In Person Worship Statement
Developed by Central Presbyterian Church's Recovery Team
I was glad when they said to me, Come, let us go to the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1
We have a deep heartfelt desire to worship with one another.
Pastor Louise Westfall writes:
How long, O God. The desperate cry of the Psalmist speaks for us all. How long before we can be together. How long before we can worship in person? We want to worship in person more than anything. Almost. Not more than keeping you safe. Not more than avoiding a second wave of infections. Not more than saving lives. Right now, the best way to obey God’s command to love one another means to stay home. Congregant Don Nease put it well: “In order to keep the Body of Christ healthy, we all have to do our part”. So for now we’ll continue to worship, gather, and create community with the help of technology.
There is one more Source we’ll rely upon for these decisions: God. We will continually seek the wisdom, imagination, and compassion of the One who leads and guides us all along the way; the One who promises: I will be with you to the end of the age.
The Session of Central Presbyterian Church will prayerfully decide when it is safe to return to in-person worship.
The Session has convened an advisory task force composed of church elders, medical professionals from the congregation, and staff to advise Session on re-instating in-person worship and for establishing protocols for when we do so. As the conditions evolve, the task force will continue to monitor and re-evaluate. The task force is using several references for guidance, including the following among others:
- Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment https://www.colorado.gov/cdphe
- Denver Department of Public Health and Environment https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/environmental-health.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/
- World Health Organization https://www.who.int/
- Colorado worship guidance https://covid19.colorado.gov/worship-guidance
- PCUSA – https://www.pcusa.org/covid19/
- Denver Presbytery guidance https://denpres.org/covid19home
- Other states’ guidance approaches
The Session has determined to be cautious, in recognition of several factors:
- We are aware that there are many unknowns about the coronavirus, but we know it is a very infectious disease that has devastating and potentially fatal effects on some people, particularly to vulnerable populations.
- Our congregation is composed of many such vulnerable people.
- What comes next with respect to the virus is a moving target with many medical professionals indicating a second surge of infections is likely in the summer or fall of 2020.
- We need to have a detailed plan in place for how we will prepare to be together and the processes that will need to be in place for ensuring we minimize the potential for exposure and spreading of the virus.
The Session is recommending online services continue, with frequent monitoring of local conditions by the advisory task force. We are working to determine a process and cadence for reporting to session and to the wider church on the status of the data and information we are tracking.
Central’s Recovery Team members: Elders Chris Primus and Mark Williams, medical professionals Julie Earnest and Dr. Don Nease, staff Wil Smith and Kathleen Eckert, and Pastor Louise Westfall.