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La Grande Nazarene Church Family,

If you’ve been watching the developing news then you are most likely already aware that Union County has been approved for Phase 1 of the reopening plan for Oregon. This next phase, already in effect as of May 15th, eases certain restrictions including allowing for local in-person gatherings of up to 25 people. This means that our church will be able to resume some in-person gatherings, but with certain guidelines still in place. Things like social distancing, wearing face masks, frequent hand washing, and staying home when not feeling well or at higher risk remain in effect as part of the Phase 1 reopening plans. We give thanks to God for this step forward and the opportunities it creates, but also pray for the safety of Union County as we enter into this next phase.

Outlined below you will find details regarding how our church intends to move into this next phase together. Our goal is to create opportunities that maximize the allowances under the Phase 1 guidelines while also continuing to practice an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of those who are most vulnerable and at-risk.

- In-person Sunday Mornings Worship Gatherings ARE NOT yet able to resume at this time. With group size restrictions at 25 people it is not yet feasible for us to open the doors for everyone to return for in-person worship, but it does allow for those who have not had consistent access to the live stream to now have a way to be included. We think it best that they be considered first so that worship can be as accessible as possible for everyone. Because we are bound by the 25 person limitations this will need to be by invitation only. We will do what we can with any remaining availability to include others on a rotating basis.

- Group gatherings such as the Ladies Bible Study, adult Sunday School classes, AMP’d Youth, Ladies sewing group, Men’s Night, etc may resume meeting within the 25 person group size restrictions. We are asking each group to confirm attendance prior to gathering as much as possible so that group sizes do not exceed the restricted limits. We will also ask each group to use the fellowship hall for any meetings so there can be ample space for social distancing. Each group will also need to take a few minutes to sanitize after their gathering so the space can be prepared for the next group. Groups will need to contact the church office and set up a time to ensure availability of the fellowship hall.

- Home group meetings are also now possible. For those who are able this would be a great option to watch the Sunday morning live stream and worship together with a few friends in person while we all worship together in spirit. We will also be creating some additional videos that can be used to help facilitate a midweek home group experience. Small group gatherings are already some of the best and most proven ways to help us grow in our faith, but groups like these may now be more essential than ever. What a great opportunity this can be to help us foster an even deeper sense of community together.

Church family, I want to personally thank you from the bottom of my heart for your steadfastness and faithfulness through this time. You have shown up for one another, supported each other, adapted to new ways of being the church together and done so with cheerful hearts. Thank you also for your continued faithful generosity to the church through tithes & offerings. As we move forward into this next phase together we will need to do so all the more. As I said in my sermon yesterday, we all have our opinions about the necessity of these precautions, but as a community of faith our own opinions are never the final word. As followers of Christ we place the needs of others ahead of ourselves and seek to serve one another out of love. In doing so I believe our church will be better than ever because we will be going together. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at the church office. You are loved and your church is here for you!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Kevin