The Week of September 20th
I wanted to start this opening column this week with a big "Thank You" for each person whom is part of the SonRise community. The last few months have been challenging- but you have just been awesome! You have been here faithfully, or watched from home and let us know you were participating online. You have scanned temperatures at the door, greeted people with grace, passed out masks, worshiped the Lord with energy, served in the Food Pantry or in one of our many projects. You have faithfully supported your church in prayer and in your giving. You are amazing. If you are not yet part of SonRise, let me tell you that you should consider it! This is a blessed group of people!
With Governor Whitmer's Executive last major order, there have been some questions regarding whether services will continue to meet live. Yes, they will continue to do so. The EO's as they stand do not penalize worshipers for meeting in houses of worship, even though they restrict crowds in indoor public spaces in other ways. We will NOT be changing our scheduling. We will continue to scan for temperatures. We would still ask you to stay home if you feel sick or have any temperature or collection of other symptoms- that is wisdom.
Should you wear a mask? Well, that IS the recommendation of the CDC and doctors. I know that everyone CANNOT wear a mask due to medical reasons having nothing to do with COVID-19, but for those who can, we certainly recommend it. The Governor's current Executive Order states that worshipers attending a place of worship for religious services will NOT be subject to penalty for NOT wearing a mask, but they are still strongly recommended to do so. We have created, and continue to use, options for those who wish a defined "socially distanced" seating environment. We show grace whether you wear or do not wear a mask, but we do ask for continued courtesy to respect personal space either way.
We will have no Common Coffee for several weeks. We will dismiss in a certain fashion that we ask you to help us with, and we encourage no close contact in the foyer. Kids ministry has restarted in person, though we still ask parents to not bring children who are sick. Of course, if you have children and are worried about potential COVID infections, we encourage you to keep them with you for service- kids are always welcome! Just as we have been doing for a while, we will not pass an offering plate, but instead encourage you to use the box, the safe drop or online giving.
For the long term, we understand that we cannot satisfy everyone on the issue of virus safety. We want to be careful. As far as we know, no one at SonRise has yet contracted COVID-19. That does not mean that we cannot, or that anyone including myself and our staff are specially immune or invincible. We do not want to have anyone feel forced to attend live services at any time if you feel it is unsafe. If a Governor's EO makes you feel it is unsafe...stay home. If you arrive and too few people are wearing masks...head home. If there is not enough socially-distanced seating to help you, we apologize, but wish you all safety as you head out. If you are unsure about children or youth meeting at this time, please keep them with you or out of the meeting spaces they meet in. Let us know the problems you are concerned about. We may not be able to correct them all, but we will do what we can! No one will judge you or pressure you in any fashion. We have not done so and will not begin to do so in the future.
If you feel it is unsafe, please take advantage of the resources on this website and on our two Facebook groups. We have been posting Sunday and now Wednesday services in video. We post audio-only messages. Calendar information exists on this site. You can communicate to us through text, email or phone. if you wish to give, and we are so thankful that you have done so in the past, this page makes that possible, or offerings can be mailed or delivered to the church.
On Saturday, September 26th, we are hosting a prayer and repentance event simulcast from Washington DC called "The Return". It starts at 9am and runs until about 6pm. You can enter and leave as you wish, but we believe the entire day will be a powerful time of prayer and focus on our personal lives, our churches, communities and our nation and world. We hope you can take part of that day to join us. To see additional information, please go to thereturn.org.
I will keep you up to speed as the days and situations develop.