We want to start by saying thank you for being such incredible people. Over these past 14 years, and especially these past few months, your generosity, graciousness and commitment to connecting people to God and one another has been so evident, and we are honored to be your pastors. So, thank you!
We made a commitment to you all that we would re-evaluate our COVID response strategies every two weeks in an effort to make decisions based on the latest information we have available to us. As you all probably know, there are extremely strong opinions across the spectrum as to what the national, state and local responses should be. We, as your pastors, are keenly aware that our decisions have, and will likely continue to upset some of you, while making others of you feel very pleased. Because of this reality, we want to reaffirm to you all that our mission has not changed throughout the entirety of this pandemic. We are relentlessly committed to connecting people to God and one another. It has not, nor will it become, our goal to create public policy, push against it or work to defend it. As a result, we will continue to do our very best to help navigate the church through these confusing times by making the best decisions we can with the information we have at our disposal.
Over the past few weeks we have noticed a couple of important things. First, we have noticed the number of those testing positive with COVID–19 is on the rise in Texas. More importantly, the hospitals are taking in patients at a faster pace than is sustainable long term. We celebrate the fact that the mortality rate seems to have declined significantly, but we understand the need to have hospital space for both COVID and non-COVID related health issues. Second, it has become clear to us that different campuses have different thresholds as it relates to their readiness to return to on-campus worship experiences. We believe this may be true for several reasons, but primarily because the counties and cities where our campuses are located have approached mandates and restrictions differently. It seems the counties and cities that have implemented stronger restrictions have fewer people who feel comfortable gathering to worship corporately.
Because of this new information and these recognizable trends, we are making the following changes to our response plan:
First, beginning Sunday, July 5, we will only offer in-person worship services at our Forney and Kaufman locations. We are suspending in-person worship services at our Rockwall and Sunnyvale campuses. If this affects your current Sunday plans to attend your normal campus, we invite you to visit one of our other three campuses: c|Life Online, c|Life Forney or c|Life Kaufman. In order to ensure social distancing during our services, you will still need to make a reservation to attend the Forney or Kaufman campuses, which you can do at clifec.com/reservations.
Second, beginning Sunday, July 5, we will encourage everyone to wear masks at our Forney and Kaufman locations. The CDC guidelines for religious organizations encourage the use of masks, especially when social distancing isn’t possible. Once you are in the worship center, seated and socially distanced, you may pull your mask down if you want. That said, do not feel pressured to do so. Everyone who serves on our staff will wear masks all morning in an effort to help set an example, remove stigma and do our part to help slow the spread.
As we said earlier, most everyone knows there is no way to know the exact right things to do in these unprecedented times. At the end of the day, our goal is to connect people to God and one another. We believe that we are able to do this while still being responsible citizens and, even more importantly, loving neighbors.
We recognize that the conversation culturally has grown well beyond simple practices that might help mitigate the spread of a virus. We understand that there are those who are very concerned that basic and fundamental human rights are slowly being taken away. We also know that there are many who feel like the best thing to do is shut everything back down and wait it out.
We know. We have our own personal opinions too. But this isn’t about that. This is about doing what we can to make sure that c|Life always remains nimble and able to respond to what is happening around us without ever sacrificing the calling God has entrusted to us.
We sincerely appreciate your prayers, your encouragement, your understanding and your continued commitment to rise above the fray and stay focused on the mission.
Your c|Life co-pastors