by: Randall Greene
Yesterday the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Governor Gretchen Whitmer does not have the authority to extend Michigan's State of Emergency without the consent of the legislature. Practically speaking, that means that the numerous executive orders were also nullified. There is, however, varying opinion on how quickly those orders will become unenforceable and what other mechanisms the Governor may have to reissue some of them.
What the court could not do is take away the virus. We realize that the virus is still very active, spreads easily and very dangerous to some. BUT, we also know that worship is very important, or as President Trump called it, 'essential". Hebrews 10:25 warns us, "Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing...." Live Stream is great when you absolutely can't make it to church. It's a way to stay connected during extreme situations when it's just impractical to get together, but it doesn't replace the meeting together of Believers as described in the Bible.
So, it's incumbent upon us to offer a way to worship, but to do so in a safe, responsible manner. To that end, I want to invite most of you to return to worship tomorrow, understanding the safety measures we're employing, your responsibility for keeping each other safe, and in the spirit of Philippians 2:3-4 which says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." In that Spirit, here's our request of you:
(1) Please stay home, and join us on Tri County Live (Facebook and Youtube) if you have been in recent contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid-19, if you have a fever above 99.5 or if you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19. This is your absolute responsibility for others.
(2) Please wear a mask when traversing our building. We know many of you don't like masks, are uncomfortable in them, and in some cases can't tolerate them. BUT, there's nobody who can't wear a mask for 2 minutes to walk in the door and find a seat. Once seated, you are more than welcome to remove your mask.
(3) Please maintain social distancing. We've set up our auditorium and fellowship hall (aka "overflow worship center") for social distancing. Please sit together with your family. Please don't approach others to hug or shake hands with them. (Be sure to wave or send a friendly smile, though!)
(4) To the extent possible, avoid using the restrooms, walking around the building, etc. Our restrooms are available for those who need them, however.
(5) Do not use the coffee/water area. We hope to offer this hospitality area again, soon. But, to look out for the interest of others, we've closed them for the time being. You are more than welcome to bring a coffee or bottled water with you.
We've take steps to accommodate our church safely. We've purchased individual pre-sealed communion supplies. We won't pass the plate, but will allow rows (family groups) one group at a time to step to the front to get their communion. We've set up our Fellowship Hall with video and audio from our auditorium so that you're listening in real-time. We've set up an FM radio frequency so that if you become uncomfortable, or have a crying baby, you can go to your vehicle and still listen in. Our nursery is also available for parents to use. There is a live-feed of our service in there, too.
We have persons in our church that are at a higher risk for the effects of Covid if contracted. We invite you to prayerfully consider what you should do. We certainly don't want you to take undo risk with your health!
We have persons in our church that really enjoy the fellowship of others, especially their church, and want to converse with each other. You're welcome to do that, but please wait until at least 5 minutes after the service. Those who are comfortable will stick around and those who aren't so comfortable will leave rather quickly.
At Tri County, we are a church family. We want to be together. We need to be together and we believe we can be together if we all take the responsibility for each other upon ourselves. We hope to worship with you tomorrow. It's been too long since we've been together.