COVID-19 and Our Response

Updated Guidance on Masking and Social Distance (Effective August 5, 2021)

Masks required per Monroe County Mandate at East/West/Iglesia Hispana, regardless of vaccination status.

The Monroe County Health Department issued a public health regulation and order that went into effect at 8am on Thursday, August 5th. Monroe County is now under the State of Indiana’s advisory category of yellow, and the county is requiring all businesses and public buildings to comply with face covering requirements. Sherwood Oaks campus ministers and elders met to discuss the requirements and determined that our East, West, and Iglesia Hispana churches will obey the mandate of the communities we serve and wear our masks at our indoor church activities, and in our worship services. If Monroe or Lawrence County should escalate to a category orange or red, we’ll meet again to determine how to respond to additional regulations. This latest mandate does not include social distancing, so we can freely gather as much as we want and move about, just be cautious. Here’s the good news, we’re still meeting live, online, and we continue to host online recordings of our worship experiences for people to watch on their own time.

Having just spent the past 17 weeks in our Exiles sermon series, studying the letters of 1 and 2 Peter, we heed the timely wisdom and guidance of 1 Peter 2:17, Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.” A few things stand out in this passage that we can all apply to the current situation. First, Peter says treat everyone with dignity. Some of you in our churches may fall under the one or more of the ten mask exceptions, including not wearing a mask for quote, “documented physical, medical, or health-related reasons.” In other words, there are exceptions for some of our own people who may not be able to wear a mask. Let’s respect and support each other in the choices we make. For the rest of us, we’re simply asking that you join us in supporting the county’s mandate. Peter also says, “respect the government.” As our mission statement says, we are to be people helping people grow generations of Christ-led influencers. We take this seriously and we all have an opportunity to influence others by what we think, say, and do. So, let’s not shout it out, fight it out, or shame people for the choice they are making. By the way, masks don’t stop us from praising our God.

Finally, Peter admonishes us to “revere God.” Last year we followed all state and county COVID protocols and saw no traceable outbreaks in our congregation settings. We revere Him for His protection. What we’ve done has worked and we’re asking that you support this church-wide decision once again. Masks and hand sanitizer are available by the doorways or at the welcome center. We are so grateful you’re here and want you to feel safe and free to worship God in a way that brings you closer to the heart of Jesus. Join us in praying for His protection, in praise of His good name. Thanks, everyone!

We wanted to take a moment to let you know that we are aware of the current conversations and concerns about the possible spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus to our community. At the time of writing this, there have been no documented cases in our area, but we still wanted to take a moment to address some possible concerns and questions you may have. While we cannot control the virus, the spread or the impact it has in our church, we’re doing everything we can to make our locations as safe and clean as possible. We appreciate your cooperation and commitment to help us do just that.

We must also remember that God has not called us to live in fear but in faith. As the apostle, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” My prayer is that God will fill all of us with these three gifts, no matter what comes our way.

In order to limit the spread of COVID-19 (or any illness), please follow these best practices:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Forgo shaking hands at church for a wave or a friendly smile.
  • If you or someone you know tests positive for COVID-19, please let us know so we can find a way to help, pray for everyone involved and take any necessary precautions here at Sherwood Oaks.

If you or your child is exhibiting any possible symptoms, please stay home! Our children’s ministry has the following health policy, which we will continue to enforce: Please stay home if you/your child has any of the following also found at socc.org/kids:

  • FEVER: any temperature above 100F or severe subnormal temperature
  • COLD: a runny nose with colored discharge is the most common sign.
  • COUGH: any cough with mucus secretion (a wet or wheezy cough) can spread bacterial or viral infection on the droplets.
  • RASH OR SKIN IRRITATION: poison oak, impetigo, ringworm, cold sores, head lice, and communicable diseases (measles, chickenpox, mumps, etc.) often have rashes or itching as symptoms.
  • DIARRHEA
  • VOMITING
  • PINK EYE: any unusual irritation of the eye or mucus membranes

More information from the CDC

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