Hey City Church friends,
Man, I miss physically seeing you guys. You are all etched in my heart and in my daily prayers. My #1 prayer as we have journeyed this “online church” phase is that we would all work to maintain social connection with one another. Though we all know the church is not a building, it sure helps to have a weekly connection point at a physical location to see people. Though “Sunday church chats” are often brief or in passing, God can use those moments to spark meetups later in the week when deeper connection can happen. So here’s my challenge to us all right now: send a few text messages to some church friends you know to touch bases! We all need to hear from one another – especially these days!
Allow me to take a moment to explain where City Church is currently at in terms of a “re-opening.”
1. We will continue to provide our very best online services.
We have done our best to provide an online experience that lifts your heart to God in worship and challenges you in the Word. We’re 100% committed to keeping that. We know a lot of folks in our church are in the “at risk” group as it pertains to this virus. We know others of you might not be “at risk” but you just aren’t comfortable being in groups yet. We will continue to serve those of you whose new sanctuary is your couch. We only have one request from you. GET IN A DIGITAL SMALL GROUP WHEN THEY RE-LAUNCH! The reason I say that is that the church can’t just be a TV show you watch. It has to be a body of believers you belong to. So don’t just sit back even if you are staying at home.
2. We are currently offering an outdoor, in-person live taping of the message on Thursday nights at 7:07pm.
If you are “itching” for an in-person gathering ASAP, you are invited to join us any Thursday night for the live taping of the message at City Church. We are currently holding it outside in our interior courtyard. One person who went to one said it felt “like a backyard concert.” It’s a casual and encouraging vibe. Due to current caps on attendance and COVID-19 guidelines from the OC Health Department, a registration is required. The weekly registration goes live on Tuesdays at 12pm PST at lovehopecity.com/taping or on the Church Center App (which can be downloaded on iOS here and on Android here). If you register and the event is full, an option to be put on a waiting list will be given (starting this coming Tuesday). We will do our best to accommodate as many as possible while adhering to social distancing guidelines. We recommend you register early to secure your spot. We apologize but kids under the age of 10 are not able to attend this taping.
Just like you are probably experiencing everywhere else you go, wearing a mask that covers the mouth is required as is social distancing. Temperature checks will also be performed at the door on the way in. We know these measures are not ideal and that they do not create the type of “welcoming atmosphere” that our church has been synonymous with for years. That being said, we’re living through crazy times and these things help everyone feel more comfortable. Read Romans 14. The Bible says we should all go to great lengths to help others grow in their walk with God.
3. We are planning a 3-week trial of Sunday morning “watch parties” at City Church on Sunday July 12th.
We are planning to ease our way back into Sunday morning campus life by opening the church as a venue to watch the pre-recorded service in person. We know some of you will be bummed that we’re not starting a “full-on” service yet. Please be patient. We will get there. Our plan is to proceed safely by taking one step at a time. Because of the fluid situation with COVID-19, we are only committing to a three-week trial.
For those of you with children, here’s what you need to know. First off, City Kids will not be available for the foreseeable future. Having said that, we are going to designate our community center as a space for families with children to watch together. Parents will be responsible to ensure that their little one wears a mask. For those with little ones who won’t wear a mask, please keep them close to your family and bring items to occupy them. If you are absolutely uncomfortable with the concept of your kids potentially interacting with other kids, it might be best for you to continue to watch from home during this time as it might not be possible to “police” that perfectly.
A PERSONAL NOTE TO OUR PARENTS: My wife and I feel the pain of the COVID parenting situation with you. Parents are getting no breaks these days. The fact that there is no guaranteed date I can offer you as to when us parents can drop off our kids in the children’s ministry hurts my heart too. We’re going to get through this. The light at the end of the tunnel will start to become more and more visible.
Finally, I would simply state that this plan could change again should the situation on the ground evolve. We will do our best to stay in touch with you as things unfold. Thank you for loving your church. Please pray for us and bear with us. These are the most challenging times we have ever led through. We know we can’t please all of you but we are doing our best to do what’s right for everyone.