Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22.37-39).
Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along (Romans 13.8).
The last ten weeks have been unprecedented. Never in any of our lifetimes have we experienced a pandemic that has impacted all our routines, including our worship gatherings. We continue to be amazed by your love for God demonstrated in your love and care for each other, for those in need among us and in our community, and your commitment to be a light for Jesus.
On Sunday, May 31, we will reopen Northside for in-person worship at 10:00 a.m. In this initial phase of reopening, we will only gather in-person for Sunday morning worship. Additional gatherings like Sunday evenings, Wednesdays, and Bible classes will be considered as additional guidance from the Governor and Department of Health is made public. In the interim, we will continue to offer a small group/family group online discussion guide and a live stream of Wednesday Bible class.
Throughout this time, we as your Shepherds have committed to lead our Northside Family by submitting to the guidance of our state’s governing authorities (Romans 13.1-5). We appreciate your patience, encouragement and support. As we reopen for in-person worship on May 31, we continue to encourage your cooperation by adhering to the guidelines that follow as a demonstration of love and care for each other.
- We will continue to provide live-stream of each Sunday morning worship assembly. We recognize some among our church family might be uncomfortable to gather among a larger group and we encourage your continued participation in worship online.
- We encourage you to stay home and worship online if any of the following apply:
- You have had a fever of 100.4 or higher in the past two days.
- You have a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell or other symptoms typical of Covid-19.
- You are age 65 or over or have underlying health conditions including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, asthma, or immunocompromised conditions.
- You have young children who are unable to adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
- Current guidance requires that all worshipers wear a face covering, except for children under age 10. Face coverings may be removed for taking communion and for those speaking/leading publicly from the rostrum. We will provide face coverings at the entrances for those who may not have one.
- Physical distancing is required under current guidance. That means only certain pews will be available for seating. We ask that you do not sit in rows that have been marked unavailable. Family units are asked to sit together and leave 6’ distance between families that might sit on the same pew.
- While we have all missed each other and are anxious to greet and receive each other with handshakes and hugs, we ask that at this time, you maintain physical distancing from those not in your immediate family.
- Communion will be available as you enter the church building in individual, self-contained communion cups. In addition, offerings will be received in offering boxes at each exit. When the worship assembly ends, you may place your offering in the box as you exit. There will also be trash receptacles to dispose of communion cups as you exit.
- Guidance for exiting the building will be provided at the close of the worship assembly.
- Use of restrooms will be limited according to physical distance guidelines.
As Shepherds, we continue to meet weekly and pray over the needs of the church family. A part of our time each week has been devoted to seeking God’s wisdom and sharing the wisdom of each Shepherd to arrive at these guidelines in keeping with the Arkansas Department of Health. These will be reviewed weekly and adjusted as additional guidance is given by the Governor and Arkansas Department of Health.
These guidelines are in place to guard and protect the physical health of every person who worships at Northside. Again, our encouragement is that we serve one another in love by taking appropriate precautions to ensure the health of every part of our Northside family. And, let’s all keep praying fervently that the virus subsides, the pandemic lifts, and we can very soon get back to being able to express our love for God and each other to which we are accustomed.
We love and appreciate each of you,