Back to Church Sunday
As the church of Jesus Christ, we have a mandate to live as His ambassadors in this present world. Our actions, lifestyle, attitude, appearance, and character should all be a representation of a world that is to come. We understand that this earthly life, the kingdoms/countries/governments/laws are ever-changing and temporary but, God’s word is for all eternity (Matthew 24:35).
Our action must be based upon doctrinal teaching derived from scripture. Hebrews 10:24-25 “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
Cornerstone Church has a deep respect for the legal authority of our City, County, State, and Nation. We also recognize that without the foundational premise of our nation’s constitution, our relationship with the elected authorities would be tenuous at best. The United States of America was established upon the foundations of freedom. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof: or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” First Amendment, Bill of Rights. With these aforementioned principles in mind, we have determined to reassemble our church for public worship services on May 17, 2020. This will be conducted in compliance with the required safety protocols of sanitizing pre and post services and is PHASE I of the Cornerstone Reopen Plan.
Our steps are as follows:
• Step 1. We are offering multiple in-person services to encourage social distancing. There will be 10 AM and 12:30 PM Sunday service options that members can register for at www.mycornerstonechurch.com. Members are asked to register for the gathering they wish to attend (All Attendees must be registered in order to attend). A waiver will be emailed from Pastor Dwaine. Please complete to ensure admittance. Entrance doors will open 15 minutes prior to the start of each service. The facility will be cleaned between each service.
• Step 2. Hand sanitizer has been placed throughout the church and each usher and Hospitality team member will have a dispenser. Please allow them to assist you so that we can maintain a no-touch experience. Security and ushers will be available both inside and outside to serve all attendees. Doors will be propped open, or the ushers will hold them open for every one entering. Please allow them to serve you so that we can maintain a touch-free experience for you, your family, and guests. Please, NO handshaking or hugs. You are welcome to wear a mask if you feel it’s necessary.
• Step 3. We ask that everyone enter the building and immediately go into the sanctuary to be seated. An attendant will be available there to help you find your reserved seat. If you are from the same household, please sit together. Parents: Please keep your children with you at all times. Others will be spaced out accordingly.
• Step 4. Sunday school and small groups will continue to be held online only at this time and these areas of the building will be restricted. We will communicate when these classes will resume in person. Be sure our administrative staff has your most up-to-date information so that you can stay informed.
• Step 5. We will avoid passing an offering plate and will not march for the offering. Online giving options will continue. We will have stations in the church where you can drop offerings as well.
• Step 6. We will suspend our Meet and Greet time during service and ask that you greet others in a no-contact way. #itsoktosmileandwave
• Step 7. Dismissal will be done in an orderly fashion to ensure social distancing measures are observed.
• Step 8. Restrooms have been thoroughly cleaned and we ask that attendees please do not congregate there. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water (appropriate hand washing guidelines will be posted in each restroom).
• Step 9. We will keep online meeting options for those who feel uncomfortable or are unable to attend our service in person. 10 AM Sunday Service (Facebook), Nightly Prayer Gathering 7 PM (Zoom), Cornerstone Virtual Book Club Mondays 7:15 PM (Zoom), Firm Foundations Thursdays 7 PM (Zoom).
If you are at-risk, or you or a family member have a temperature greater than 99 degrees, are feeling ill, or are experiencing symptoms associated with coronavirus, we ask that you please stay home.
The church plays an essential and meaningful role in our community. Our families, our friends, and our fellow citizens need the ability to access the spiritually vibrant atmosphere that Cornerstone Church can provide. There is a comfort and clarity that can only be derived from a “gathering” of prayerful, worshiping, consecrated people. This can only be fulfilled through a “church service”
atmosphere. We have sacrificed weeks of service for the good of our city. However, we find that it is appropriate to unite with our brothers and sisters of “like precious faith”, to meet the neglected Spiritual needs of our community. Furthermore, we believe that our public devotion to God is strengthening to our congregation and is “essential” for a healthy resumption of normal business as our nation moves towards “re-opening” for business.
As unemployment continues to rise, it can result in a spike in drug overdoses and an increase in suicides (National Bureau of Economic Research.) If unemployment hits 32%, ~77,000 Americans may die as a result. Currently, our call centers are overflowing with people who are suffering depression at a rate never seen before. In our community, domestic violence and child abuse have increased dramatically. Our churches are part of the solution, we’re not the problem here, but we’ve been deemed nonessential. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” U.S. Const. Amend. I. That prohibition is also applicable to state and local government authorities. In short,
churches, pastors, and believers have a constitutionally protected right to gather together to worship God and to do so without government interference. Even in a time of crisis or disease, see Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905), the First Amendment does not evaporate. The First Amendment is as applicable during a pandemic, or any other crisis, as it is every other day. There is no pause button on the Constitution. The government interest is weighed against the indisputable First Amendment right, and any restriction on that right must be the least restrictive, which, in the case of COVID-19 restrictions, means at a minimum that the restrictions on religious gatherings cannot be stricter than on secular gatherings.
Furthermore, we thank the leadership of our governor, mayor, city and county officials. Their job is extremely challenging in leading a large and diverse state. Now that Michigan has achieved the initial goal of flattening the curve against the spread, we hope they will begin to again demonstrate prescient leadership by recognizing the essential, exceptional, and vital role churches play in the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well being of society. Churches should be among the FIRST essential services open, certainly not relegated to the nonessential. Churches are, after all, acknowledged by the US Constitution as having inviolable rights.
PHASE II will be announced in the coming days. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the church office at 269-329-2530.
Lead Pastor Dwaine Chapdelaine