It has been a very challenging year for Royal Oak First. The transitions of many beloved and key staff, pastoral leaves, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have been hard and difficult. The social distancing required over the last six months has left us isolated and missing each other. Our team that has made online worship a reality is to be commended! They have provided the necessary link to hear God’s word and be together while we are apart.
The truth is that the COVID-19 reality is going to be with us for a while. Like many of you, we waited, hoping that things would go back to “normal.” That does not appear to be happening anytime soon and so it is time to figure out what it means to live into the “new normal.”
We are planning a cautious, measured, and safe reopening of our church building for work, programming and eventually worship. For the next six weeks, we will send you a letter (and an email) with some questions and answers about this reopening process. Look for these mailings/emails that will address:
- October 7th — Reopening the Church Offices
- October 14th — Financial Picture #1
- October 21st — Worship
- October 28th — Programming Updates
- November 4th — Financial Picture #2
- November 11th — Christmas Plans
These letters will hopefully keep us all in the loop on these conversations. As always, call or email the church if we can do anything to support you.
Thank you for taking the time to stay up to date on these important conversations.
Grace and Peace,
When will the church office open?
We will open the church office beginning the week of October 12th.
What will the office hours be?
We will be open Monday – Friday from 10:00 – 3:00.
What does it mean that the office is open?
The operations, program, and pastoral staff will resume working regularly from the church office. The phones will be staffed during these hours and you will be able to call the church office directly to contact or leave messages for staff and pastors.
Can I come into the church during these hours?
Yes. If possible, we ask that you call and let us know that you’re coming. As in the past, when you arrive at the church, please ring the bell at the doors. A staff member will answer and open the doors for you. Masks are required at all times inside the church building. We have masks available if you do not have one or have forgotten yours.
Will groups be able to hold meetings?
Yes. We will be able to accommodate groups of up to 15 with all participants complying with mask wearing and social distancing guidelines.
How do I schedule a group for a meeting at the church?
Karen Calhoun (email@example.com) will help your group reserve a space for meeting. She will ensure that your space is set up to meet all safety and social distancing guidelines. As the person scheduling the meeting, you will be the one responsible for assuring that all participants are following safety protocols.
Can my group meet in the evening?
Yes. Again, Karen Calhoun (firstname.lastname@example.org) will work with you to make sure that your space is set up to follow our safety guidelines. As the leader of the group, you will be given a pass code to enter the church for the time of your meeting and will be responsible for giving the code to and/or letting your guests into the building.
During this time, will we be hosting weddings, baptisms, and funerals?
Yes. We have guidelines for each of these events that covers numbers of guests and safety protocols. If you need to host one of these gatherings, or would like to see our guidelines for each event, please contact the office and we will share these with you.
When will we be returning for in person worship?
We are currently working on a plan to prepare for in-person, indoor worship. The specifics of that plan will be shared with you in the weeks to come.
How are the facilities being kept safe?
Safety is our top priority. We are working now to ensure that proper signage is in place, that there are adequate hand sanitizing stations, and that there will be increased custodial services in the restrooms, meeting rooms, and common spaces. Know that we will strive to take every measure we can to ensure your safety.
Will these plans adjust with the changes in the broader community?
Yes. As you all know, the COVID-19 reality is an ever-changing situation. Royal Oak First is aligning with the State of Michigan’s Safe Start document as well as guidance from the conference. If the community moves back into more limited guidelines around gathering, we will too. As we begin to reopen, please know that we will increase our communication about how we as a church are handling these decisions.
How can we be helpful in this transition?
We are asking you to do four things to make our reopening successful:
- Pray. I mean this! Please, please, please, pray daily for wisdom and discernment for our staff and leadership. These are the strangest of times and we need God’s prudence and guidance as we make these decisions.
- Shared Accountability. This will only work if we all make it work. Please support our church staff and leadership by following our safety protocols. Wear your mask. Please social distance. And as hard as it is – refrain from hugs! Our staff desires to reopen the church and at the same time are concerned for our own safety. If we are not able to comply with these protocols, we will reconsider our ability to be open.
- Speak up. Please, if you have ideas or suggestions about how we can best serve our members and community during this time, let us know. If you have concerns, (in a kind and understanding way) let us know. We will make some mistakes along the way but together, by the grace of God, we will keep finding our way.
- Connect. At the end of the day, the Body of Christ needs to care for each other. We would love it if you would help us in caring and connecting with our members. If you are willing to make 2 to 3 phone calls a month, please contact Danielle Moody at email@example.com.