ELDERS COVID-19 UPDATE
Update #9 | July 15,2020
It was great to worship with you all (out loud) while we had the opportunity. We continue on this wild adventure with a new requirement that was just released from our governor to discontinue indoor worship services. We are reminded that our building is not the church, rather WE are the church. We also know that “God is in control and we are goin’ with the flow.”
We are “goin’ with the flow,” trying something new, and “havin’ some fun.” The 9am service will be delivered and live streamed from the sanctuary, just as before, BUT WITHOUT AN AUDIENCE. We invite you early riser, in-person attenders to join us live at 10:45.
Here’s the fun part—for the 10:45am service, we are going to have an Easy-Up-Flip-Flop Service on the patio. We will have live, unplugged worship with Ben, along with Pastor Chris delivering the sermon in board shorts and rainbow sandals. Bring your beach chair and a cool beverage and let’s worship our God, together (6’ apart). Parents of Junior High and High School, bring your students as they will be meeting on campus outdoors, as usual, while you join us on the patio! We’ll provide the Easy-Ups—you provide the flip-flops.
For those wishing to worship from home at 10:45am, no problem.The 9am service will be restreamed at 10:45am.
Ps, as in Psalm 150:1—Praise the Lord. Praise God in HIS SANCTUARY; praise Him in His mighty heavens.
Come, let us worship.
Your Elders and Pastors
Update #8 | June 3, 2020
Information and Instructions for Gathering Again On Campus
Voyagers LIVE! is coming to our church campus this coming Sunday June 7! A lot of planning has gone into this event, to help assure it is healthy, safe, and successful.
This message gives important details. Please read it carefully, and in full. By understanding and following the procedures we have put in place, you will help us achieve a successful reopening of the Voyagers campus. Thanks for your attention to the information that follows!
A team of Elders, Pastors and staff, Deacons and Lay Leaders have spent many hours meeting and reviewing official guidelines and articles, and have had many conversations with other church leaders. We have identified and documented best practices to prepare our True Family and the Voyagers campus for a healthy and safe Voyagers LIVE!
Our final Plan centers on these key points:
· Social distancing (six feet or more) everywhere on campus.
· Face coverings inside every building (optional outside).
· Lots of hand sanitizer and handwashing.
· Enhanced cleaning of rooms and surfaces before and after use.
· Limit occupancy of any room to no more than 100 people, or 25% of the room’s rated maximum, whichever is lower (a current requirement from the state).
WE ARE OPENING STEP-BY-STEP
We will reopen the church campus in defined Steps. The five key points above will remain in effect throughout all our reopening Steps, until they can be safely relaxed. This will be based on guidance from civil authorities, current best practices, and our own experience. Throughout these Steps, please remember:
· First, and most importantly, cover all this effort in prayer! May the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit be our strength, and may God our Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord, be honored throughout!
· As Pastor Chris said on Sunday May 31, some of our True Family will not be entirely satisfied with every element of our Gathering Plan. Therefore, we all must exhibit both Unity and Flexibility.
· We must all manage our expectations. Voyagers LIVE! will look different for a while. So, let us all celebrate what we can have now, and be patient for an eventual return to normal.
· For each in our True Family, returning to campus is an option, not an obligation or expectation. We respect anyone’s decision to hang back until they feel comfortable returning in person. We are upgrading the online experience by live-streaming Sunday services, and will post a recording on our website, so that we all can gather either face-to-face or virtually.
· We welcome your input! Send to email@example.com.
STEP 1: VOYAGERS LIVE!
The Campus is Prepared for Voyagers LIVE!, Including:
1. Enhanced cleaning of all seats, hard surfaces, bathrooms etc., before and after each service, and throughout the campus every Thursday.
2. Sanctuary seating to assure six-foot social distancing between households (which will sit together), both side-to-side and in front and behind. Overflow seating with appropriate social distancing will be available outside on the Patio (where masks are not required!) and possibly in the MPR, both with live-streaming of the service in the sanctuary.
3. Doors propped open to minimize need to use high-touch surfaces, and to promote air flow.
4. One-way doors and walking routes to minimize cross-traffic and social-distancing violations.
5. In the restrooms, maximum occupancy of three.
6. Water fountains turned off and kitchens closed.
7. No food or drink served or allowed on campus.
8. Unused campus rooms and playground closed.
9. Minimal use of repeat or high-touch items: bulletins, pens, paper, offering plates, etc. You can give online, or use the box in the back of the sanctuary!
