Dear Riverside family,
We recognize how quickly things are changing all around us, and we all are trying to take in a ton of information at once. We want to give you a brief update today on Riverside’s plans, and we plan to give a broader update on Wednesday, March 18.
The majority of the Staff and Leadership Team met Sunday morning to talk through initial direction on priorities and plans for some key areas of church operations:
- Building use
- Sunday worship
- Congregational care as a whole
- Congregational care for individuals who might need more care (spiritual/physical/logistical/etc.)
- Community outreach
Staff will be working through many of these things in the coming days, with support of LT and others as needed. We hope to communicate more on each of these fronts on Wednesday. Disclaimer: everything below is “as of now” – Sunday AM – those words were uttered a lot throughout the meeting.
The Johnsruds are in transit and still expected to arrive in West Lafayette on Friday, March 20. Safe to say that their broader welcome will look a bit different than expected, but we still anticipate having a team to help them unload their truck that afternoon. Please email Joel at [email protected] if you will be available to help.
As we communicated on Friday, March 13, the buildings are closed for public activities until further notice. We do expect staff will be in the office throughout the week, but please call ahead if you need to address something in person.
We hope to provide online Sunday morning worship beginning next Sunday (March 22nd). We will not have any in-person worship gatherings before April 5th (Palm Sunday) at the earliest. (Please note this was the decision after Sunday morning’s meeting – before the CDC’s additional guidance came out about canceling gatherings over 50 people for the next 8 weeks.)
We encourage you to continue to learn about and take heed of the value of social distancing (and of course, proper personal hygiene and household cleaning/disinfecting) as a way to love your neighbor and work for the common good in this situation. At minimum, we strongly encourage you to follow the most restrictive guidelines given by federal/state/local authorities at any given time. As of Sunday evening, the CDC’s guidance states that:
- Gatherings of 50 or more people should be canceled for the next 8 weeks
- Gatherings of ANY size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing (6 feet from one another)
More on CDC guidelines.
That said, we all need connection. We encourage you to be wise and discerning but intentional about how to continue to connect as pods and with neighbors and friends. (Many of us will be gaining some new technology skills very soon!)
We encourage you to reach out to meet the needs of your neighbors and friends who may need support because of the recommendation to limit their exposure, the need to work without childcare, who are facing the loss of income, etc.
If you need assistance with grocery trips, meals, childcare, etc. OR if you are able to help assist with these things for others in the congregation, please contact Babby ([email protected]) to either share the needs you have or how you can help.
We left Sunday’s meeting encouraged about how Riverside will continue to BE the church for one another and for the community even as everything shifts around us. We thank you for your patience as we figure out the operational details. We encourage you to reach out with questions, issues, or ideas. And we thank you in advance for how you will step in to use your gifts, time, talents, ideas, finances, and expertise to care for our congregation and those around us who are most vulnerable in this time.
Together in Christ’s love and peace,
Riverside’s Leadership Team and Staff