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!