July 30, 2020
Dear Yates Baptist Church Family:
As we move toward summer’s end, the workgroup focused upon the status of coronavirus disease in our community and the proper and safe reopening of church facilities and grounds continues to meet. Statewide, confirmed cases and hospitalization rates continue to increase. Additionally, Durham County holds one of the highest concentrations of coronavirus cases in the state, with the current projections of a peak in cases this fall.
It is our current judgment that the risks attached to even modest indoor gatherings still outweigh the returns, and our recommendation remains to refrain from opening the facility to in-person indoor gatherings of any size this summer.The only situation for which we currently recommend an exception is in the event of a death and the desire for a funeral in the church sanctuary, for which we are developing special protocols. We will continue to discuss possibilities for responsible reopening, looking for possible open windows in the fall.
We share the earnest desire for those in our congregation to meet and gather for various reasons in days to come. We encourage the creative online means the church is striving to foster our discipleship and worship life.
In addition, we strongly encourage creative use of outdoor, in-person gatherings on the church campus and beyond.Numerous studies suggest a dramatic reduction of risk of coronavirus transmission outdoors versus indoors, given the same precautions of safe distance, masking and hand hygiene. Bible study groups, lunch meetings, prayer groups and the like are free to find a location and time when gathering for face-to-face encounters might strengthen the effectiveness, fellowship and morale of the congregation.
For the month of August, consider how you might want to have a morning, afternoon or evening gathering of an outdoor group of under 25 persons to this end. A map of the grounds with suggested locations is available from the church office. There are shady spots and sunny ones, depending on what you prefer! There are also a few stipulations attached to such gatherings:
- Call or contact the church office to register your intention to meet on the grounds and the location of your meeting ahead of time.
- Submit a roster of all attendees to Rebecca after any gathering on the church grounds in the event contact tracing is required later.
- Participants are currently required to bring their own chairs or seating.
- Recognize that the interior of the facility, including restrooms, is currently unavailable for use.
- The current requirements of masking, appropriate distance and hand hygiene remain in place.
In addition, our pastor is offering to facilitate small groups of in-person worship gatherings on the grounds or in your back/front yards. If you would like to have some time to worship, sing, pray and share the Word of God in person, this is available to you by pre-arranging a time with him and gathering a small group to share the experience. He will travel to you or you are free to arrange a meeting on the church grounds. North Carolina’s Phase 2 requirements mandate a 25-person limit, but a smaller group is preferred. Weekdays or Sundays, with the exception of Fridays and Saturdays, are available.
Thank you for your feedback and your questions. Please feel free to reach out to any member of the Roundtable with your additional thoughts or questions as we discern the best way forward.
May God bless you and keep you safe and healthy,
The Yates Resumption Roundtable: Don Bynum, Lindsay Cook, Beverly Garcia, Sam Haithcock, Walt Pickett, Pam Riley, Gene Smith, Bill Yount, the pastor and ministry staff