For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
- 2 Timothy 1:7
Making Church the Safest Place You Can Go
Obviously, going anywhere involves risks. Just riding in a car is a dangerous activity, and so we take safety precautions like wearing seat belts and driving a safe speed. We have a similar philosophy about church: while it can’t be made perfectly safe, we want to take reasonable and common sense steps to make church as safe as possible for as many people as possible.
We have safety measures in place for lots of things – sprinkler systems for fire safety, security procedures for kids and general safety, AED (defibrillator) and first aid kits for medical emergencies, and more.
So what about infectious diseases like Covid-19?
The key questions seem to be 1) How likely am I to catch a disease, and 2) how likely is that disease to cause a critical illness?
Therefore, we are taking the following steps to address both questions:
1) Slowing the spread
Infectious diseases spread 3 ways: Person-to-person, from touching surfaces, and through the air. We’re working to reduce the risk of spread on all 3 fronts.
Person-to-person: This is the most common way diseases spread: so during this pandemic, we’re wearing masks when we’re moving around the building and can’t keep a 6-foot social distance, we’ve blocked off every other row of seating to help people keep a 6+ foot social distance when seated, and we’re limiting access to potentially congested areas like the bathrooms. Fever is generally the earliest sign of illness (also true with Covid-19) so we’re taking everyone’s temperature when they arrive at the building so that no-one with a temperature of 100 or greater is admitted.
Touching surfaces: We are sanitizing every surface in the church before each service and paying special attention to those areas that people commonly touch. We’ve always done this in our children’s ministry, and now we’re doing an even more diligent job.
Through the air: Our building has high ceilings and excellent ventilation (which medical experts say contributes to reducing airborne spread). We’ve also deployed HEPA + UV filters around the building to further help with ventilation and air filtering. Our ventilation system filters have a high MERV rating and are changed regularly.
2) Protecting the Vulnerable
While there is still much we don’t know about Covid-19, this disease is most likely to result in a critical level of illness for those that have severe underlying conditions (especially conditions involving the lungs) and is more dangerous the older you get.
In response to this, we are encouraging those that are especially vulnerable (or who are in close proximity to those that are very vulnerable) to live-stream our services rather than attend in person. For those that are live-streaming, the pastors (and many in our congregation) are making extra efforts to make socially distanced, outdoor “porch visits” and making extra phone calls to stay connected to those that are unable to attend a service. We also have teams of people who are helping to deliver meals or run errands for those that need help.
We understand that people will come to different conclusions on what should be done in these difficult matters, and so we are putting extra effort into expressing and demonstrating respect for those with different views. Our love for one-another as Christians, and our love for our community is bigger than any differences we have over the best medical practices.
Whatever your personal convictions on these matters are, we want you to know that we’re praying for you and we’re eager to be a blessing and an encouragement to you in any way we can!
Children's Ministry Plan
We’re excited to announce that we are now offering children’s ministry (for ages 2-12) at 10:30am on Sundays.
While we have always put enormous effort into health and safety, we are implementing some new policies in accordance with many of the best practices from the CDC, WHO, and local health authorities.
Overview of Health Safety Policies
1) Pre-service screenings. No one with a temperature of 100+ or any cold symptoms can be admitted to church. We will have take-home bags for any kids we need to turn away.
2) Smaller classes. Classes limited to ‘pods’ of 10 kids each – each pod will be kept 6+ feet from every other group of kids.
3) Extra sanitization. In addition to our usual cleaning, we will be sanitizing after every class. Kids will be asked to sanitize their hands a few times during service.
4) Teacher protection. We are limiting our teachers and helpers to those under the age of 65 and in good health.
A note on masks: The current guidance from health authorities is mixed on the use of masks in children. The American Academy of Pediatrics is currently strongly recommending that children physically return to school, but at the time of this writing, the Spokane Health Department is still requiring that masks be worn all the time when you can’t keep a 6-foot social distance. As you know, this is wildly impractical for children: largely because masks that are worn improperly don’t do any good at all. We will, of course, support you if you’d like your child to wear a mask, but we will not be requiring it. The good news is that children appear to be largely safe from the most serious side effects Covid-19 (only 3 deaths under the age of 18 in the USA, and 0 deaths under the age of 50 in Spokane County). Of course, kids can bring any cold or flu home to others that are more vulnerable – so if you’re concerned about this possibility, we encourage you to continue to take advantage of our live-stream for services.
We’re excited to start serving kids again - please reach out to ask any questions you have! We’re praying for you and your family!