We hope most of you heard our announcement Sunday, as we shared upcoming plans regarding Covid precautions. Below is a further outline of what we shared.
As you are likely aware, Governor Abbott officially lifted his mask-wearing mandate yesterday. This frees up businesses and individual Texans to make the best health decisions for themselves and their organizations going forward. As Pastors, we are thankful for the Governor's leadership and are encouraged by the same trends he is seeing. Between recovered individuals and those already vaccinated, we are headed in the right direction for safety. Praise the Lord! Of course, as with everything regarding covid, opinions on the governor’s decision are wide-ranging.
OUR THOUGHT PROCESS
As we shared previously, our safety policies at our gatherings have not been due to pressure from state or county leaders. Thankfully, God enabled us to make our decisions based on consultation with medical professionals and by seeking God’s wisdom. Each decision, though imperfect, has been made so that the largest possible number of our church family are able to gather for worship safely. And with each step, we have been humbled by your encouragement and gratitude. Likewise, where you disagreed, your questions and pushback have been charitable and loving. Like-minded Christians do not all see this uniformly. Yet, by His grace, we are one in Christ. This is what it means to be family.
Prior to Governor Abbott’s announcement, we had begun discussions of relaxing our policy by June. The signs are encouraging: case numbers are down and, as of this week, over 20% of Adult Texans (approx. 4.7 million) have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Another 3% (approx. 1 million vaccines) are being administered each week. Though some will choose not to get the vaccine, the trajectory is positive. By April, we will be nearing 40% of adults vaccinated, which corresponds to our goal for gathering: that those most at risk in our body would have vaccine access, should they choose it. We aren’t quite there, but we’re getting close.
We believe our goal is arriving quickly. However, we feel changing precautions in March doesn’t quite match the latest data. Thus, we will maintain our policy for one more month. After that, beginning in April, we have decided to relax our policy. We discussed several options, but we feel the best choice is to change one service. We will be making the 11am service masks-optional (though encouraged), while the 9am service will remain masks-recommended for now. We pray this enables even more of our church family to join us, beginning Easter Sunday (April 4). Additionally, we will have an outdoor, masks-optional sunrise service that morning at 7am.
Of course, we hold all our plans loosely, as only the Lord’s counsel is secure (Prov. 19:21). But we share this to help you prepare accordingly. We love every one of you. We want you to feel free to operate as you see fit, and yet the physical safety of our church family remains important. We will continue striving to this end, knowing all solutions won’t please everyone.
Be watching for more information regarding our children’s ministry. The current plan is to follow along with Tomball ISD’s practice through the end of the school year. Teachers will continue wearing masks, along with children in classes with those over 10 years old. For more particular questions, feel free to ask your child’s teacher or contact Carolyn Yohe.
LOVE THOSE WITH DIFFERENT VIEWS
Lastly, regardless of your conviction, love must be our aim:
- If you are a mask wearer -- don’t assume the worst about your non-mask wearing friends. Instead, pray for them. Ask God to remind you of your love for them.
- If you are not a mask wearer -- don’t assume the worst about your mask-wearing friends. Instead, pray for them. Ask the Lord to stir your love for them.
It is by such sacrificial love, especially toward brothers and sisters with whom we disagree, that the world will know we are His disciples (John 13:35) Stand ready to serve and be eager to sacrifice. In this, we will make much of Jesus.
See you on Sunday!
For the Fame of Jesus,
On behalf of the Redeemer Elders