10. Lots of signage to instruct and illustrate all the above, and more! Please observe and obey!
Before You Leave Home:
1. Check yourself and your household for symptoms: fever, dry cough, body aches. If any are present, none of you should come on campus.
2. None of your household should come if any of your household has a confirmed active COVID case (with or without symptoms), or if any of your household has been in close and prolonged contact with someone who has COVID (e.g. a family member, or if you have been told by an official contact tracer of such contact), until 14 days have passed.
3. Do not come on campus if you have symptoms of any other infectious illness.
4. Consider carefully whether to come on campus if you are in a high-risk group (e.g., elderly, underlying chronic medical condition, frail health, compromised immune system).
5. For everyone who is coming to campus: wash your hands and grab a mask for everyone (for people 2 years and older! And if you will have young children sitting with you, consider bringing along something to occupy them (e.g., crayons and paper).
When You Arrive:
1. Park in the church lot (IVC is not open). Exit (and later re-enter) your car when no one else is nearby.
2. Bring your mask! If you need one, we have one for you.
3. Maintain social distancing of 6+ feet at all times everywhere on campus (households exempt).
4. Note and observe all signs posted to direct foot traffic, identify Enter and Exit doors, etc. Avoid congestion at doorways, on the Patio, etc.
5. Avoid hugs, handshakes, fist bumps, and any other physical contact.
When You Enter Any Building on Campus:
1. Put on a mask before you enter, and keep it on until you have left the building and are well away from the door.
2. Use hand sanitizer before entering, and upon exiting (it will be available for all in many locations).
3. In the sanctuary, sit only in the Yellow Rows for 9:00, and Blue Rows for 10:45.
4. Sit as households, and leave three empty seats between households sharing a row.
5. Bathroom occupancy is limited to 3 at a time. Ushers will be at the doors to help. Wait your turn in the hallway (6 feet apart!). Use sanitary wipes to clean handles and levers after use.
During the Worship Service:
1. Keep your mask on (optional outdoors).
2. Keep your distance (6+ feet!).
3. If you begin to feel sick, please exit and go home.
As You Leave the Service:
1. Maintain social distancing as you exit.
2. Keep your mask on until you are outside and away from any crowding.
WHAT ARE THE FOLLOWING STEPS?
After Voyagers LIVE!, the following Steps will add more on-campus activities cumulatively. We will provide more details on each of these further Steps as we approach their implementation, as needed.
Step 2 – Ministry meetings for grade 7 through adult, typically involving modest numbers of attendees such as bible studies, discipleship groups, mid-week Student Ministry meetings, leadership team meetings.
Step 3 – Student Ministries (grades 7-12) on Sunday mornings.
Step 4 – Children’s Ministries (infant through 6th grade) on Sunday mornings.
Step 5 – Non-Voyagers ministries that we host on our campus.
Thank you for your attention to this important information. These efforts are in place to protect our True Family brothers and sisters as we return to Voyagers campus.
We look forward to seeing you soon, in person!
Update #7 | May 28, 2020
SAVE THE DATE, JUNE 7! Live stream or LIVE AUDIENCE! Your choice! At home or in-person at 9:00 or 10:45 am.
The California State Department of Health has provided guidance on how to resume in-person attendance at Sunday Services. Using that guidance, we have developed a plan for Voyagers to take the next step along the gradual path to an eventual new normal. The plan limits audience size in the sanctuary, has overflow locations, emphasizes social distancing and protective coverings, and provides other safety procedures to promote a safe, clean environment to worship our Lord and fellowship with one another (at a distance), all the while keeping in place the ability to participate online.
We will be communicating many aspects of the plan over the next week or so. Watch for details Sunday, May 31, during the Voyagers at Home online gathering.
Also note that, with similar safety protocols, the Voyagers office reopens on Monday, June 1. Please call for instructions if you are going to visit.
Update #6 | May 18, 2020
Our elders are taking this reopening planning process very seriously and would ask for your prayers in the meantime. If you have any thoughts/suggestions/concerns, please let us know by sending a note to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you! Stay tuned for more updates to come soon.
