Why Woodland Heights will not be Reopening on Sunday, May 17th.
Updated: May 19, 2020
As you are aware, on Thursday, May 8, Governor Ralph Northam announced Phase I for the reopening of Virginia. Included in the announcement was that beginning Sunday, May 17, all churches could resume their weekly Worship Services with the caveat that church attendance could not exceed 50% of sanctuary capacity. In addition, all participants must adhere to all CDC guidelines for Social Distancing, including but not limited to:
(1) No Physical Contact or Interaction; (2) A 6 foot minimum spacing provided for all participants; (3) No sharing or exchange of seating, communion / offering plates, etc., without first being cleaned or sanitized, between participants; (4) Masks are to be considered optional but highly recommended in such confined spaces; and (5) Signs are to be posted at every entrance stating that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 are permitted as well as a reminder to stay home if you’re sick.
While we are as excited and anxious as you for a return to the normalcy of life, as Paul said to the church at Corinth: [Though] All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient;(KJV) or as the NIV puts it: You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. (1 Cor.6:12). In other words, just because we can reopen the church, doesn’t mean that it is in our best interest to do so for the following reasons.
(1) The COVID-19 virus is still prevalent, widespread, and deadly.
(2) As a predominantly older congregation, seniors are more susceptible to the virus with far more complications and often fatal outcomes.
(3) There is no possible way the church could ensure the safety of those who would gather for worship.
(4) The inability to meet the space limitations, i.e., our sanctuary maximum is 60 and Sunday School rooms would be a maximum of 4, maybe 20 in the Fellowship Hall.
(5) The necessary disinfecting and cleaning of the facility required by CDC guidelines.
For these reasons, and many more too numerous to list, it our recommendation that Woodland Heights remain closed for the foreseeable future until: (1) a vaccine becomes available to combat the virus; or (2) we can reasonably assure that all who come and desire to worship with us can do so in confidence of their well-being and safety; (3) we adhere to all the stipulations mandated by the Governor on May 8.
In the meantime, it is also our recommendation that:
(1) The Pastoral and Administrative Staff continue to work and minister following our present protocol.
(2) The Deaconate meet on a monthly basis to assess the status of the pandemic, the governor mandated church status and when a date for reopening may be projected, be determined and set.
While we know that this is disappointing news for you, we believe it is in the best interest of the church and your personal safety that we remain closed. In the meantime, you are encouraged to tune in and be a part of our “LiveStream” Sunday School and Morning Worship Services. These telecasts have been well received with viewings increasing each week and our “telecast skills” improving with each service. You can view the “LiveStream” on our website: woodlandheightsbaptist.org or on “YouTube” under the church’s name.
Don’t forget to make note of our upcoming Special Services:
May 17 – Worship United led by Dr. Jason Hutcheson
May 24 – Memorial Day Service of Remembrance
June 14 – Graduate Sunday
June 21 – Father’s Day
July 5 – Fourth of July Patriotic Service and Celebration led by Dr. Lin Hill
We need to rely on health care professionals and government leadership as we trust our lives to Christ all the while, never forgetting that our faith and trust is in the Lord and in the promises of His Word as found in Philippians 4:6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
We all look forward to the day and time we are able to regather in Worship and Praise in the Celebration of the Mighty God we love and serve.
With all God’s Grace and Love,
Dr. Ken Barnes, Senior Pastor,
the Ministry and Administrative Staff and
Deaconate: Chuck Boodt, Chair
(1) Until we are able to resume normal ministry activities, your office staff will continue to work from home and come into the office as needed. Please be mindful of the regular office hours of Monday through Thursday, 8:30 to 3:30 PM for all calls, texts and emails to their homes and cell phones. This will allow them to have uninterrupted time with their families.
(2) For additional information, please take a moment and watch our Pastor's video blog as to "Why Woodland Heights will not be Reopening on Sunday, May, 17th.