As you are all very aware, Coronavirus / Covid-19 is now a reality in Oklahoma, and government authorities are encouraging cautionary measures. This is a complex situation, and the truth is that none of us really know what the extent of the virus will be or how long this will last. What we do know is that most people have valid concerns, either about the virus itself or about how it will affect their families, their finances, or their work and social environments. The church is no exception.
In light of these real concerns, we can see people reacting in a myriad of ways—the extremes of panic or denial, and everything in between. Some churches are responding by cancelling public gatherings and others are continuing as if nothing were different. Both of those are options. At Crestwood, we believe our call is to be wise and vigilant, while also continuing to provide hope and light to a frenzied world.
Impact of the virus on Crestwood events
For now, all Crestwood Sunday worship services, Connect Groups, and all other events will continue as originally scheduled. However, you will notice some differences at the church, such as extra cleanliness precautions. We are regularly checking and abiding by the recommendations of Oklahoma City County Health Department and the CDC. We are also developing contingency plans for what we would do to maintain community relationships, personal spiritual growth, and the mission of the kingdom should we decide to temporarily cancel public gatherings.
Because this is an evolving situation, we will communicate any changes to our plans via email, Facebook, and our website.
Here’s what we are doing to be proactive and reduce risk
We know that choosing to participate in any public gathering may cause caution or even fear. These are the things we are doing at Crestwood to reduce the risk of spreading infection as much as possible.
- In addition to our regular weekly cleaning routines, we have already implemented additional sanitation of frequently-touched surfaces, including doors, handles, stairway handrails, bathrooms, and CV Kids classrooms. If you would be willing to help with this extra sanitization anytime during the week, please let us know.
- Crestwood staff and ministry team members will wash their hands frequently and voluntarily stay home if they or a family member show any symptoms of illness.
- Greeters will be available at the doors to hold doors open for you, resulting in fewer people touching common surfaces. Volunteer here.
- For at least the next two weeks, we will not serve coffee or donuts in the coffee room. We will have water bottles set out.
- Offering buckets will be placed at the front and back of the sanctuary rather than being passed hand-to-hand. Also, you can give online.
- Ministry team members will use sanitizer before praying for anyone. And as is always our policy, ministry team members will always ask permission before touching the person they are praying for.
- CV Kids volunteers will be washing or sanitizing their hands more often than usual, and they will have the kids sanitize often as the need arises. All children will clean hands before and after snacks are served. All snacks are individually packaged. Crayon packets are being used rather than shared crayons.
- As much as possible, we will provide hand sanitizer stations around the building. Due to the current sanitizer shortage, we are having difficulty purchasing as much as we would like to have available. Feel free to bring your own sanitizer with you.
We will adjust our precautions as the situation evolves.
We ask that you help prevent the spread of infection in these ways
- Stay aware of OK county and CDC recommendations (links above). If you are 60 years or older or have any medical condition, please consult your doctor or these websites to determine if it is wise for you to participate in any public gatherings, including church.
- Stay home if you are sick or have been exposed to sickness. Take advantage of our online sermon archive, and let others in the church know you are staying home so you can encourage each other via phone or online.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Substitute shaking hands or hugging at church with a friendly wave and hello.
- If you or someone you know tests positive for Coronavirus, please let us know so that we can support you and so we can take any necessary precautions.
We are a people of hope
It’s easy to forget in moments like this that God has made us to be a people of hope and to bring His peace in the midst of the storm. Our mission at Crestwood is “Enjoying God and His Mission.” We would encourage you—regardless of what the coming weeks may bring—to ask yourself, How am I enjoying God, even in the midst of this situation? How is God enjoying me right now? How can I participate in and enjoy His mission in this time?
We would encourage you to see this challenge as an opportunity to put Jesus on display to those around you who are struggling. Keep an eye on your neighbors, especially those who live alone or with health concerns (see Matthew 25:36). Ask Jesus to meet you with His peace in an anxiety-filled world. Pray for those who are affected both directly and indirectly by the virus. Pray for the God of all healing to bring a final end to this virus. Please continue to pray for our church, to give generously to the work of the church, and to care for one another.
The Crestwood Vineyard Leadership Team