RE-OPENING SUNDAY SERVICES and
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates at The Gateway Church
Gateway Family and Friends,
This letter is intended to outline our plan to re-open our in-person gatherings at The Gateway Church. Thank you for your patience over the past several months. We have recognized that re-opening our services is far more complex than it was closing them back in March. This plan is the result of countless hours of discussion, prayer, and fasting by our staff and board.
The following is what we believe the Lord is leading us to do:
Phase 1 – Started at the end of May
* Last week the staff was called back to work. We will work at the church at least 2 days a week at this point in the office, and the other 3 days will be flexible, depending on the work needed to be accomplished.
* Mobilize our congregation! Our team is excited to encourage our people to be together. The restrictions from our Governor have lessened. Let’s be creative! We encourage every family in the church to have friends, neighbors, and our church family over for a bonfire, a picnic, or another shared activity. And remember – we are still called to reach one more!
Phase 2 – Started June 7th
* In Matthew 21:13, Jesus says, “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer.” It is time for us to be together, in-person, for prayer. We will be praying every Sunday evening in the month of June. We will meet at 5:00 pm and pray for one hour. We will meet outside weather permitting. If the weather does not cooperate, we will move our prayer time inside. We will be very careful to practice good social distancing measures.
Phase 3 – Started June 14th
* On June 14th, the staff and board will attend service at the church in-person. After our online service, we will take that opportunity to discuss in detail the steps necessary for re-opening, such as health and safety protocols for you, your family, and our friends and neighbors on the lakeshore.
* On June 15th, we will begin scheduling training with all of our volunteers. We will use Zoom meetings to re-train and be ready to serve once we re-open. (This includes hospitality, safety, ushers, kids, worship, etc.)
Phase 4 – June 21st
* This will be our soft launch service. We are asking the board and staff, as well as the worship team and hospitality team to join us for our first LIVE (in person) service since we went online only. We will have live praise and worship and preaching at 9:00 am. This will be aired LIVE on Facebook and replayed at 11:00 am.
Phase 5 – June 28th (changes to face coverings at 11 am service began on July 19th)
* Open services for our congregation and guests! We may add an additional service time for those who are more at-risk. This is still to be determined. There will be no children’s ministry for at least 3 weeks. We will be very careful to practice good social distancing measures. Our Facebook LIVE presence will continue to be kept strong, broadcasting every single week.
If you are planning on joining us back in person and are more “high risk,” we encourage you to join us for our 9AM service. At this service, masks will be required along with social distancing. Wearing a mask, while inconvenient, is a simple preventative measure to help stop the spread of the virus, just in case you are sick and don’t yet know it. Wearing a mask reduces the risk, not so much of catching COVID-19 from someone else, but of transmitting COVID-19 to another person.
At the 11AM service, masks are required for entering/exiting and moving around inside the building along with social distancing. Once you are at your seat and the service begins, you may remove your mask/face covering. Whenever moving around inside the building you will need to wear a mask.
During services, all staff and volunteers will be wearing masks and following social distancing practices. Each week we are also committed to bring you a clean and sanitized facility.
Phase 6 – Date TBD
* Begin kids ministry and other in-person perks (such as coffee and refreshments).
* “Normal” services back in place as much as possible.
This plan is a bold plan. We know we will not be the first back to regular services, but we will not be the last either. We can’t wait to be face to face and worship together. I love John’s heart in 3 John 13 and 14. He says, “I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face!”
We believe we will come through this season strong. Thank you for your faithfulness, prayers, and support.
The Gateway Church Leadership
The Gateway Church
700 Maple St
Spring Lake, MI 49456