News & Updates
From our Pastor:
July 22, 2020
Dear Church Family,
Last week I sent out a short message stating that our plans to reopen the church had been temporarily suspended again. This mandatory closure of churches by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) was re-issued, due to a drastic increase of COVID-19 cases in our area. I also mentioned that our Church Board was scheduled to meet in the near future to discuss the need for official outdoor church services until we were able to reopen our church building. This message will provide the latest developments from our board meeting which took place Monday July 21st.
I’d like to share the two major issues our Church Board has wrestled with during the last few months. The first and perhaps the most difficult issue, is that our Church Board has faced the difficult task of implementing the constantly changing mandates and guidelines put out by the CDPH. The requirements are very rigorous, detailed, and rigid in terms of how we are to operate in a church setting given the current pandemic situation we are facing. Despite our differences of opinions, views, or convictions of what we should or shouldn’t do during this time, our local conference has embraced these guidelines in good faith as a means of protecting our church members from the risks related to congregating during this time. The conference has asked all CCC Churches to implement these guidelines to the best of their abilities. As you can imagine, our Church Board has had their hands full with numerous meetings and phone calls.
The second issue our Church Board faced, is the realization that our church family falls into two basic camps. As many of you know, a large part of our church has been meeting near Shaver without implementing the required social distancing guidelines, while a smaller group has felt uncomfortable and even unsafe meeting without these guidelines in place. It’s important to mention that this dilemma is not unique to Auberry. I have come to realize that there are many churches in our conference dealing with similar scenarios so we have decided to embrace this reality, rather than to view it as a road-block and allow it to become a means of division in our church.
After many hours of dialoging, our Church Board acknowledges that there are currently two distinct needs in our church that need to be met. First, there is the need to provide a safer and more structured environment for those who fall into the higher risk category of contracting Coronavirus, and are willing to abide by the CDPH mandated guidelines for churches. Secondly, there is a need to provide an alternative option for those who feel comfortable meeting without any guidelines in place. Our board feels that these two needs can and should be met by providing outdoor worship services at church which will be led out by Pastor Albert, while also supporting those who prefer less stringent services to continue worshipping at the Shaver location or small group setting of their choice. Although we recognize that this is not the ideal scenario that we would all wish for, we feel that it is the best solution given the current circumstances. We do believe however that providing these options will maintain unity in the long run and optimize our church’s spiritual health potential which is the most important thing.
As Pastor, I’ve experienced difficulty by not being able to join my church family at the outdoor gathering in Shaver. It appears that attempts to communicate my lack of participation (due to the legal liabilities our church has faced during this pandemic) fell through the cracks and was not adequately relayed to many of you. I sincerely apologize for this but I want you all to know that I have been eagerly waiting for the opportunity to be reunited with my church family. I also want you to know that our Church Board has sacrificed many hours of their time deliberating and seeking God’s will through this entire ordeal. I hope and pray that trials like these will draw us closer together, and that God will be glorified above all as a result of addressing these issues with love, patience, compassion, and the Holy Spirit’s presence in our midst. I also encourage everyone to focus on our mission of proclaiming the Gospel, and press onward as we anticipate Jesus’ soon return.
In conclusion, we have decided to hold a church business meeting on Monday July 27 at 6:30pm via conference call, which will allow for church members to contribute their input. We highly encourage church member participation. We value everyone in our church and we want to move forward in unity just as our Church Board has found unity meeting the spiritual needs of our church during this time.