Covid-19

Covid-19

November 16 2020 – UPDATE:

To Our Lakewood Members and Guests:

As we continue to deal with the effects of COVID-19, we want to exercise care and wisdom in all that we do. The situation around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is constantly unfolding in the Lakewood area, and the Re-Enter Team has been monitoring and considering all the information that is coming out. After gathering once again on Monday night we ultimately decided to err on the side of caution to prevent possibility of any further spread.

Consequently, the team has decided to suspend ALL in-person services and activities through December 27. At this time our plan is to return to the sanctuary on Sunday, January 3. During this time physically apart, we will continue to provide a pre-recorded version of Sunday’s service which can be accessed on our YouTube site, our Facebook page and our website.

This is not an easy decision for us to make and we’re disappointed that our gatherings will be interrupted. But God is good, and we trust that even COVID-19 is one of the “all things” He’s working for our good in the end (Romans 8:28).

Alas, as much as you all may wish to see less of me – we are not going into hiding! We are committed to providing many opportunities for connection and community even in times when we are not physically together.

  • Sunday’s in-person Adult Sunday School is suspending class for a while, but you can still Zoom in to our Virtual Bible Study on the Heroes of Faith at 9 am on Sundays. (Zoom Meeting ID# 616 901 7633)
  • Two exceptions for in-building gatherings: Wednesday 1 pm services led by Pastor Kathy continue and we will be celebrating Holy Communion on Christmas Eve from 5 to 7 pm. The Wednesday group is normally attended by less than ten people and the two hour time allotment for Communion should allow for adequate social distancing.
  • Sara and Marin are continuing to create wonderful, creative Sunday School lessons for our kids that can be accessed on YouTube!
  • Julie, Pam, and Lori are working remotely from home, but they are still available via e-mail.
  • I will maintain my regular office hours (Sunday through Thursday) to provide care and support for all of you, whether you need help accessing our online services, prayer for your health, or just a phone call to know you’re not alone.

And our newest addition:

  • Sunday Morning 10:30am Zoom Service!

 Join in on Zoom to experience a live online-format worship experience. Our hope is that providing this option will allow us to stay connected with one another. We’ll have worship, live scripture reading, live prayer requests, live preaching – it will hopefully feel like the next best thing to sitting in the pew!

While we would all much rather be in person doing worship, we are excited about an opportunity to stay in community in this out-of-the-box way. Through this time we continue to pray for one another, asking for God’s protection over the Lakewood body. We ask that you be in prayer for those already dealing with COVID-19 and please pray for us as your Leadership and Re-Enter Teams—we need wisdom in all these matters.

It has been so hard not to have everyone gather in our building and yet these past few months watching you all BE the church has filled me with such pride, Lakewood. You have shown up for one another and yourselves in remarkable ways: writing cards, making calls and deliveries, giving generously, learning new technologies, and supporting staff as we’ve sought to adapt and quickly learn new ways of doing ministry. It is because of how you are already BEING the church in such significant ways that I know we will make it through whatever the coming months hold.

In moments of anxiety and uncertainty in our society, we have the opportunity as God’s people to model another way – a way that leads us forward in faith and not fear. We believe this to be Christ’s Way of love and compassion and justice. As we take precautions for ourselves and loved ones, it is our faith and trust in God that brings us comfort, strength, and peace that passes all understanding.

I offer my deepest gratitude to my staff and colleagues, our Leadership Team, and our COVID-19 Response Re-Enter Team for their wisdom and guidance throughout this process and for their support in evaluating our decisions on a monthly basis as we move forward.

It’s also important to remember that the world has not suddenly become a scary, isolating place, but that these physical-distancing and hygienic precautions are here to stop the spread of this infectious disease so that when we gather again no one is missing.

As we get more information, we will post updates on our website, through social media, and through Flocknote.

I am reminded of this blessing from Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

May the peace of God dwell richly in your homes and neighborhoods in these next weeks.

See you online!

Pastor Steve

November 2020 UPDATE: 
 
To our Beloved Church Family,
 
Your Lakewood Re-Enter Team just completed our monthly check-in meeting where we discussed our personal lives and the effects the pandemic has had on those close to us. We continued praise of our congregation, including those who attend services in person and those that worship online. The faithfulness of all of you regarding safety protocol has been inspirational. 
 
In the light of recent spikes in cases close to home, our team agreed that our protocol and guidelines while remaining mostly the same, will have the following updates moving forward – effective immediately. 
 
