May 28, 2020, 9:00AM

Dear H2O Church Family,

As we have mentioned the past couple weeks, we have been praying, planning, and seeking counsel as to when our first public re-gathering of the church should be. As you can imagine this has been a difficult decision that as a church leadership team we have spent a great deal of time and energy working through. Our heart through this whole COVID-19 season has been to love our neighbors and community well. We have also sought to balance the biblical mandates in Romans 13 that encourages us to honor our civil authorities and Hebrews 10 that encourages us to gather and worship. As you probably know, we have not held a public in person gathering since March 9th.

As our city, state, and nation have begun to open back up… restaurants, gyms, barber shops, and many other businesses have received the green light to reopen in a safe way… we believe this is the right time for us to re-gather in person.

To be sure, things will look much different than they did when we gathered before COVID-19 (you can see a full list of our safe re-opening steps we are taking at the bottom of this message). And you will probably get tired of hearing us say it, but we feel like it is important that you know we truly value and respect the variety of different positions our church members may take in how they want to handle their attendance at our gatherings. Some people may not want to gather in person for some time. Others have been ready to gather in person for some time. We value and honor the full range of convictions and preferences within our church community.

We fully support whatever option you feel is best for you or your family. A decision to continue joining virtually is not a sign of weak faith or fear. Likewise, a decision to join in person is not a sign of disregard for others. The beauty and glory of the Church is that though we are many, we are one. We have a beautiful opportunity to embody this unity in a time when division runs deep in our culture.

This Sunday as some of us re-gather in person, we know many will not be able to come or feel comfortable at this time, so we will lives-tream both our 9:00 am and 10:30 am services.

Here are some details all of us should know about if you are considering coming in person over the next few weeks.

  • Beginning this Sunday, May 31st, both our 9:00 AM & 10:30 AM services will be available. If you are worried about larger sized crowds, we would encourage your attendance at the 9:00 AM service, as that gathering has always been the lighter of the two services. We expect there will be plenty of space at that service. Either way we are seeking to keep the crowd size at about a quarter of our fire code for the building (around 100 people). 
  • If you could, please help us get a general idea of our turnout by filling out this very quick form. 
  • We are encouraging people in attendance to wear a mask. Our staff and volunteers will be taking part in this as well. Masks will not be required, as they are not mandated by law. We also understand some people cannot wear masks due to health reasons. With that said, for those who are able to wear them, we believe they can be an effective tool in making people feel comfortable and safe. We understand that there are a variety of passionate opinions about wearing masks. This is an area we all will need to have grace and understanding towards one another. We anticipate there will be people with and without masks at our services. This could be a possibility for division, however as a church, we are committed to unity and ask that all of us love one another no matter what our mask-wearing preference might be.
  • We will also not be providing H2O Kids classes in the near future. You are welcome to bring your children. We will have a cry room available for infants. You know that at H2O we love seeing families worship together, just please know you will need to be responsible for your children 100% of the time they are in the building if you do bring them.
  • There will be no coffee, snacks, etc offered at our services in the near future.
  • We ask that if you are not feeling well or have any signs of sickness you remain at home and join our live-stream.
  • We will have a detailed cleaning process that we will go through before both services.

You can see more details for our protocols at the bottom of this e-mail.

We want you to know that we are taking the recommendations given to us as we re-gather very seriously. We believe it is important for the church to meet in uncertain times, yet we also know safety during this season is extremely important. It is fitting that we will be starting a new series called "Be the Church" this Sunday. Whether you are able to attend in person or online, we want you to know you are huge part of God's family (the church) and this Sunday is not a re-opening, rather a chance for some of us to be together in person. Jesus said, "I will build my church" when we know Him and follow Him, we get the privilege of being a part of something much bigger than ourselves! Thanks for being a part of all that God is doing in our church family!

For the glory of God,

Your pastoral team

Bryan, Matt, and Matthew