LEFC Update on Minnesota’s Executive Order on Masks

Dear LEFC,

As you are likely aware, our state has issued a mandate for citizens to wear facemasks while in indoor public spaces starting on Friday, July 24th at 11:59pm. Here is the link to the mandate that describes both the governor’s order and applicable exceptions (https://www.leg.state.mn.us/archive/execorders/20-81.pdf).

After reviewing this document, here is what we are asking of each person that attends LEFC. Many of these are already things we are doing, but some of them are a little different so that we can reasonably worship while meeting the requirements of this mandate.
 
Also, note that there is a summary video from Pastor Ryan that is posted at the end of this letter. Feel free to watch it to help you better understand the what and why of how we will be proceeding as a church.

We would first like to remind you of our current safety protocols:

  • Our two morning services will continue to be limited to 70 people per service so we can maintain proper social distancing.
    • The chairs are distanced from each other in groups of three, but if your family is larger than that you may push chairs together.
  • If for some reason you are not feeling well, have been around people who have been experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, are immune compromised, or are at higher risk please stay home and join us through the LEFC livestream on Facebook or YouTube at 10:30 a.m.
  • While you are here, we would continue to ask that all greetings be non-contact greetings.
  • For health and safety purposes we will still not do the normal greeting time at the beginning of our services.
  • We will continue to not pass the plate for offering. Please drop your offering in the offering box that is right inside the sanctuary doors.
  • We will also not pass the communion plates so please grab your communion supplies from the table right outside of the sanctuary doors.
  • Each morning service will continue to be limited to an hour. This means that the announcements, sermon, and music portions of the service will be shortened.
    • We are doing this to give people ample time to leave before the next group comes in, and it gives the ushers/cleaning team time to reset the sanctuary and sanitize the chairs, bathrooms, and other surfaces after each service. (With this in mind, please get here no earlier than 15 minutes before the service starts).

Based on what Minnesota has included in executive order 20-81 here is what we will be asking of you in addition to our current protocols.

  • First service (9:00am): Will remain a mask mandatory service, and we would ask that people keep their masks on as much as possible during this time. However, those who are preaching or leading in song or not required to wear a mask while dispensing those duties.
  • Second service (10:30am): We will be requiring everyone to wear a face mask while entering and exiting the building until you are seated in your group or outside of the building (unless you have an exemption as defined by section 8a-c of the executive order). Once you are seated, we recommend, if possible, that you keep your facemask on throughout the service. If you do not have a face mask, we will be able to provide you with one.
    • Children 2 and under should never wear a facemask and those who are 3-5years old are not required but encouraged to wear a mask if they can do so properly.

Note: Like first service the worship team and speakers will not be wearing a mask while they are on the platform. Also, there are many circumstances laid out in the executive order where facemasks may be removed for a time. Though we recommend face masks while participating in our morning services we also realize that for some it will make active participation in our services difficult. In those situations, we will leave it up to individuals to decide whether they will remove their mask or not. (See sections 8a-c, 10a-k of the executive order for more information)

  • If you do need to get up during service, we would ask that you wear a mask and try to limit where you go in the building. If you are using the bathroom, please follow proper hand washing procedures and wash for a full 20 seconds.
  • Once service is over, exit the building as quickly as possible. The back rows will exit first followed by each successive row. (Please makes sure your mask is firmly on your face during this time.)
    • We realize that people will want to stay and fellowship with one another, but we would ask that you do this either in the parking lot or grassy area out back.

In Summary:

We will continue to maintain proper distancing, capacity, and hygiene guidelines. However, in addition to that our first service will remain mask mandatory, and our second service will require you to wear a mask into the building until you are in your seat. When seated and properly distanced we will encourage you to wear a mask but will leave it up to you to decide if you either have a medical reason for not wearing your mask or if your active participation in our services will be hindered as a result of wearing your mask. In those situations, it is within your right to temporarily remove your mask. Finally, when moving about the building we do ask that you wear your mask.

Please see CDC Guidelines for further safety information.

 

Our Heart:

These continue to be trying times. However, here are some reminders from Scripture that we ask you to prayerfully consider as we all seek to serve the Lord and love one another:

God’s Command to Worship: The Lord has called us to gather in his name for worship. He has clearly shown us in his word that acts like prayer, singing, reading of Scripture, and preaching are part of Christian worship.

Hebrews 10:24-25:  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Colossians 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

God’s Command to Submit to Governing Authorities: The Lord has called the church to submit to our governing authorities. We should submit to the governing authorities that the Lord has placed over us so long as that submission does not cause us to disobey God.

Romans 13:1-2: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

Acts 5:27-29: And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

God’s Command to Love One Another: As God’s people we are to be known by our love for one another and our love for God, even when the circumstances don’t perfectly suit our desires.

Philippians 2:3-4: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Matthew 22:37-38: And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

We urge you to be gracious and understanding toward one another in this time, recognizing that different believers may come to different conclusions as to how to best obey all the commands listed above. Jesus said that the world would know that we are his disciples by how we love one another. We must show that love to one another, now more than ever.

As your elders, we know that some of you will have questions and concerns about these changes. Feel free to contact us and we will do our best to answer any concerns you may have. Also, please pray for us as we seek to serve and glorify the Lord together. Pray that God would continue to lead us and guide us as a church, and as your elders during these turbulent times.

 

Blessings,

The LEFC Elders

John Young            

Ryan Perry            

Steve Thompson   

Eric Mattie

Dan Cravillion   (On Sabbatical)



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