Update #5 | April 1, 2020
Dear Voyagers True Family,
What amazingly opportunistic times we are living in…a world scared, uncertain and confused and we have God who is NONE of those things. We are so excited to encourage our True Family to take hold of this opportunity, not only to serve one another but also to lovingly BE the Gospel to our neighbors. We want to give you some opportunities to do just that! It is obviously understood that all of these efforts are to be done with respect to the social distancing recommendations and guidelines. Even still, we want Voyagers to be out there sharing and bearing the burdens of their neighbors. Again, we are not referring to our friends and family at our church, but our actual physical neighbors at home, work and the other various places we go.
First: attached is a card that can be printed and dropped on your neighbor’s doorstep or in the mailbox as a way of inviting them to share their needs and/or areas where they could use some assistance (we can print some for you if you’d like)..
Second: let’s be a Christ-like representation to the physical neighbors of Voyagers Bible Church. We sit in the heart of three apartment complexes with presumably lower to middle income, multi-cultural families that we want to love on. How great would it be to reach out to these neighbors and ask if they have needs that we can meet? The Door2Door Local Outreach ministry did this earlier this year and to do it again at a time like this seems only natural. We want to send a team, socially distanced, to drop off those cards on their doorsteps.
Third: we want to host a series of drives that will cater to the needs of the hospitals and households around us. We have heard that hospitals are in great need of blood and N95 masks. Additionally, we expect there will be households in need of food. So, three things to those ends:
In closing, we want to address the obvious—these areas of service are UNCOMFORTABLE and will stretch our body of believers. Thank you, Pastor Chris, for being so attuned to the Holy Spirit and preparing us for this with our recent sermon series “Uncomfortable”. I pray we choose to serve even when it is uncomfortable.
Reply to this email by clicking HERE with an enthusiastic, “Yes, I would love to serve my neighbors”. Let us know which of the opportunities you would like to participate in and if there are specific services you are willing to provide for our neighbors.
Voyagers Leadership and Local Outreach Ministry
UPDATE #4 | March 26, 2020
UPDATE # 3| March 23, 2020
Dear Voyagers True Family,
We hope you were blessed by our Voyagers at Home online Sunday “gathering” yesterday. We pray that the message helped to turn your focus away from the events of the day toward growing your faith and trusting in Jesus.
As you know the guidelines and best practices to address the Coronavirus keep changing on almost a daily basis. Voyagers has taken steps to keep pace in an attempt to protect all of you as well as the church staff.
Last week small group leaders were advised to suspend all meetings whether onsite or offsite and the staff was advised to discontinue coming to the Voyagers campus. Staff members are working from home and adjustments are being made to conduct the business of the church in a remote fashion. They are available to you by email or by leaving a voice mail. Visitors to the church will see a sign letting them know the church is essentially functioning online. A few essential things may continue to happen onsite (in some cases just once to set up various online alternatives), but in those instances only one person will be allowed on campus at a time.
Voyagers at Home will continue to be produced each week with strict social distancing procedures in place. We hope you take advantage of this resource as we return next week to our Hebrews series.
Pastors and other ministry leaders have turned to online activities continuing to develop and strengthen the True Family theme. We have heard what a blessing it is to see each other and share our experiences during these online meetings. Watch for more and more opportunities to stay connected with the body and any of your small groups.
We have taken steps to reduce church expenses to the extent possible. We know many of you may be facing financial uncertainties at this time. For those who can we ask that you keep Voyagers in your giving plans and consider changing to online giving if you are not already using this option. Giving through the church website and the Voyagers app remains available. It’s no longer possible to drop off checks at the church office. Mail is another option, but when and how often the mail will be collected from the post office is an unknown.
We certainly expect that as this crisis continues many will be impacted and will need assistance. If you need help, please contact Mark Vanlandingham who is coordinating our care and compassion activities. The best way to reach him is by email, using the link above. Prayer requests are encouraged and may be submitted on our website or by clicking here.
May you each strive for His reign and His rule in your life.
The Voyagers Leadership Team
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6: 33,34
UPDATE #2 | MARCH 17, 2020
Dear Voyagers True Family,
We are reminded what a blessing it is to be firmly in the grip of our God during this challenging time. We are so thankful for each one of you. In a mere four days from our last letter to you, the COVID-19 virus recommendations from national and local authorities have greatly tightened the guidelines for meetings.
We appreciated the careful participation from so many of you this past Sunday morning. The hand washing, social distancing and reduced personal contact was obvious and for that we thank you. Following the best practices recommended by the various agencies helps protect each of us and shows respect for the broader community around us. It now seems prudent, and in fact necessary, to suspend our Sunday Services and Sunday School at this time. We tested our streaming capabilities this last week and we’ll post instructions on how you can enjoy our upcoming Sunday Service “Gatherings” later this week.
