Rosewood Church Family,
Change should not be feared but losing what we love hurts. I mourn with you the loss of community through in-person Sunday morning worship. I miss most of you. (Kidding – don’t forget to laugh whenever you can!) We are entering a new season of the living Church, and most of you are wondering what the future holds for Rosewood Church’s congregational life in the era of COVID-19 and social distancing. This message is intended to be the first of many to bring you into our ongoing conversations.
Three teams have been formed to navigate potential next steps. They are populated with members of staff, the Building Emergency Response Team, and medical professionals. One team is focused on creating touch-free practices to get you from your car through the church and back again in the safest ways possible when the building can be used again. Another is imagining and promoting congregational life in smaller groups. The last team is considering what a worship service or services could look like when its safe, viable, and an improvement over what we’re doing now.
We are making plans within a framework we’re calling “Step Up Gatherings.” This means we will not jump back to one worship service as if nothing happened, but we are working towards establishing new, low-risk environments for practicing congregational life at various gathering sizes. The first phase of our Step Up Gathering plan is to mobilize the church into smaller groups. Many groups existed before the pandemic and have converted their fellowship to an online format, and new groups are forming. Reach out to a handful of people you know, used to sit by, or always wanted to get to know better and start meeting online on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be complicated and there’s no pressure to follow a firm structure. You could talk and check-in, begin to pray for one another when trust grows, and later consider studying Scripture, reading a book, or using the message study guides that come out every week. Eventually, these online groups can convert to in-person gatherings.
Safety has always been a priority to Rosewood Church, and for years we have stood as a resource for other churches by sharing our wisdom and methods. It is the same today; Rosewood is helping lead the discussion among other mid-sized churches in West Michigan as we navigate the same unknown terrain. Because safety is a paramount, we are cautious to take any steps that risk transmission to our members and guests. We will resume in-person community practices as soon as it’s safe for everyone, but that could mean even when groups are allowed Rosewood Church may not be gathering in the church building.
I’ll leave you with three upcoming ways to participate in the present and future life of Rosewood Church.
- You’ll receive a survey to help the teams understand you or your family’s expectations for returning to worship services at Rosewood.
- A form will be made available to sign up for a small group if you prefer Pastor Howard or I to connect you with others.
- Tune in to service on May 31 for a message titled, “Looking Forward to Normal,” because this is too important a time to leave us unchanged.
In Christ, Austin Vondracek, Lead Pastor, Rosewood Church