COVID-19 Update on Church Gatherings

May 21, 2020

Governor Baker granted churches permission (albeit reluctantly) to reopen and gather for worship services. I'd like to update you on where we stand at Highrock Haverhill.  

Even though meeting together is now permissible, it is probably not safe. Although churches are included in Baker's Phase 1 of reopening, lower risk outdoor facilities are not being opened until Phase 2. In addition, art and entertainment venues (which more closely approximate the type of interaction at a church service) are not opening until Phase 3. 

After digesting the precautions we'd need to take, conferring with our denomination, staff, and other Highrock churches, I am not convinced we can create a safe or hospitable environment for worship right now. And even if we could gather, we wouldn't be able to sing, have KidsRock, enjoy SoulFood, fellowship or contact of any kind. Everyone 2-years-old and up would be required to wear a face mask. I'm not convinced we could use the restrooms. 

Consequently, in concert with the rest of the Highrock network, we will continue to hold our Sunday services virtually. I know this might not be the news any of us wanted, but I invite you to embrace this new reality with me. You might not love the online services or zoom calls, but I'd ask you to lean in to the opportunities we have. So many are sacrificing so much to care for others - I believe that is our call, too. 

But friends, God IS moving. Church isn't closed! Far from it. People who would not attend church in-person are watching online services and getting a glimpse of God's kingdom. We're still connecting, we're still serving, we're still worshiping, still praying. I am hopeful that we can begin to talk about meeting as small groups in homes (and around fire pits!?) in the coming months.

Like many of you, I miss our gatherings. Deeply. I miss all of you! But I'm also committing to gathering safely. I suspect that when we do gather as a whole church again, we will be stepping into something new rather than retreating to exactly what we've done in the past. 

So, in closing, pray with me. Pray that we would find new and creative ways to be God's people in this new time. Pray that we would find new ways to connect to each other and God's purposes, new ways to love our neighbors.

With all hope in Christ, 

Matt