisory Committee and the Centers for Disease Control on this issue, as multiple studies and the trend lines suggest that face coverings are the single best way to control the virus, no matter the age. While face coverings are certainly not comfortable, they remain a sign and symbol of our care and love for others. As Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:4, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Of course, we will continue our streaming, YouTube, Zoom videoconferencing, and other online group opportunities so all members will be able to worship and meet together in person or online.
In the meantime, the Reopening Task Force, the Medical Advisory Committee, and especially our Children’s Ministry Director Rebecca Sutton continue to work on opportunities for our kids to be able to meet and be taught safely, taking into account not only the safety of the children, but also the teachers. For now, we are going to monitor how the school districts and private schools do with their reopening, while we continue to work on logistical plans for children’s classes inside the building, once it is safe to do so.
At the same time, we would like to hear from you (by means of a brief survey - coming soon*) about your interest in a Sunday evening outdoor service starting sometime in September (at the earliest), where social distancing would still be implemented, but face coverings would be optional.
Please continue to be in prayer that God will bless us with His wisdom, guidance, and protection. May God continue to bless the believers at Prestoncrest and followers of Christ throughout the world.
*A link to the survey will be sent to members in the near future.