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Good Evening Refuge Church,
After so many emails about how we are doing apart, it's beautiful to be able to write to you as we slowly come back together. With Governor Inslee's announcement that churches are able to open in a limited capacity, we are going to open up this Sunday to 10 people. Before you read the rest of this email I would encourage you to go to therefugechurch.us and watch the video from Daniel about our plans to open up if you haven't already seen it.
So, great news, we get to have 10 of you in with us live on Sunday for service. Now for the bad news, we only get to have 10 of you in with us Sunday. If you’d like to join us in person on Sunday please respond to this email directly. It would be easiest if you would include the first and last name of everyone in your home who would like to attend, as well as their email address and phone number. We will be storing this in the church management application we use called, Planning Center. I don't know that we even have a process in place for how to determine who will attend, but I can promise it will not be perfect or totally fair. I can promise that it will be done with prayer, thoughtfulness, and a desire in our hearts to have all of you with us on Sunday.
I will be emailing attendees Saturday evening with details about attending Sunday morning. If you don't get an email then you will be kept on the list to attend the following Sunday. Washington State has said that everyone in attendance needs to be wearing a mask so please be prepared with one, however, if you don't have access to a mask please let me know in your reservation email and we will make sure there are masks available for you and your family. The Saturday email will have more details but I will spare the rest of you the minutiae.
As far as the production, Sean and I have been working hard to dial things in and bring you the best quality service on Sunday. As we begin the transition to opening our doors we will be learning how to continue to offer the best possible digital church service to your home, while also providing an engaging in person experience. I know there is strong belief in my own heart that as we open our doors we can begin to provide an even more engaging digital experience to those of us who are feeling more safe and secure at home.
As Daniel mentioned we are always wanting to learn more about how we can best serve you, the body, and honor our commitments to you. Part of that is creating chances for you to share with the Elders and church leadership about your needs, and another aspect is finding ways to encourage you to reach out to others in the church. We have a few ways we are going to be working to do that.
The first is that I have created a brief survey for you to fill out which you can find here or on the church homepage. This will help us get a better feel for your needs, where you see the church headed, and how you feel about reopening. The second is that next Monday, June first we will be having a Refuge Town Hall on Zoom from 5:30 - 6:30 pm. (Room # 869 6336 9400 Password 615511). This will be something led by Daniel and we will have more details about this time as we get closer.
We are also encouraging you to either host or participate in a home viewing party if you are feeling safe and comfortable getting together with others. Please just click the box for that part of the survey and I will do the best I can to connect those hosting with those attending.
I hope you all have been doing well in this pandemic. For those of us who are ready to come and meet in person, the doors are open and we are so excited to be near you (the policy does mandate no touching, so Pat Steele you're safe from hugs). For those of us that are feeling like we still need to be at home, that is ok, that is better than ok. It's great that you are making a choice to care for yourself and feel secure. We are still here for you; to serve you, to love you, to connect with you, and yes, even to continue to bring you a slowly improving digital experience.
I know personally that this has been a really challenging time, and I am both nervous about opening back up, and extremely excited. Despite the hard times and heavy emotions we are so blessed to have a God who loves us, cares for us, and provides for us. He has blessed us with a loving and wonderful family of believers, who even though we come from different places, are united together by our love for Jesus and our love for each other. I look forward to hearing from you all, seeing you soon, and giving you a big hug when I am legally allowed!