The State of California has decreed that in-person religious service may resume with certain conditions and continued restrictions. In general, these guidelines and key prevention practices include:

✓ physical distancing to the maximum extent possible,

✓ use of face coverings by employees and volunteers (where respiratory protection is not required) and congregants/visitors,

✓ frequent handwashing and regular cleaning and disinfection,

✓ training employees and volunteers on these and other elements of the COVID-19 prevention plan.

Most members of St. Luke’s and of society are already familiar with these general principles. Nonetheless, St. Luke’s will be developing protocols to help ensure that the church resumes regular worship and other activities in a safe manner.

The church’s concern in this matter is primarily the health and well-being of its members, visitors, and the general public. Churches should be places of healing and care, the forgiveness of sin, and the promises of new life in Christ. So, working to keep everyone safe and sound is part of the church’s ethos and reason for being.

The church is also concerned to keep everyone safe and sound because society, and particularly the media, are becoming ever more hostile to Christians. Having the church become a “hotspot” for conronavirus infections would only confirm their antagonism towards the church. It is akin to the difference between a small airplane crash and a car accident. The media loves to report airplane accidents out of proportion. In comparison, they could generally care less about car accidents, unless someone drives into an airplane.

A third aspect to reopening general church activities is the disposition of each member or visitor. Some people due to health conditions, age, or other factors may be hesitant to return to church immediately. Others would have been here “yesterday” had they been able to avail themselves of the opportunity. The church supports its members and their decisions regarding their timing for returning.

In addition to the resumption of specifically faith-related activities, the church also has a number of business matters which need the congregation’s attention. Although it seems as if the world has closed down, and in many ways it has, the church’s business side has continued and is awaiting member input. The April congregational meeting was postponed and a special congregational meeting needs to take place. These will be scheduled most likely on Sunday, 07 June, after church services. Even if you may not want to attend church on that day, attending the meetings would be important. The congregational meetings can be held in the sanctuary if necessary to allow more space for people to congregate for the meeting.

Many other, important church activities will resume in a more gradual way. In March, WSL, academy classes, Sunday School, catechism classes, Bible studies, choir and other activities went dormant. Church leaders in each of these areas will be working to resume those services and activities in a measured way. Some of those may start earlier and others latter. The church council and activity leaders will be providing as much information as soon as possible. So, be on the look out for further information regarding resumption of services and activities in the coming days and weeks.

Finally, the church council is not certain that the church will be able to hold Vacation Bible School (VBS) the week of 13-17 July as originally anticipated. First, the La Mesa Flag Day Parade has been cancelled. So, one of our main advertising events is not available to us. Also, due to the uncertainty regarding reopening, the church has not been able to plan or prepare in a timely fashion. Finally, given the present circumstances, given the high amount of interpersonal interaction involved in VBS, the church is not certain how things like “social distancing” would be managed or even feasible.

On the bright side, this “coronavirus recess” has provided opportunity to reflect, take stock, and find different ways of doing things. If you have suggestions for the future of services and activities at St. Luke’s based on your experiences in the past few months, please let church leadership know.