Due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the Roanoke Valley, the Personnel Committee in conjunction with the staff are taking additional steps (in addition to those below, which are still in effect) to protect our staff and you during your weekday visits to the church building. We kindly ask that you stand at the staff's office door for short conversations and do NOT enter the offices. If you need to meet with a staff member for more than a minute or two, we have set up room 107 with a UV-C, charcoal, HEPA filter air purifier. This room is also large enough to allow for proper social distancing. In addition, we have put in place work from home procedures in case a staff member were to be exposed and/or show symptoms of COVID-19; thus, we ask that you call before heading to the church building. Thanks in advance for your co-operation!
Staff has been hard at it and have a plan regarding the governor’s announcement on Friday (5/8/20) about easing the restrictions on religious services. There is A LOT of information to cover, please read it! The good news is… wait for it… wait for it… WE WILL WORSHIP LIVE AND IN PERSON AS OF 5/17/20! PLEASE NOTE: Item #10 below is updated as of 5/27/20.
Before we dive into the details, we want to make sure that you understand that your decision to participate, or not to participate, will be respected! Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you have to do something! More than anything, we want you to make the decision that is best for you, your family and your loved ones.
In addition to saying that, we would also encourage those that are considered high risk; whether it be age, underlying health conditions, medications that suppress the immune system, or other reasons to stay at home. Just know that we still love you and we will miss you, but we see no need in taking an unnecessary risk. For those of you that stay home… we will miss you!
We also want to take this opportunity to let you know that in addition to Facebook Live, we will also Live Stream the messages to our own website each Sunday morning at https://www.villaheights.com/gather/live-stream.
Now, let’s dig into the details… We are calling this Phase 2 our COVID-19 Response… we are currently in Phase 1. Just as with Phase 1, the following will be in place until further notice.
First and foremost we are thankful to have the opportunity to gather and worship, however, it will be much different than what we are used to. We have three considerations that we MUST consider at this point for gatherings here at church.
- Social Distancing – It is absolutely imperative for everyone to practice maintaining 6 feet of distance between people not in your family unit. Smiles instead of handshakes. Air hugs instead of body hugs. All of our members and guests need to feel safe up here. That’s the only way to have everyone to feel comfortable. Please respect this request!
- Cleaning – Sanitation is a huge priority. We are putting together a team and have supplies ready to keep everything clean and disinfected that we normally use… including pews. If you would consider being part of this team, please contact Mary Beth.
- Children – Kids cannot be expected to keep social distancing rules except when they are with their family. Therefore, there will be no Sunday morning children activities separate from parents. We will wait until parents get guidance from schools before we implement Sunday morning activities for children.
Now, here is what you can expect Sunday mornings for Worship services beginning May 17th:
- Sunday morning Worship services on campus this Sunday will be 8:30am, 9:45am and 11:00am. We may change this next week depending on how many people we have in attendance. The services will last for 45 minutes.
- We MUST practice social distancing inside and outside!
- Children must stay with their family unit at all times.
- The coffee station will be closed.
- Greeters will greet you outside and someone will open the door for you.
- Ushers will greet you at one of the three inside entrances to the worship center.
- Ushers will then seat you. Please do not expect to get “your seat.” They will seat everyone based on the order you come in from front to back and skipping every other pew and six feet apart between individuals/family units. If your family drives separately, but wants to sit together, we ask that you come through the doors together.
- After the service ushers will dismiss row by row beginning with the back row first.
- We must exit the building quickly and efficiently so it can be cleaned and ready for the next service. You can fellowship outside keeping social distancing rules. The playground is closed on Sunday morning.
- UPDATED 5/27/20 - Pursuant with the governor's mandate on 5/26/20 - Everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a mask while inside the building.
- We have installed Tithe & Offering drop boxes at all three entrances to the Worship Center. You can place your Tithes & Offerings in these boxes as you enter or leave the Worship Center. You can continue to give electronically and by mailing your offering as well.
