COVID Update (1/12/21)
Holy City Church has resumed our weekly 10:30 AM corporate worship gathering.
Holy City Church wants to fellowship in such a way that we obey the Scriptures (Hebrews 10:24–25), submit to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1–7), and love our community by safely mitigating COVID-19 spread in our city.
Governor McMaster has eased state closure orders and local businesses have re-opened. As a result, and after counsel from other local church pastors and the City of Charleston Police Dept, Holy City pastors have decided to resume our corporate worship gathering. As of January 12, 2021, the city of Charleston has extended their Face Mask ordinance until March 12, 2021. Holy City Church elders strongly encourage members and visitors to socially distance and to consider wearing a face mask during our corporate worship gathering.
While local churches have been exempted from the Charleston face mask ordinance, Holy City elders encourage, not command, all members and visitors to wear face masks and to socially distance during our corporate worship service. The elders encourage wearing face masks but we’ll leave this decision to each of your individual consciences. We know some will be unable to wear face masks for a variety of reasons (including health issues), so the elders are trusting the Spirit-indwelt saints to live wisely together in love, unity, and humility. When neither Scripture nor the state requires the wearing of face masks in a local church gathering, HCC elders will not command saints to wear face masks. HCC elders do not possess the authority (from God) to bind the conscience of a believer by commanding something that neither Scripture nor the state commands. That being said, we do command and exhort the saints to outdo one another in showing honor, to show love to others who have different convictions on this matter, and bear with one another in gentleness, peace, and humility.
Until further notice, aspects of our corporate worship gathering will be structured differently in order that we might fully participate in the normal activities and elements of Christian corporate worship (congregational song, prayer, fellowship, Lord’s Supper, and Word), and work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
In light of this plan, the elders have 11 actions, recommendations, and/or exhortations for our members and visitors to keep in mind as we aim to gather again on Sundays:
1) If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days, feel sick, and/or have symptoms, please do NOT gather with us. Per the CDC, you need to continue to isolate at home until certain conditions of your recovery have been met;
2) Holy City elders encourage older saints, saints who are immunocompromised, saints with serious underlying health conditions, and women who are pregnant to refrain from gathering with us at this time. Your pastors will leave it up to your families and each of your individual consciences as to when you will rejoin us during this pandemic;
3) Until announced otherwise, we will only gather for our 10:30 AM corporate worship service. Holy City Kids’ discipleship classes and our prayer gathering will NOT meet at this time;
4) We will continue to practice social distancing and encourage hand-washing and basic hygiene during our worship gathering. Though hand washing is best, hand sanitizer will be available for use in several places around the building. HCC Welcome team will, as much as possible, assign seating in the auditorium that aims to provide 10 ft of space between respective families/saints/groups. For families of small children or attenders who would like additional social distancing, our fellowship hall and foyer will both have the televised worship service live. Though we desire to show godly affection to one another, please avoid hugging and any other close physical contact as a precaution against asymptomatic COVID-19 spread. We would encourage saints and visitors to avoid using the church bathrooms, but they will be available if needed;
5) For those who are unable or unwilling to physically gather at this time, we aim to live stream the sermon portion of our corporate worship gathering on YouTube. Pastor Brian will aim to upload the sermon to our website, Vimeo/Youtube, and our podcast immediately after the Sunday worship service so that you have access to our teaching on the Lord’s Day. Lord willing, the sermon will be uploaded by Sunday mid-afternoon;
6) Due to winter weather, congregational singing has transitioned indoors as of 1/3/21. HCC elders encourage all members and visitors to wear face masks, particularly during our indoor congregational singing. HCC Welcome Team will diligently work to maintain 10 ft of social distancing between family units seated in our auditorium.
7) Also, we will NOT pass an offering plate during the service’s offering time. We want to limit any possible spread of the virus by limiting attenders touching the same objects. We have installed 5 offering boxes (with envelopes) around the auditorium for saints to drop their offerings in the box before the service, during the offering time, or after the service. The Welcome Team will collect the contents of the offering box after the worship service. You will also have online giving options (gifts by ACH debit, debit card, and/or credit card). Again, Holy City elders encourage all attenders to consider wearing a face mask during the corporate worship gathering;
8) In order to help limit any potential virus spread, Holy City’s elders will encourage all attenders to fellowship outside on the front porch or in the church yard immediately following the service. Staying indoors and in close quarters will make social distancing more difficult and increase the chances of COVID-19 spread. While outside, please practice 6 ft of social distancing between households and consider wearing a face mask;
9) Be gracious to one another during this time and maintain unity. As you live together during this time, listen more, talk less, and believe the best in your brothers and sisters. COVID-19 presents multiple opportunities for our local church to be harmed, not least of which is division and disunity over our church’s and/or our government’s response to this pandemic. The command of Scripture is to love your God and neighbor, extend grace to one another, maintain unity in the midst of diversity and difficulty, and outdo one another in showing honor. Be aware of the Enemy’s schemes to sow disunity in this time;
10) Cherish Christian liberty. In our own congregation, there is a diversity of opinions as to when we should meet and how individuals should live during this pandemic. There are lots of opinions on face masks, stay-at-home orders, and how local churches should be operating at this time. There are likely disagreements in our body on these issues, but we strive for unity, not uniformity, on non-gospel issues in the body of Christ. Christian liberty means you’ve been set free by Christ to love and serve one another, as well as to strive for holiness together in the local church (Romans 14:1–23). Hold firmly to the commands of Scripture while holding your wisdom, ideas, thoughts, and solutions loosely. Don’t bind the conscience of another member. Love one another and hold one another solely to the commands of Scripture; and,
11) Pray. Pray that COVID-19 would be eliminated, saints would be protected, and God’s kingdom would advance through Christ’s Church in the midst of this pandemic. Pray for wisdom and grace for your pastors. Pray for your fellow members and for those who are most vulnerable amongst us. Pray that the virus and its effects would be halted. Pray that we would love our community well!
Important Note: If after attending the service you become sick or test positive for COVID-19, please contact Pastor Brian as soon as possible so we can notify the rest of the church.
Blessings and much love in Christ,
The Elders of Holy City Church