Reopening November 29, 2020
In my previous letter of November 13, I informed you about the illness of several ladies who attended the women’s retreat and that one of these ladies had tested positive for COVID. Out of an abundance of caution, and in congruence with the guidelines and requirements established by the CDC, the state of Idaho, and our denomination, the Church of God, we canceled all in-person HVWC activities including the Sunday worship gathering through Monday, November 23.
The purpose of this letter is to update you on the current COVID/illness situation in our HVWC family and region and to tell you about our plans to reopen HVWC.
HVWC family update.
We have been made aware of 13 people (including Kathy and me) who have tested positive for COVID along with three negative tests. Most of these individuals are either the ladies who attended the women’s retreat or their spouses. To our knowledge, all individuals who are experiencing illness have chosen to self-isolate. Many are recovering and some have fully recovered. Most people have experienced mild to moderate symptoms, but a few have/have had more serious symptoms. Kathy and I are/have been in regular contact with those affected and appreciate your continued prayers on their behalf.
The regional concern regarding COVID has increased in the past couple of weeks with a significant spike in the number of positive COVID tests and a major increase in the reported number of people getting tested at Bonner General Hospital.
The Core Team has been in regular communication regarding the current illness and COVID status of our HVWC family and region. We have had several group phone calls to prayerfully consider whether, when and how to reopen HVWC.
Last night we made the decision to reopen HVWC. A worship gathering will be held this Sunday, November 29th.
We are implementing several precautionary COVID/illness mitigation practices given the current COVID/illness situation in our HVWC family and community:
- Asking anyone who is ill or uncomfortable with gathering in person to remain at home. The message will be live streamed each Sunday at approximately 11:15 am.
- Canceling Kid’s Church until the current situation subsides (due to limited staffing capacity).
- Requesting everyone to refrain from hugging.
- Using seating placards for social distancing of household family units.
- Increasing availability and use of hand sanitizer (including coffee station and flags).
- Making face masks freely available upon entry.
We realize there are strong opinions and convictions within our HVWC family and in our community about the benefit of wearing a facemask to limit the spread of COVID and/or whether the government has the right to require people to wear them. Additionally, there is not, at present, a consensus among local government agencies as to whether the wearing of a facemask should or should not be required in all public venues.
Given these two realities, we are strongly encouraging, but not requiring the wearing of a facemask during the Sunday worship gathering.
Whether you choose to wear a mask or not, we are asking everyone to honor one another and to not judge someone else’s decision. Let’s celebrate the freedom we have in Christ to obey our conscience and to choose in accordance with our personal convictions.
The Christmas Party.
We believe it is prudent to cancel the current Christmas party plans and to go with a safer, yet fun alternative. The details regarding this alternative will be forthcoming soon, so stay tuned. (Note: There will still be a silent auction to benefit Sweet Magnolia – details forthcoming).
Identifying an appropriate response to the current COVID/illness situation has not been quick nor has it been easy. How does one honor the diverse needs and convictions of our HVWC family, our leadership team, and the community we serve? Our hope is that this plan adequately addresses the needs and yet honors the convictions. We are asking for your support and for you to come together this Sunday for a time of unity in worshipping Him.
Standing strong in Christ,
Pastor Jim Kubiak (760-855-6111)
November 13, 2020 Letter download the letter here