In addition to the cancellations outlined in our first update letter (see below), we are suspending all other on-campus meetings. Our Pastors are working on several creative, alternative approaches to continuing the interaction between members of each ministry community. They will be rolling out their ideas over the next few weeks.
In accordance with the current eight-week CDC recommendation, the Men’s Retreat will also need to be cancelled. Further, we will carefully assess further developments over the next several weeks before any decisions can be made about Sonrise Island, summer camps and any other summer activities.
Off campus meetings such as Connect Groups, Home Groups, Dinners for Eight, other Bible Studies, etc., which are under 10 participants, will be left to the careful discretion of the leader and the group participants. Thank you for being rigorous in applying the Precautionary Measures and Attendance Guidelines in our last email (repeated below.)
We ask once again that you keep in your prayers the safety and well-being of our True Family members, all our loved ones, and for those involved in and impacted by this crisis.
Finally, at times like these, it is comforting to know that we have each other to bear this burden. We want to remind you that we are here for you and want to help in any way that we can. If you are impacted by the virus and need assistance, please call or email Mark Vanlandingham. He is coordinating our care and compassion responses and can be reached at the church office or at email@example.com. Prayer requests may be submitted on our website. The church office remains open at this time. We also continue to be available to listen, discuss and pray with anyone desiring to do so.
The Voyagers Leadership Team
UPDATE # 1 | MARCH 12, 2020
Dear Voyagers Family,
This week certainly represents a turning point in the COVID-19 virus both nationally and internationally. Given the new pandemic designation and recommendations from numerous governing bodies, your Voyagers’ pastors, elders, and ministry leaders, have made several decisions regarding next steps. The following course of action aligns with many local and similar church families like ours but remains dynamic. We thank you in advance for your flexibility and continued prayers.
We will be meeting for regular Sunday services this week (March 15th) using a series of precautionary measures and the application of attendance guidelines. As you all know, the situation is changing rapidly as is the guidance from various authorities, so we may need to adjust our steps accordingly. The single Service Sunday scheduled for March 22nd will be replaced, at this point, with our regular two services, but we are preparing for the possibility of live streaming, if necessary, as soon as next week (March 22nd).
The sanctuary, meeting rooms, and classrooms will be cleaned and sanitized this Saturday and the increased attention will continue as long as necessary.
- Attendees will be asked to sanitize or wash their hands before entering
- We ask that there be no handshaking, hugging, kissing, fist bumps, etc.
- Spread out to maximize “Social Distancing” – all seating will be available
- No offering plates will be passed – please use online giving or the boxes in the back of the sanctuary by each door
We would encourage the following groups of individuals to consider watching the sermon online (later in the day on Sunday) rather than attending the service (or Sunday School):
- Anyone who has traveled anywhere outside of the United States in the last 14 days.
- Anyone who is not feeling well or has anyone in your household who is not feeling well.
- Anyone in a high-risk community:
- Over 60 years of age
- With underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
- Who has a weakened immune system
- Who is pregnant
- Anyone working in critical fields who feels a need to be extra careful about exposure. We value your protection. This is at your discretion.
- First Responders
- Anyone who has concerns.
With an abundance of caution in mind we are suspending the following ministry meetings:
- Women’s Bible Study
- Vintage (including the Seder Dinner)
We will carefully watch local and national developments to determine if any of these ministries might be able to meet again prior to the natural summer break.
Small gatherings such as Home Groups, Connect Groups, Dinners for Eight, Wednesday evening children’s, High School and Jr High programs will continue, for now, paying attention to the precautions and guidelines above and certain program modifications to reduce risks.
Sunday’s off-site movie night will proceed as planned. We recommend that you apply the same precautionary measures and attendance guidelines.
We ask that you join us in praying for the safety and well-being of our True Family members, all our loved ones, and for those involved in and impacted by this crisis. We recognize that some of you may believe we are overreacting and some of you may believe we are not going far enough. For us, these are uncharted waters and recommendations vary greatly. However, we know that God is sovereign and very much in control. We pray for His wisdom in making these decisions, as we do with all leadership decisions throughout the year. We encourage you to prayerfully consider your options and act as you feel led.
Finally, if you are impacted by the virus and need assistance please let us know. We are also available to listen, discuss and pray with anyone desiring to do so.
The Voyagers Leadership Team
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Eph 3:20,21