NoHo Church Family,
There is no question: God’s people must gather—this is inherent in the Biblical definition of “church” (which may best be defined as an “assembly of God’s people for God’s purposes”). There is nothing in Scripture that demands we meet with particular frequency, but we can observe from the Church’s historical practices that assembling at least once per week (“the Lord’s Day”) is acceptable and good.
Most people agree that there is probably nothing wrong with, for a short time, canceling in-person church gatherings for the sake of public safety. Fortunately, in our modern-age, we can still experience some of the benefits of in-person gatherings by “meeting” online.
Scripture is obviously silent about online “gatherings” and whether or not they would be considered an assembling of God’s people. However, we’ve seen practically that lack of in-person human contact is taking a major toll on society (including the church), and so in wisdom, we think that the church must, at some point, gather regularly in person…and soon!
So when to gather again in-person is the question?
March 8, 2020, was the last time NoHo Church held an in-person Sunday Fellowship Gathering by the request of our federal government for the sake of public safety and to follow the biblical commands of Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2. That was almost exactly one year ago. Fortunately, things are finally getting better; Unfortunately, we have no way to know when we will reach a “safe enough” point to meet and when government and society will look favorably on the idea. We’ve been saying, “Just a little longer” for months, and because we are convicted that we must meet, we feel it’s important to set a date to meet in-person again (as we’ve been prepping you in recent weeks).
We know not everyone will be comfortable with this, but please know that we are just trying to be faithful with what the Lord requires of us. (Also, know that as strong as you feel about the situation, there are other Christ-following people in our church who feel strongly the opposite.) Here’s our plan…
Starting March 21, and temporarily, we will be making changes to some of our Fellowship Gatherings:
- The 1st and 3rd Sundays will be held outdoors at the Mooney residence, with a Zoom online option
- The 2nd, 4th and 5th Sundays will be online only.
- All Sunday Fellowship Gatherings will continue to start at 1:00pm
- (You can always view and subscribe to our church calendar...links at bottom)
Regarding our in-person gatherings (1st and 3rd):
- We will meet outside and generally stay about 6 feet from other family units.
- We will wear face-masks before and after the gathering while we’re all moving around.
- While we’re seated for the main meeting time (6 feet from each other), people may take off their masks if they choose.
- We’re not meeting at a meal time, but feel free to bring your own food.
- We will have communion elements available, or you may bring your own if you’d prefer.
We know what tends to happen: People come masked-up and strict, and then by the end of the gathering no one even knows where their mask is. We want to ask y’all to be more careful than that, whether you think it’s important or not. If you want to have someone over for dinner after that to hug and eat with, it’s up to you, but for the gathering, please do you best to follow these guidelines.
And please don’t violate your own conscience…If you don’t think it’s right to be meeting in person, please don’t!
We are also trying to provide a workable online experience for those joining us by Zoom! We’ll be adding a microphone/speaker system to help those joining online to hear and communicate with the group clearly.
We know that this will not be anywhere close to the feel of our pre-COVID gatherings. Please know that this is a very temporary plan, and we all have every intention of getting back to the in-home Fellowship Meal potluck we’ve grown to love. We’re thinking that it might be soon, maybe a few months away, with progressive steps taken until then.
Lastly, regarding our wonderful, active NoHo Church children…We aren’t expecting them to follow the distancing rules perfectly, or to sit quietly with us for an hour or two. Because we’ll be at the Mooney’s (for now), there is room to roam about, and so we’d suggest the parents take turns with the kids in alternate activities, and enlist others in the church to take a shift. Everyone should remember: Missing 20 minutes with the adults is gaining 20 minutes with the children—another integral part of our church family. Use that time to talk with them about God just like the adults are doing.
With gray-area topics like this, many people have different opinions as to what is best. The more we follow Jesus, the more we learn to give up our own preferences and defer to other people’s preferences (so long as we aren’t violating Scripture), all for the sake of unity in the Gospel! This is a beautiful opportunity for all of us to be like Jesus and deny ourselves. Hopefully if we are faithful with this, God will give us greater things to handle later this year!
We'll make sure everyone is updated as things progress...
Love you guys!
Jared and Jovan
For Google Calendar: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/b/2/r?cid=amFyZWRAbm9ob2NodXJjaC5jb20
For iCal or other programs: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/ical/jared%40nohochurch.com/public/basic.ics