covid-19 update

As you are probably aware, the Governor has given churches permission to open with some guidelines.  Some of the guidelines are mandatory and some of them are suggestions.  We asked for some input through a survey and received over 250 responses.  Thank you for the excellent input and comments.

 

The Church Council has taken all of this under consideration and especially considered Winfree’s specific situation.  At this current time there are some things we are going to do and some things we are not going to do.  But we want to emphasize that there are many things that are unknown and constantly changing.  We will continue to monitor the situation and take steps back towards “normal” as we are able.

 

Under the things we are not doing to do category:

We all miss each other and miss our corporate worship times together.  But we are not going to rush back to having large group worship here at the campus.  There are two big reasons why we are delaying holding corporate worship:

 

1. There is a significant challenge with the number of people we can safely accommodate in both of our worship spaces.  The “50% capacity” guideline really isn’t as relevant for us as the required social distancing and its impact.  In the Sanctuary, using the best seating methods possible, but keeping 5-6 feet between couples and singles, the most we could put on the main floor of the Sanctuary is 80 people, when average attendance was 150-160. 

In the MAC for Contemporary worship, the situation is worse.  Even if we utilize sections with sets of 4 chairs for families, then 5-6 feet, then another set of 4 chairs, and then had another section with triples spaced apart, and another section with couples spaced apart and then some singles, the most we could get in the MAC is 125 people.  Our average attendance has been over 330.  That just doesn’t work out logistically very well, even if we had multiple services.

 

2. The other significant reason has to do with the quality of the experience.  We would not be able to shake hands or hug.  We would be seated 6 feet from each other in a sparsely occupied room. We would all need to wear masks, especially when singing, if we even had congregational singing.  In the Traditional service, we would not be able to have a full choir, but something very nominal at best.  The recommended guideline is to suspend choir completely.  We would not be able to offer a nursery or children’s Sunday School classes.  The bottom line, it would not be the experience that we all miss and yearn for.  It would not be the experience that we envision for our guests either.

We will see how things continue to unfold, but at least for now, we are not going to restart large congregational worship.

 

But here is what we are thinking about doing:

Adult and youth Bible study leaders are polling their class members about their comfort level in meeting if we can provide a large enough space to be socially distanced.  We may discover a way that classes can meet together and then, if they would like, watch the live stream together.  So if you don’t hear from your teacher, please contact them!

 

We are also going to consider any creative ways we could meet as a church, perhaps outdoors, spread across the parking lot in chairs.  We are glad for any suggestions along those lines.

 

We are going to continue to offer all the things we are doing with our virtual worship service … and more is coming.  We feel like the online service is going well, and we think the quality has improved lately.  We will continue to emphasize that with our time, effort, and finances.  We will need to continue online events even as we start to regather.  In fact, our online form of church may be a valuable part of what we do moving forward. 

 

But, please know that this is a very fluid situation.  Things will be different in a couple of months.  We just don’t know how they will be different.  We will continue to monitor things and certainly take steps forward as we feel it is safe for our church family and guests.  In the meantime, let’s continue to stay in touch with each other and care for people in our community.

OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP:

CARITAS/Feeding the Homeless

Click the button below to view details of CARITAS needs on our Local Missions Page:

Mask Making

This week 106 lovely Winfree-made masks were delivered to VCU Health! Well done and thank you, Winfree sew-ers. We will continue providing masks to give to CARITAS. Any fabric is acceptable; the 65/35 cotton is most desired. You can drop the masks off at the church during office hours. Please refer to the instructions below by clicking the button that will take you to VCU's website with guidelines.

"Winfree Prayer Square Pair"

 One of the true tragedies in all of this coronavirus pandemic is that

there are so many patients in our intensive care units, hospitals, and

critical care facilities that are gravely ill and unable to see family

members face to face, to have a loved one hold their hand, or a

minister come and pray with them. The idea of this ministry is that

the patient and family can touch something that reminds them that

the family is staying connected, at least symbolically. 

Here is how it works: 

> Sew, knit, crochet (whatever it is that you can do) a 6 or 8 inch

 square of warm, soft, comforting material (like wool, flannel, felt,

etc. with batting inside to give it some substance) to make a slender pillow-like look, feel, but not too thick. 

> Make another just like it so that you have a pair of the same thing. One of the pair will go to the patient and the other half of the pair will go to the patient's family. The hospital will ensure that the family gets the other half of the prayer square. So, you will be making two of the very same thing.

> Be in prayer for whoever may receive them that they can bring peace and comfort.                           

> There is a box just inside the MAC lobby for you to drop off. You don't have to see or touch anyone. Just drop them in the box between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Keeping checking back here for more updates as we are constantly looking for new ways to help serve our community.

Winfree Church

P.O. Box 244 | 13617 Midlothian Tpke.

Midlothian, VA 23113

Office Hours

Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

(804) 794-5031 | office@winfreechurch.org

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