Dear Brothers and Sisters,
UPDATE: Due to the recent National Emergency Declaration by our President and the instructions given to us by our community leaders, we believe that we should honor their request to limit the potential exposure that large crowds contribute to the spread of the coronavirus by adopting changes to our normal manner of conducting worship services.
While we believe our risk remains fairly low; (as of this writing, there are 12 confirmed cases in Montgomery County with approx. 600,000 residents) we believe, that through an abundance of caution, we should be prudent and encourage our congregation to follow our governmental leaders as much as is possible. To that end, we sent the CDC recommendations for faith-based organizations to you Friday and we ask you to honor them as much as possible. While Governor Abbott said limits of 10 or fewer for group gatherings does not apply to churches, we believe that altering our approach and providing physical spacing in our assemblies is prudent.
Therefore, as we began on March 15, 2020 and until March 29, 2020, the College Park Church of Christ will limit its service times to Sunday morning only. We also will not participate in any communal lunches during this time. We will then analyze the situation in the community regarding the spread of the virus and will make a decision for the following weeks at that time. We ask, in addition to the above, that we change our approach in the interim period of time regarding communion and shaking hands.
Communion – during the service, only the person in charge will handle communion and contribution trays respectively while wearing sanitary gloves. The person in charge of communion, while wearing sanitary gloves, will break the bread into many smaller pieces in every tray and the “bread” trays will be set on the edge of the communion table, and subsequently, the “fruit of the vine” trays be placed in like manner. We are asking the congregation to take one of the smaller broken pieces and to not handle or touch any other bread pieces. When time for the “fruit of the vine”, please take an individual container, drink from it, and place the emptied container into one of the trash cans located near the communion table. We ask that while coming forward for the bread or the cup to maintain 6 feet of distance between each other.
Contribution – this same process above will repeat at the appropriate time.
Shaking hands – we are asking that during this period not to shake hands. Be creative when showing your
appreciation for your brothers and sisters at your greeting but also honor the 6-foot request.
Your Elders are very concerned for the spiritual and physical wellbeing of the congregation and seek your total commitment to following these guidelines and the CDC recommendations as closely as possible. We have several members of our congregation that are older and may be more susceptible to the risks associated with this virus. We understand they may choose not to assemble with us at this time, but we want it to be their decision, not ours. This is true for any of our members who have underlying health issues or displaying any symptoms. Err on the side of caution. We want to keep everyone safe. Extra cleaning procedures have been put into place to keep the risk of transferring the virus to a minimum.
We believe God understands when we are not able to be present at the assembly due to certain circumstances that do not allow it. You will be missed.
Our fellowship times and other service times are very important to us and we look forward to being able to re-engage together on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday nights for lunches and worship.
We encourage you to spend time in personal study during this time and would encourage you to participate in the Iron Sharpens Iron studies if possible. Please, if you do not feel well or believe you have been in contact or exposed to anyone that has the coronavirus, do NOT come to the assembly or participate in smaller group studies. We also encourage those that may need medical attention to call their medical provider prior to going to the doctor and follow their instructions during this very difficult time.
Please let your leadership team know if we can be of assistance to you in any way that is practical during this time.
We are praying for you... We are praying for our entire congregation... We are praying for our seniors... and we are praying for our nation and its leaders. We ask you to spend this time in prayer for these also. They have a very difficult job during these times.
We will also be experimenting with live audio streaming of our Sunday service for those who may have to stay at home on Sunday. Instructions for how to access the live stream will be sent to the congregation in a separate email. This is something we have carefully and prayerfully considered, however, it isn’t something we will routinely do, but are considering it during this emergency declaration.
We humble ourselves before the Almighty God and may He bless the ministry of the College Park Church of Christ.
Larry (Ty) Fleming / Jerry W. Lowry
Elders/ Pastors – College Park Church of Christ
281-414-5735 / 281-635-6181