Dear Friends Church staff –
If you’re like me, you may be wondering, “What’s the big deal?” about the coronavirus. Other than Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, I don’t know anyone who has been infected. Yet science-based information tells us that we may be on the front end of a true epidemic, and preventative precautions must be put into place.
There is new information every day, such as last night’s message from Governor Gavin Newsom recommending that Californians limit gatherings to less than 250 people unless absolutely essential. Closer to home, after spending time yesterday making changes to the weekend service schedules and drafting an email for Matthew to send out, all of that is scrapped this morning. So we are choosing to assess our decisions a day at a time.
Online Services – This coming weekend, our worship services will be online-only, and other large churches in the county are making similar plans. The service contents of announcements worship through music, and the sermon will be recorded on Saturday afternoon and live-streamed at the times of service. As a statement of our unity at a time when some may feel panicked, our Yorba Linda, Anaheim, and Orange campuses will share this single service, and our Lead Pastor will take the time to speak to everyone about the circumstances of our day and how we as Christ-followers have tremendous opportunities in our communities!
Because of this, all other weekend programs, such as Kids, JHM, HSM and other Sunday morning campus studies, including Rooted, will be canceled, and the Awaken Coffeehouse will be closed.
Expectations of Staff – In the coming days we expect that there will be changes to how we fulfill our responsibilities, such as working off-site. However, potential changes to our regular routines will be communicated to you at a later time. Please complete this week as you normally would. Our primary concern is for our staff and its families’ physical and emotional health, and we will take the necessary steps based on the consensus of recommendations from medical and public health experts.
If you have regular weekend responsibilities, your direct supervisor is responsible to inform you of duties you may be asked to fulfill on campus this weekend, or may inform you that your attendance is not necessary. At this time, do not make alternative plans.
Life Groups and Support Groups – As of now, we plan to continue the meetings of smaller groups such as Rooted and our Monday night Care Groups. We also will encourage other Life Groups to continue with their gatherings.
Weekday Church Programs – As of now, there are no changes to the Wednesday evening NextGen programs, Higher Ground, etc. We may consider steps on a case-by-case basis, but please be prepared to alter or cancel these programs as more information comes to us.
Finally – Matthew encourages us to “seize the day.” Make the most of every opportunity to bring hope and assurance into your conversations. Likewise, we will be seeking God’s wisdom as we consider how Friends Church will do the same in our communities.