"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." — Hebrews 11:1
A few weeks ago, the Asbury First Re-Opening Task Force released our "Stages of Re-Opening" plan. Since the beginning of July, we have been operating at Stage Two. With approved safety protocols in place, some of our long-term building occupants have returned to campus, our outreach programs have begun to re-open in modified forms, and the church staff has been welcomed back into the office building at less than 50% capacity. While much of this work is on-going (not all of our outreach programs have re-opened nor have all of our campus occupants returned), we believe we are ready for the next stage.
Stage Three will allow limited small groups to begin to meet on campus with safety protocols in place and upon specific approval by both the Re-Opening Task Force and that group's staff liaison. Outside groups are not yet allowed. Our strong recommendation is that groups continue to meet virtually. However, those groups that are ready to meet on-campus will be asked to put together a safety plan that includes, among other things, plans for social distancing, mask-wearing, and a strategy to include those who are not yet ready or able to meet in person.
Every individual will be asked to abide by a Covenant of Risk (forthcoming) that outlines personal responsibilities as well as commitments from Asbury First. Groups wanting to meet should be flexible in meeting time and location as we attempt to limit overlap and areas of potential contamination on campus. If your group is interested in meeting in-person, the first step is to contact your staff liaison.
As we have said from the beginning, our first priority is the health and safety of the entire congregation. This has been a hard time for so many, but we are finding our way together toward who God is calling us to be. I have been so proud of the ways in which Asbury First has continued to live out its mission and vision as a congregation during this strange moment.
We are all looking with hope toward that day when we can gather again fully for worship and fellowship. Until that day, let us continue to walk alongside one another in prayer, in support, and in love.
Grace and Peace,