Clarification on our reopening policy

Emmaus Family,
I wanted to write and clarify a couple of things for our service Sunday.
1. Face Masks: I have been made aware that my video discussing the steps for our reopening seemed to some that it was a requirement that masks be worn. Others have shared that it was clear that it was a request. What that tells me is that I was not clear enough. For that I sincerely apologize. I am not a scientist, doctor, or a politician, so I am not sharing my personal opinions on masks, nor does the leadership of Emmaus have a conviction on the use of masks. I would however like to clarify our request of face masks. Simply put, we are doing our best to adhere to the guidelines given by the Governor.
The Governors Phase One Mandatory Requirements for religious services state:
“It is recommended that persons attending religious services be encouraged to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times”
This wording is (of course) vague, because it is in the “Mandatory Requirements” section, but it says it is a “recommendation”. The way I read that is that it is mandatory for us to encourage that people wear faces masks. This is not a requirement for everyone who attends. This is an issue of wisdom, conscience and grace. People have differing opinions on the use of masks, but we as Christians need to focus on the truth that unites us as believers. We are unified by our trust in Christ, not our beliefs about the Coronavirus.
I you are not able to wear a mask, or choose not to, you may still attend our services. We do ask however that we all strive to maintain the unity of the body by not passing judgment on those who differ in their practice.
“In essentials unity, in non-essentials freedom, in all things LOVE!”
2. Offering: If you are going to bring an offering this Sunday, please place it in a sealed envelope and drop it in the offering plate on the table outside either on your way in, or out. Otherwise, our online giving option is still available.
3. Bulletin: We will not be handing out bulletins this Sunday, Julie has sent out the order of service for this Sunday.
Again, I am sorry for the confusion, and hope that this brings clarity. These are unprecedented times, and as a pastor, I never thought that a facemask could be a potentially divisive issue in a church.
Please pray for wisdom, and unity in our body, and most importantly, that God would be Glorified in how each of us responds to this.
Soli Deo Gloria
United by Christ,
Bryan (on Behalf of the ECC Leadership)
Here are the Mandatory requirements for religious services that were given by the Governor. The full document can be found at:
Mandatory Requirements:
Religious services must strictly adhere to the following requirements:
* Occupancy shall be limited to no more than 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy of the room or facility in which the religious services are conducted.
* Individuals attending religious services must be seated at least six feet apart at all times and must practice physical distancing at all times. Family members, as defined in Executive Order 61, Order of Public Health Emergency Three, may be seated together. Mark seating in six-foot increments.
* It is recommended that persons attending religious services be encouraged to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times (See CDC Use of Cloth Face Coverings guidance for more detailed information.).
* No items must be passed to or between attendees, who are not family members as defined in EO 61, Order of Public Health Emergency Three.
* Any items used to distribute food or beverages must be disposable and used only once and discarded.
* A thorough cleaning and disinfection of frequently contacted surfaces must be conducted prior to and following any religious service.
* Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days, is permitted in the establishment.
* Post signage to provide public health reminders regarding social distancing, gatherings, options for high risk individuals, and staying home if sick (samples at the bottom of this document).
* If any place of worship cannot adhere to the above requirements, it must not conduct in-person services. Other suggested guidance for faith communities and funeral directors can be found below.