When we first began physical distancing in March, many of us began to envision the day when we would be able to return to our sanctuary as normal. Conversely, more recent developments have indicated that such a return and regathering in our sanctuary will not look normal, but instead will involve special precautions, changes, safety measures, and most likely a protracted process unfolding in various phases as circumstances allow.
Our church leaders have been prayerfully discussing what regathering might look like for Riverside. We are paying close attention to what the mayor of DC and both governors of the surrounding DMV area are permitting. While local and state governments decisions are important in our own response plan, we are also seeking the wisdom and guidance of public health officials like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the COVID Act Now organization. Furthermore, we have been looking to both the DC Baptist Convention and the Alliance of Baptists for specifics concerning congregations. Please know that we are praying, studying, discussing, and discerning with due diligence what it would take to move toward regathering in person. I also want you to know our guiding principles as we plan for regathering.
Principles for Planning to Regather
- In Christian love, we seek to uphold and sustain the physical health of our members and staff, especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus.
- In Christian wisdom, we seek to regather safely and soundly rather than hastily.
- In Christian stewardship, we seek and have already begun obtaining the necessary supplies for cleaning and maintaining of our building before regathering.
- In Christian discernment, we seek to incorporate medical and scientific knowledge as well as spiritual and theological understanding in our decision-making process.
- In Christian fellowship, we seek to regather in person as soon as we are able to do so responsibly.
- In Christian unity, we seek to regather in a way that honors our entire church membership.
- In the Baptist tradition of local church autonomy, we seek to regather in a way that best suits Riverside Church in all of her uniqueness as a family of faith.
We are not sure when we will be able to regather, but we will continue working to determine the safest and best way to do so, especially since we so dearly miss being together and the intimate fellowship that entails. In the meantime, we will continue our online offerings. We hope you will continue to worship with us, join us for prayer after our service, and study scripture on Wednesdays.