Reopening… Update

The Session met Sunday evening, and in addition to their normal business they also discussed reopening the church for corporate worship. The consensus of the Elders was that it is still too soon to reopen. They will revisit the issue at their meeting on June 14. Meanwhile, a committee will be formed to plan and oversee our eventual reopening.

Everyone’s foremost concern is the safety of our congregation as well as the safety of the wider community. We don’t want to rush back to corporate worship and unintentionally become a vector for COVID. An article in the Washington Post this week described two churches who reopened and then had to close again because of a resurgence of COVID in their congregations.

One church is in Ringgold, Georgia, just 20 miles south of Chattanooga. That church reopened on April 26 after the governor gave the okay. Since then, several families have tested positive despite the church’s precautions. According to the article, only about 25% of the members actually attended worship while the rest watched online. Still, the virus was able to spread.

Meanwhile, the FPC staff continues to try and improve the online worship experience. We also anticipate continuing streaming worship for the foreseeable future, if not indefinitely. Even when we do resume in-person worship, there will be some who, for health reasons, simply should not attend. We will stream worship for them.

One question that many of you have asked me is, “How many people are worshiping online?” As best we can tell, watching live on Sunday morning, there are between 80 and 90 individuals. In addition to that, there are people who, during the week, watch the recorded video on Facebook.

So, when does FPC reopen? We just don’t know yet. We hope it will be soon and we are planning for that day and look forward to it with great anticipation.

Meanwhile, stay well.