May 20, 2020
Dear CCSB family,
The COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine that has disrupted all our lives these past few months has surprised all of us in so many ways. From schools and businesses closing to our government leaders deciding what is and is not “Essential”? I don’t think any of us could have ever seen our country in the serious condition we find ourselves in today. I find the greatest difficulty for me is to listen to all the “experts” including scientist, doctors and our leaders at the state and national level and then discern the best safety practice for my family and our church. I will say that nothing I have learned in my 33 years of ministry here at CCSB has prepared me for a pandemic or quarantine.
What I have been doing, along with each of you is listening to, and obeying president Trump and his experts along with Governor Newsom who both have made broad decisions limiting our freedoms as citizens. For the most part, Americans have obeyed the heavy restrictions by staying home and self-distancing believing that would slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. But now, after almost three months, health experts are saying the curve is flattening, with many states beginning to loosen restrictions much to our relief.
But over the past several weeks, as our Governor begins to allow beaches, parks and “essential” businesses to open, he has denied people of faith and places of worship to open placing us in the same category as entertainment venues. He has mistakenly seen churches as non-essential and primarily social service clubs? That’s where a coalition of churches, lead by Jim Doman of Churches United, has stepped in and through local and state representatives brought the message that churches are essential to the communities health and well-being! And BTW, I have been in several conversations and Zoom meetings with Jim and attorney Bob Tyler, along with other Calvary pastors as we discuss reopening strategies.
As most of you know, your CCSB office has remained open M-TH. We have done our best to provide online services Sunday AM, PM and Wednesday nights, but there are those who have contacted me telling me they’re starving spiritually, that they’re hungering for fellowship and encouragement. And it really does stir my heart to reopen the church as soon as possible. That is why along with thousands of California churches we will open our doors on May 31st.
But, I need to be extremely clear. We are not reopening “Business as usual”. Initially we are going to limit sanctuary attendance to roughly 135 people per service to allow for social distancing and safety. Masks although not required in San Bernardino county will be required for everyone inside the church, hand sanitizer and temperature screening will also be available to all. Our children’s ministry will be closed until further notice and families will sit together. We do not want anyone attending if they are feeling ill, immune compromised, or if they are in one of the high-risk groups with underlying health conditions. These precautions will provide for the health and benefit of all attenders.
We will continue with our online webcasts and FM radio transmission for those who can attend in their cars and a TV monitor and sound will also be available on the patio for those who prefer.
In the meantime, please remain prayerful and patient as we journey further into this unknown territory and begin to reopen our Church. I thank each of you for your love and support during this unprecedented time and for being the amazing followers of Jesus that you are!