Guidelines for In-Person Community Group Meetings
July 15, 2020
(text is from the letter that went out to the Reservoir Church community 6/24/20)
While all our weekly emails sign off from Steve, our senior pastor, they’re really from your whole pastoral team. This week in particular is from Steve and Ivy, our pastor of community life, as we’re excited to share a bit about in person gatherings in our community!
It has been incredibly moving to see how you have carried one another during these last few months of pandemic. In a time where the realities of these hard, wild days do their best to tug us into isolation and disconnection – you have rallied and adapted and continued to make sacred space proving that there is “no distance in the Spirit.”
These months more than ever, have revealed just how vital connection is to our well-being, our souls. And the ways that you have continued to meet with one another to pray, to express joy, to weep, to grieve, to celebrate daily victories, to sit in the presence of God has been encouraging.
“Where two or three are gathered,” Jesus said, “there I will be also.” Turns out – Yes! – even via virtual platforms. This gathering together has been so powerful, beautiful and a lifeline to so many! Thank you, thank you!
Unlike many summers, where we encourage community groups to take a break – we’ve heard from many group leaders, that there is an eagerness to continue to meet virtually as well as start to hold smaller in-person gatherings.
As COVID-19 numbers are decreasing, the state is gradually, and carefully reopening. As such, we are inviting community groups and other small circles of people in the community to gather in person, if you would like to. No group should feel they need to meet in person, and we ask all groups to continue to meet virtually if you have members who would prefer that, either for their safety or their risk tolerance.
If you do gather in person however, please observe the following precautions (these are meant to supplement – not replace – any laws, rules or regulations in your local communities):
- Gather outdoors
(look for a time when the ground is dry and odds of rain are low!)
- Gather in groups of 10 or fewer
(if your group is larger, split into two or more pods for meet-ups this summer)
- Meet in a large backyard (if possible), or an area of a public park without a lot of foot traffic, here are a few in the greater Boston area; Danehy Park (Cambridge), Larz Anderson (Brookline), Arnold Arboretum (Boston – JP), Lincoln Park (Somerville).
- Maintain *at least* six feet physical distance.
- Wear masks
- Bring your own food or drink, rather than sharing.
- Consider air high-fives, footshakes, or elbow taps instead of hugging and handshakes.
- Enjoy conversation, prayer as you normally would.
- If you feel sick, or are exhibiting any ill symptoms, please stay home.
- Have hand sanitizer available, if hand-washing is not easily accessible.
However you gather this summer, whether virtually or in-person or a hybrid – remember that Jesus is with you, binding you to one another, spirit to spirit – may you relish in this warmth in the weeks to come.
Steve and Ivy