Here are some additional points of interest:
- UPDATED 8/3/2020 - Some Sunday School classes will continue in the virtual meeting model! Other classes will be meeting at irregular times and locations in person using the largest spaces we have available to factilitate social distancing requirements. You can click HERE for a schedule of both virutal and in-person classes. If you want to get involved with a Sunday School class contact Willie or Frank.
- Sunday School classes may schedule official fellowship events on campus. These events MUST be scheduled and rules will apply. Contact Willie if you are interested.
- Youth and Children’s ministries may begin fellowship events on campus. These events MUST be scheduled, supervised by Pastor Rick or Mary Beth and rules will apply.
- No private events can be scheduled at this time on campus as they are not considered religious functions.
Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory illness — an infection of the airways and lungs. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus. It is part of the same family of coronaviruses that includes the common cold. The coronavirus outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Since then, the virus has spread to other countries.
The most common early symptoms appear between 2 and 14 days after infection. Symptoms can be mild to severe. They include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. Most people recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
Like many other viruses, the coronavirus (COVID-19) seems to spread from person-to-person through a cough, sneeze, or kiss. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regularly updates the status of the coronavirus (COVID-19), including its relative risk, at cdc.gov/coronavirus. You can also find more information from the World Health Organization.
If you are sick with a cough or running a fever, or you have a compromised immune system in other ways, we encourage you to remain at home and/or seek proper medical attention. Please also alert your church family so that we can best help and support you.
If you are elderly or have existing medical conditions that might place you at higher risk in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we strongly encourage you to limit your interactions with others during these days. At the same time, we ask you to please let us as your church family know how we can best help and support you.
Regardless of age or medical condition, we encourage everyone to take certain steps to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, flu, and other illnesses, including:
- Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- Using hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available;
- Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands;
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
- Staying home if you are sick;
- Coughing or Sneezing into the crook of your elbow;
- Disinfecting objects and surfaces regularly
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is yet one more reminder that we live in a fallen world of sickness, sin, suffering, and death. Ultimately, none of us are immune to any of these things. But that’s why the gospel is such good news. God has not left us alone in this world of sickness, sin, suffering, and death. He has come to us in the person of Jesus. The greatest news in all the world is that Jesus lived a life with no sin, died on a cross to pay the price for our sin, and rose from the grave in victory over sin and death. Now anyone anywhere who turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus will be forgiven of all their sin and restored to relationship with God forever. That means that through Jesus, we never have to fear sickness or death because we know we have eternal life with God.
If you do not know that you have eternal life with God, we urge you to put your faith in Jesus. And if you do know that you have eternal life with God, we urge you to share your faith in Jesus with others. Times like these remind us all of the fragility of life and the inevitability of death. So let’s spread the greatest news that death has been defeated and eternal life is available to all who trust in Jesus.
In addition to trusting in Jesus and sharing about Jesus with others, here’s some other ways you can respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19):
- Trust in God as the good and sovereign Creator and Sustainer of life upon whom we all depend.
- Pray for mercy for the sick, strength for doctors, insight for researchers, and wisdom for officials.
- Look for opportunities to love and care for others, whether they are sick, isolated, marginalized, poor, or oppressed.
- Avoid every semblance of prejudice or racism. In light of the origination of this virus in Asia, it has been grievous to see a rise in racist incidents against the Asian community. Some of our church family is Asian-American, and we want every Asian-American (as well as Asians around the world) to feel and know the love of Christ. So just as we do in any circumstance, guard against all prejudice or racism in your thoughts, your words, and your actions.
- Even if we are unable to gather at certain times, stay closely connected to the church family. Gather with smaller groups as appropriate, and participate in worship gatherings online if that’s the only option.
- Continue to faithfully give financial offerings online HERE or by mail so that the ministry of the church thrives all the more in the midst of difficult days.
Reflect often on the brevity of life, the urgency of eternity, and the beauty of the gospel.