All Church Letter from Session

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June 9, 2020

Update on Health Guidelines and On-Campus Programming

Dear Church Family,

As many of you know, the State of California and County of San Diego have issued guidance on how churches can evaluate the timing and circumstances of returning to on-campus activities. In the face of this guidance, we want to first say thank you for helping us reimagine and live into a different way of “being the church” over these three months. This has been an unexpected journey of trusting in God and each other through this unprecedented, unpredictable, and unimaginable season.

In response to the recently published guidance and in light of how our community is starting to emerge slowly from sheltering in place, we are working through the complicated questions and choices that face our church in discerning when and how to return to campus. We take this responsibility very seriously and have been in consistent communication about these topics since March.

We also want to give you a general idea of the four criteria being taken into consideration in making decisions about reopening our campus for Sunday worship and other ministry activities:

Needs: Every congregation, depending on its location and demographics, has different needs and therefore it is unlikely that any two churches will adopt the same plan. We also recognize that each member of our church family, from the youngest child to the oldest adult, has been impacted differently by the campus closing and suspension of in-person ministries. Please know that we will try to understand and address those needs and concerns, even though that will be very difficult to accomplish at least in the near term. As a step in this process we circulated a survey that about 455 of you completed. If you have not taken the re-opening survey please do so by Monday, June 15. It is vital information for Session as we discern the pathway forward.

Safety: We have a biblical and moral obligation to keep every person that steps on our campus safe and secure. We believe this is a tangible way to show our love for each other and our neighbors. On May 25, 2020, the California Department of Public Health published regulations and guidelines designed to guide churches. They expire on Monday June 15, at which point further guidance is anticipated. You can review the full current guidelines here https://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-places-of-worship.pdf. In general, this evolving guidance places limitations on the manner and extent to which we can be together on campus. We believe it is both prudent and our duty to abide by controlling guidelines.

Effective Ministry: Session’s primary goal for SBPC is for our members, friends, and neighbors to become disciples of Jesus, growing in their love of God and each other. As we consider steps to reopen the church campus we will remain focused on how each possible alternative approach furthers or hinders this priority in our existing ministries and the lives of our youngest to oldest family members.

Resources: SBPC is led by gifted and committed staff and lay volunteers. We want to be good stewards of those individuals and our financial resources as we consider our way forward.

For now, we will maintain our current online experiences. As we continue to evaluate and adapt we will communicate the steps we are taking to re-open our church campus. We are confident that with God’s provision, spiritual discernment, further government guidance, and your faithful participation we will emerge from COVID-19 and return to campus life in a safe, timely, and spiritually abundant manner.

Thank you again for being on this challenging journey together. Thank you for participating, praying, and giving financially so that we can be the church God has called us to be.

Please remember to take the survey by Monday, June 15, so that all voices can be heard.

In Christ,

Mike McClenahan for Session:
Christian Buckley, Heather Caliri, Steve Carter, Kellie Church, Janice Coy, Judy Enns, Juan-Daniel Espitia, TJ Freeland, Paula Nance, Anita Power, Steve Rossier, Paula Taylor, Clay Westling, and Wendell Wierenga


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