This Video explains the changes regarding Face Coverings. Please read the letter below the video for more specifics.
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:22)
I want to inform you of some changes in our state regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic and consequently changes in protocols we are following in order to worship in our building. On Wednesday, June 24th North Carolina Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 147. This Executive Order has 2 main effects.
- Extends Executive Order 141 regarding Phase 2 of the State’s reopening to July 17th.
- Adds A Section 3.5: Face Coverings to Executive Order 141. Face Coverings are now required in various contexts in NC.
It should be noted that this new EO upholds the rest of Executive Order 141. Of which a key provision is:
Worship, religious, and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, and
other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights are exempt from all the
requirements of this Executive Order and Executive Order Nos. 121 and 138, notwithstanding any
other provision of this Executive Order or of Executive Order Nos. 121 and 138.
In our reading of this, Churches are therefore exempt from the Face Covering requirement which was added to Phase 2.
However, since Face Coverings are a new reality in our society, and will be required to do shopping (for instance) and in most contexts where people are in public, and because we have endeavored to implement prevailing best practices in order to enable us to worship, and since many of our members have expressed concerns over many people not wearing face masks, the Session has decided to add the following protocols to our Sunday Worship Protocol. BEGINNING July 5th. If you are reading this, we ask you to begin on June 28th.
Face Coverings are to be worn during the Following Times:
- Entry – Waiting in line to enter the building up to the point of finding a seat
- Exit – From the end of the Worship Service to to the point of getting outdoors
- Singing – When singing (2 songs at the beginning of the Service and 1 at the end)
Exemptions (No Mask Required)
- When in your Seat during the Worship Service
- Children under age 11
- Anyone with a Medical Reason
- Anyone with Any reason listed in EO 147 (please read)
Please understand, this is not an endorsement of the reasoning behind wearing face coverings. We understand there are good arguments on both sides of this issue. But it is our duty to manage this Church in such a way that:
- God is Glorified
- We are a Good Witness & Beyond reproach to the surrounding community (in things that don’t sacrifice doctrine)
- We are viewed as loving by our members who don’t agree with us
- We maintain the integrity of the organization that is MRPC
Also, please, lets not judge anyone who believes differently than you on this issue. I don’t believe it is fair to call someone “unloving” who does not believe they should wear face coverings. Equally, I don’t believe it is fair to call someone “unthinking” just because they agree with the government recommendation.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (Galatians 5:6)
There is a sense that the spirit of this verse is anything that you are disagreeing over and that is causing disunity (Except doctrinal issues of course). For instance, can we equally say:
For in Christ Jesus neither wearing a mask nor not wearing a mask counts for anything, but only faith working through love ?
I know this decision will not be met favorably by some of you. I’m sorry, it is not our intention to upset anyone. We hope this is good middle ground, to require masks for possibly 15 minutes spread out over an hour and half.
In closing, as you know we are studying Paul’s letter to the Philippians and the next sermon is on Philippians 1:27-2:5. It is a timely reminder.
…but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3b-5)
Will you lay down your rights and views on this issue for the sake of your brothers and sisters in Christ who you may disagree with. Will you lay them down for the sake of Love and for the sake of Gospel? I hope so. While it might not be unloving to not wear a mask, it certainly is loving to wear one when you don’t want to or think you should knowing that others believe so.
I love you Meadowview. But Praise God, He loves you so much more.