A statement by the Elders of Granada Heights Friends Church
THINGS WE ARE DOING TO KEEP US SAFE:
THINGS WE ARE DOING TO KEEP US SAFE:
- We will require a facemask. Face Shields alone won’t be adequate. This is because we will get the opportunity to sing indoors in worship together, we just want do our best to keep us as safe as possible. If you forget yours, we will have one ready for you.
- We will adhere to the 25 percent capacity guidelines. This means seating will be limited. We suggest you get here early.
- Ushers will help you find your seats, as we have a new process of seating to maintain order in our efforts of social distancing.
Are we practicing civil disobedience by holding indoor church services?
We are not.
Over this past year the State and County health orders have created some challenges because of different guidance statements between the two orders. Since last July the state has not made any guideline changes to its document for Places of Worship. LA County Health has been providing the updated guidance as changes occur and we have attempted to follow the guidance.
The most recent LA County health order dated February 10, 2021, encourages outdoor or online worship services, but allows indoor services limited to a maximum of 25% of the rated occupancy. The order recommends that singing not take place indoors. However, the document allows each organization to make the decision.
“If attendees choose to sing, chant, or shout, encourage them to continue wearing their masks while doing so and increase the distance between people to greater than 6 feet.”
The elders understand there is some risk attending indoor services and singing. We offer indoor worship as one more option to our Granada family, acknowledging that our church represents various preferences and needs for corporate worship. We encourage each one to choose the option they feel is best aligned with their needs, whether indoors, outside, or online each Sunday. Regardless of what you choose, please know that the staff and elders will be making every effort to provide an inclusive and encouraging time together on Sunday mornings, remotely, on a live feed just outside the sanctuary, and inside. Ultimately, our heart's desire is to create an environment for flourishing growth in Christ for the entire church family, supporting a variety of preferences while making diligent efforts to keep everyone safe. So, we hope the addition of the indoor venue alongside our outdoor and online options will be a blessing to our church family.
Continue to pray for God to protect each of us from the virus and even remove this virus.
What about 1 Peter 2:13-17?
Peter certainly knew the challenge of how to respond to authorities. In the cultures he circulated in, the “authorities” were rarely hospitable to the followers of Christ. That has continued to be true in much of the world to the present day. In the USA the government has been, for the most part, quite hospitable to us, but we certainly can’t depend on that. That makes a careful and nuanced reading of Peter’s guidance essential. Peter is the one who boldly resisted local authorities instead of submitting when God’s way was at stake (Acts 4:19). The evolving Covid restrictions from our government leaders provide an opportunity for us to explore Peter’s guidance.
Here are some principles we have gleaned from 1 Peter to help us make our decisions:
Being mindful that we are the children of God,
our priority is letting His redeeming light both deliver us from darkness and
impact those around us (1 Peter 2:9).
2. Our earthbound wants often conflict with His will, so often must be set aside. (2:11)
3. We impact those around us by:
- Responding well when they criticize us or ostracize us for doing right in God’s eyes and not theirs (2:12,15,19-21).
- Having respectful and generally compliant attitudes toward even hostile authorities, while being discerning about their limits (2:14,16-18).
- Demonstrating the liberating and quieting power of trust in God (2:16,21-23, 3:4).
How does this apply to the Elders’ decisions to gather during the Covid restrictions?
1. We believe corporate worship is essential to our overall health (Eph. 5:18-19, Col. 3:16, Heb. 10:23-25).
2. We have been able to largely comply with the County/State guidelines for outdoor worship.
3. Though the State guidelines remain unchanged, the County guidelines have loosened enough for indoor worship. We believe our local authorities are the most likely to be impacted by our testimony, so we choose to use their guidance at the present time.
Questions or comments? Email the Elders at email@example.com.