July 28, 2021
What a joy it has been to worship in person with some of you over the last 4 weeks! I absolutely agree with the Psalmist, “Better is one day in [God’s] courts than a thousand elsewhere!”
The novelty of COVID-19 and its variants continue to require frequent monitoring and a willingness to pivot. The Centers for Disease Control continues to stress the need for vaccination against COVID-19 and provide new guidelines as it receives new data.
On Tuesday of this week, the CDC updated their COVID-19 recommendations, based on the threat of the Delta variant currently circulating in our country. According to cdc.gov:
Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. However, preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to others. To reduce their risk of becoming infected with the Delta variant and potentially spreading it to others: CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
Furthermore, we will no longer offer the VICARS building as a worship venue. Please join us in the main building wearing your mask, or participate in worship online.
Thanks in advance for your cooperation and continued prayers as we navigate these unprecedented times.
Dr. Kevin W. Earley
June 2, 2021
After 64 weeks of our in-person worship services being suspended, I am thrilled that we will have the opportunity to worship in-person beginning July 4, 2021! Throughout this pandemic God has been faithful, trustworthy, and sheltered us in the midst of the storm. For that and so much more, He is worthy of our praise!
As the new senior pastor, I echo the Psalm 95:1-3, “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.”
As we reopen, we will use the following three-prong approach:
1. Mask Optional Area/Sanctuary (Lower Risk)
We will re-open our sanctuary for in-person worship for those who are fully vaccinated on July 4, 2021. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) individuals who are vaccinated have a low risk when gathering indoors and outdoors. Consequently, individuals who have been vaccinated will not be required to wear masks. Individuals who have not been vaccinated are highly encouraged to wear masks in this area, as they are at risk for contracting the coronavirus. Children who are 11 years old and under are unable to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine; therefore, they will be required to wear masks in this area for their protection, except those under 2 years old. The underlying assumption for the mask-optional area is that someone in the building may be infected with COVID-19, but those who are vaccinated and the young wearing masks have a degree of protection.
2. Mask Required Area/VICARS (Moderate to High Risk)
We will open the VICARS building for those who have not been vaccinated for in-person worship on July 4, 2021. Attendees in this area will be able to view the worship service on a large TV screen. Everyone entering into this area must cover their mouth and nose with a mask and observe social distancing. Those who enter this area demonstrate that they agree to be reminded to cover their mouth and nose. Those who refuse will be asked to relocate to the mask optional sanctuary or leave the premises. The underlying assumption for the mask-required area is that someone in the building may be infected with COVID-19, but masks and social distancing provides a degree of protection.
In this area, worshippers will be required to adhere to the socially distanced seating arrangements.
3. Virtual Worship/Stay-At-Home (No Risk)
Worshippers who do not want to assume any COVID-19 risk can continue to worship virtually through our Facebook page, church Zoom line, or at ccogatl.org.
I pray the Lord’s favor and blessing over your life as you choose the worship option that is best for you and your family. As you pray and ponder the decision, please see the What To Expect and Frequently Asked Questions enclosed with this letter, and/or look for the most up-to-date versions on our website.
I request your continued patience, grace, and prayers during these unprecedented times. As we learn and gain wisdom along the way, we will make necessary adjustments, reintroduce some pre-pandemic practices, and communicate updates.
With a sense of excitement and caution let me say, “When we all get together, what a day of rejoicing it will be!”
Dr. Kevin W. Earley