Church Family & Friends,
This Sunday, June 20, we want to welcome you back indoors for our Sunday Worship service!
Vaccinations and Masks:
As you are aware, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Heath has issued an updated reopening order on June 15.
Basically, if you’re vaccinated, you are free to go maskless indoors and outdoors in most settings. If you are not vaccinated, you are mandated to wear masks in “indoor public settings and businesses” to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Response 1: Submission. Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Throughout this past year and half, our intention to submit to civil regulations has not changed, but what has changed is language specific to limitations on church meetings (in fact, there is no explicit reference to “places of worship” in the current orders). This creates some vagueness regarding application and enforcement of these guidelines for churches.
As a result, we call on all our members to live in submission to civil authorities in obedience to Christ. But the elders do not believe that it should be the church’s role to enforce these current mandates – particularly since “places of worship” are not explicitly delineated in the orders. In other words, we are not going to police your vaccination status or question your integrity in these matters. But for our young children (ages 3-11) we ask that they continue to mask while indoors for their class sessions since they fall under the unvaccinated category.
Response 2: Graciousness. We want to remind you that we are members of one another. This means that we approach our freedoms and our fears with a foundational commitment to love fellow brothers and sisters for whom Christ died. If exercising our liberty be thoughtful of not looking down at our brother in Christ. If struggling with sensitive conscience – to be mindful not to judge our brother in Christ (cf. Rom 14:13-15; 1 Cor 8:11-13). In all things, bear one another’s burdens and test our own convictions that we may continue to train our conscience for God’s glory.
Whatever our levels of discomfort or concern, know that all things will pass. Bear with the weakness of some and the freedom of others with patience and a spirit of unity.
Seating and Overflow:
We want to welcome all of you into the sanctuary for our worship service without social distancing. Our children’s ministry will begin outdoors at 9:00am (see previous emails about children’s church and nursery) in order to provide more seating indoors.
We will open the Fellowship Hall, outdoor Patio Area, and the outdoor space under the Large Tree for overflow and well-ventilated seating. Please utilize whatever space fits your comfort.
It has been a great challenge to navigate this season of disease, restrictions, unrest, and shutdowns. We thank you for your gracious support and loving patience through it all.
Hebrews 13:20–21 20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
On behalf of the Elders of Immanuel Bible Church