Thursday, October 7, 2021
Congregational Letter, Reopening Phase I
I trust and pray that this letter finds you enjoying good health and peace of mind as we move through the autumn season.
In March of 2020, Bethel, like many congregations, stopped in person worship and gatherings as a means to protect our members from the spread of the Covid – 19 Virus. Within months of closing our building, church leaders began discussing when, where, and how to reopen safely. It was determined that Bethel would only resume in person worship when, it was safe, when it was permissible, and when Bethel was prepared to worship safely. We are grateful that all of those criteria’s have been satisfied.
SAFETY – The most effective means of protecting yourself and other’s from COVID – 19 is by being vaccinated. Vaccines are widely available in Michigan and Washtenaw County for those who are 12 and older. \Ve strongly encourage all of our members to get vaccinated, and if you have questions or concerns, to contact your health care provider.
PERMISSIBLE – The State of Michigan lifted mandates for in – person gathering, and our Bishop, The Right Reverend John F. White, has allowed African Methodist Episcopal Churches to reopen after completing a reopening plan.
PREPARED – For over a year, the Reopening Committee has worked to outfit the church with the necessary signage, equipment and established policies and procedures for our reopening.
In September, we launched a “soft opening” with our stewards and trustees to determine the most effective flow of worship during a pandemic. Those two worship services were successful and through critique and evaluation, we made improvements on the process and protocols which had been established.
As of this month, we are prepared to receive our congregation once again at 900 John A. Woods Dr. Enclosed, please find a flyer which provides answers to frequently asked questions. After reviewing the flyer, if you have additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate in contacting our church office at (734) 663 – 3800. For those who will continue to worship virtually, please lmow that our worship services will continue to air each Sunday at 10 a.m. via our various platforms. In this process, I am asking for several things from our members:
- Pray. Please pray that God would continue to cover and keep us as we return to in-person worship.
- Exercise Patience. Adapting to “virtual worship” and returning to “in-person” worship are unprecedented and unfamiliar processes for any congregation. Please be patient as we work through the unexpected aspects of this journey.
- Stewardship. I encourage members to continue in the spirit of stewardship and generosity that has been demonstrated during the last nineteen months. Even during our time apart, members have given of their time and their financial resources to support the ministry of Bethel. As we move forward, that support is still needed, and appreciated.
We are in a new season, a new paradigm of ministry. Adapting and adjusting to our “new normal” will not always be comfortable or convenient, however, I do believe that God will be glorified, and we will be blessed in the process.
Rev. Mashod A. Evans, Sr.,
Monday, January 11, 2021
On Sunday, March 15, at the end of morning worship I pronounced the benediction, not realizing that would be our last in – person worship for the year. Certainly, the threat of coronavirus was eminent, but no one could have imagined the tremendous toll it would take on our community, our nation and world. Ten months later, our sanctuary doors remain closed, and while we watch and pray, we still have not been able to determine a date for our return to in – person worship.
The economic, political, and public health challenges we have experienced, can adversely impact our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well – being. While we remain vigilant with the hygiene and social distancing protocols which help to slow the spread of the virus, I’m also encouraging all of our members to remain vigilant in maintaining our spiritual walk with the Lord, through worship, prayer, study, stewardship and fasting.
Last week, we began our twenty – one day season of fasting and prayer. Moreover, we want to use this time to Speak Life. The book of Proverbs teaches us that “the tongue has the power of life and death.” Proverbs 18:21. As we are intentional in our word choices, conversations, comments, and communications, we are exercising the power which God has afforded us. More information regarding this period of fasting and prayer can be found below my signature.
This season has been challenging, very challenging. Our faith does not make us immune from the weariness, anxiety, frustration, and sadness that these challenges can cause. The good and great news is that God is with us, and God’s strength, guidance, and protection are ours.
Rev. Mashod A. Evans, Sr.
We would like to welcome all of our visitors. We are glad that you are worshiping with us today, and we are blessed by your presence. If you are in need of a church home, or a new church home, please prayerfully consider Bethel. I would love to be your pastor, and we would love to be your church family. Following the morning message, there will be an invitation for those who wish to join our family of faith.
Rev. Mashod A. Evans Sr.
Servant of God