1.      Masks are to be worn at all times while in the church building: both on Sunday mornings and when attending any necessary meetings in person.
2.     To improve our current contact tracing protocol we will have slips in each pew for you to sign and place in a bucket in the back of the sanctuary on your way OUT…alternatively you could take some home with you and place in the bucket on your way IN! The important thing is: everyone needs to sign in each week so that we have the information necessary for contact tracing should the need arise.
 
As a reminder, the Re-Entry Team will continue to meet on a monthly basis to review the current and most up-to-date pandemic data/recommendations and make any necessary adjustments to protocol for the following month.

As we enter into cold-and-flu season we appreciate your continued diligence in keeping our church family safe by following our safety protocols and staying home if you are feeling under the weather.

September 2020

Lakewood Church Re-Entry to the Building Guidelines

 Please carefully read the safety precautions below as we re-enter the building for worship on Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 10:30am. Adult Sunday School will begin one week later (September 13 at 9:30am).  Children’s Sunday School has been postponed until November.

We understand that not all families may want to attend in-person due to health concerns, and therefore the on-line service will continue to be available on the church’s website (www.lakewoodmiumc.org). Please know that your health (spiritual and physical) is of paramount importance to your church family. We love you in Jesus’ name, and we’re grateful you are a part of Lakewood Church!

RE-ENTRY GUIDELINES:

  • Entry/Exit –Use the Main (Door 1) or Courtyard Garden (Door 4) entrances only.

  • Restrooms – Restrooms in the Gathering Room and the Narthex will be open.

  • Hand Sanitizer – will be readily available in multiple places.

  • Social Distancing – of approximately 6 feet is required as you enter and exit. For now, we can replace handshakes and hugs with smiles and waves.

  • Offering – A giving container will be at the back of the sanctuary. In addition, the black box outside the building can be used and on-line giving is also available.

  • Bibles – Please bring you own Bible book or use your on-line Bible.

  • Masks – Wearing a mask in the common areas is required. Once seated, you may remove your mask, but we ask that you put it back on if you sing along with the music. Please bring your own mask from home; if you forget, masks are available in the Gathering Room. Very young children need not wear a mask.

  • Seating – Look for a seat marked with a flower. The flowers are set up to help us maintain an approximate 6-foot distance from other families in the sanctuary.

  • Maximum Occupancy – If we reach capacity with social distancing in the sanctuary, chairs are set up in the Gathering Room to watch the service on the monitor.

  • Exiting When Service Ends –In order to maintain distancing as we exit, ushers will dismiss by sections and rows. Please put on your mask as you exit.

  • Visiting Before & After Services – We ask that you not visit in the Narthex and instead use the Gathering Room where you can better maintain social distancing. Also, visiting outside while we still have some warmer autumn temperatures is a great option.

  • Coffee and Cookies – No coffee, food, or other communal items will be shared or offered by the church. You may bring your own coffee.

OTHER PRECAUTIONS AND GENERAL HEALTH ISSUES: 

  • If you are not feeling well or have had a fever of 100° or more in the last week, please refrain from attending until you have had no fever for 48 hours (without the help of medication).
  • If you have been exposed to Covid-19, please worship online and seek medical attention.
  • Each and every space that is open in the church will be carefully disinfected between use.
  • Most interior doors will be propped open to decrease sanitation needs.
  • Please wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as often as possible or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes; if you do, please wash or sanitize after.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow fold or use a tissue.

SUNDAY SCHOOL AND OTHER PROGRAMS:

K-5th – Will not meet in person this fall, tentative date for resuming in person is November 1st.  However, Sunday School lesson videos to be released each week kicking off on 9/13.

Middle & High School – Will not meet in person this fall, tentative date for resuming is November 1st.

Adult – Classes may resume in person 9/13 at 9:30am with location at each teacher’s discretion. The tentative plan is that small groups will be coordinated to go along with the sermon series beginning October 4th. 

Wednesday Night Live – Will not be meeting this fall as we elected to eliminate the meals and youth programs as we feel families are going to need adjustment time this fall. We can re-evaluate in January.

GF412 – We are moving GF412 to Sunday evenings from 6pm-7:30pm beginning on 9/13. We will have separate studies for High School and Middle School and then can potentially combine for group activities. We plan to meet outside as much as possible, weather permitting, and then are looking at potentially using the fellowship hall to more adequately distance the kids. We have maintained most of our core group of leaders, but if anyone has an interest in connecting with our youth through GF412 we’d love to add to our team.

Nursery – Will not be staffed this fall when we move back in the church for worship. It will be open for families to utilize on their own. We will post signs and provide sanitizing spray so that families can sanitize the toys they used