Proceed With Compassion
In the Fall of 2019, a new task force was created at St. Philip’s. Initially dubbed the Safety Committee, it was renamed 1st Impressions early in 2020. The team’s goal is simple: to provide the best possible care and hospitality for all who enter our doors. If you have noticed the new AED kits mounted in our chapel and Family Life Center, you are familiar with some of the much-appreciated efforts of this committed group of people.
In light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent closing of our campus, I have called on this highly capable group of volunteers to take on a new and urgent task: developing a plan for the reopening of St. Philip’s. As you are most likely aware, Governor Abbott has called for the phased reopening of Texas, including our state’s houses of worship. In the wake of this announcement, I would like to share with you our plans for resuming in-person worship and the reopening of our campus as they now stand.
First, allow me to share with you both my feelings as well as the core values that have led these discussions. I am confident that there is no one at our church who is more eager than your pastor to resume a more normal expression of worship. I deeply miss seeing your face on Sundays and throughout the week. I long to join my voice with yours as we sing praises to our God, and I hunger for the sense of community that comes from hearing your stories and looking into your eyes as I share the Gospel. We need each other. I need you. Alongside of this longing, however, lies a deep conviction to live into our core values of serving our most vulnerable with compassion as we seek to “do no harm.” It is with these core values in mind that the 1st Impressions team met this week in an effort to discern a way forward.
Following the guidelines set forth by our Bishop, the 1st Impressions Team is diligently working to develop a plan to safely resume in-person worship with a target date likely no earlier than July 5th. Upon reopening, new protocols will be in place designed to create the healthiest and safest environment possible. It is important to note that this is a target date only and will only be achieved with continued control of the COVID-19 outbreak in our area. We will be reassessing the feasibility of this date every 14 days and will continue to follow the guidelines and recommendations of local government as well as our Bishop. Until the time that it is deemed feasible and safe to reopen, our campus buildings will remain closed to regularly scheduled activity. In the coming weeks, we will continue to find creative ways of bringing virtual worship experiences, as well as nurturing the strong community that we have. Rest assured that you will be updated regarding any changes to these early stages of our plan.
Every day, I am reminded of the strength of Christ’s Church, her resilience in times of trial, and the power of her mission – a mission that continues to guide us in these uncertain times. Our current reality may not be familiar to us, but it is nothing that can stand against the power of Christ’s Church. Today, I am thankful for the ties that bind us, even as we cannot meet together. I encourage you to continue to join us as we worship, grow and serve together. You are the light of the world!