Many of you may have already read about the most recent executive order from Governor Whitmer allowing for gatherings of 10 or less people, effective immediately. This is great news!! This will allow Vergennes to begin taking our first steps toward church services with people gathered in the building. (You’ll notice I’m very careful to NOT say steps toward re-opening churches…because our building is not the church!! Vergennes Church has never been closed!!)
There are a few caveats I’ll add.
1. We will continue to follow the guidelines as laid out by the governing authorities, meaning at a minimum, gatherings will be restricted to 10 until the guidelines change.
2. Bishop David Bard, our church authority who oversees all Michigan United Methodists Churches, will still need to weigh in with recommendations for local churches. My guess is that Bishop Bard’s office will release something either by the end of today or tomorrow. I’ll mention that it is entirely possible for Bishop Bard to maintain a more conservative approach to reopening our church buildings, so we still need to wait to hear from him until we can make any hard plans.
3. Although the executive order goes into effect immediately, the soonest anything different would happen for a Sunday worship service will be the following Sunday (May 31), as we recorded the service a little early this week to allow me to have a weekend away for the first time in a while (I’ll still be with y’all in the chat window this Sunday!). Even then, with the restriction at 10 people, it’s likely that the gathering will only include members of the worship team. We will continue to live-stream Sunday morning worship every Sunday for you and your family to participate in.
Going forward, we will continue to monitor the guidelines from both the governing authorities and our church authorities, and I will communicate our plans as they become clear. I can imagine many of you would love to know what the long-term plan is, including the date when you can plan on attending worship in our building; I would love to be able to tell you that. Unfortunately, we are not currently in a position to be able to do that, as we have to wait to see how this situation evolves, and the guidelines we are given.
Know this: We will continue to make weekly worship services a priority, and will seek to make them as accessible as possible, while also seeking to be wise and to protect the health of our church members and our greater community.
Bottom line; let’s celebrate the good news, while continuing to be patient about knowing when we’ll be able to attend in-person worship services.
In the meantime, let’s go BE the church, no matter where we’re located.