Pastor Ashley Creek Newsletter Column April 15, 2021

Cornerstone Church Family,

We have many exciting things happening in our community! First, I want to be sure you know about our upcoming “Envelope Challenge”, where we will be raising funds for our Summer Intern Program and Youth Ministries at Cornerstone! Our Youth Director, Felicia Johnson, has been busy planning this event, visioning for the future, and looking back to previous interns to hear stories of God’s goodness through our intern program. Tune into service on Sunday to hear some testimonies from past interns and for a final invitation prior to our event, which takes plans on Sunday, April 18th from 1-3 PM in the Church Parking Lot.

Speaking of our church parking lot, you may have noticed that there have been more in-person, outdoor events happening lately. We had an amazing Children’s Event on Easter Weekend called “Easter Egg Lane”. Our Children’s Minister, Karen Kirkman, creatively planned a COVID-safe Easter Egg event that allowed children and families to do crafts, get Easter treats, play games, and take Easter bunny photos! The creativity and ingenuity of our staff and volunteers in this season has been unmatched, and I am so thankful for each one of them.

As we look forward towards Spring and Summer, we are excited to be offering more in-person opportunities for gathering. We have a Re-Opening team that has been busy reviewing the guidelines and recommendations from the Bishop and the PNW UMC Covid Response Team, creating our own re-opening plan for the church, and making plans for events. This team is amazing, hardworking, and committed to both working towards re-opening and being safe and responsible while we do this. If you’re interested in the guidance we are receiving from the Conference (it is very thorough), you can check it out at this link: https://greaternw.org/reimagining-life-together/. We also have our own reopening documents posted on our website.

With all that being said, we are excited to be offering an in-person worship experience next Sunday, April 25th at 10 AM! There are a few important stipulations around this event. First, our outdoor services have an out-of-car attendance limit of 50 people. While we would love to be able to have multiple services back-to-back, both the Reopening Team and the Believe Team agreed that we are going to be using our first service as a “trial run” for future service planning of this nature. But don’t fret! We’ve made a plan to include more than 50 people but simultaneously holding this service as a drive-in (and of course, via live stream on YouTube for those who will view from home)! So, when you register for our service (which you can do online using Google Forms at this link: https://forms.gle/oJ4a5znfKqCiazhbA), you will have two options:

Designated Seating in which, you will have to do the following (limit 50):

  • Fill out our online registration
  • Bring your own lawn chairs
  • Everyone must wear a mask the whole time
  • Stay in a designated area for your family
  • Maintain a 6-feet of social distance from other families (the designated family spaces will actually be 12-feet apart, as an added caution for singing – but yay, we can sing!)
  • We are limited to 50 people in this capacity; we will do our best to track registrations and close this option on the form when it is full.

Drive-In Seating in Your Car in which the following guidelines apply:

  • Fill out our online registration
  • You will need to stay in your car; the service will be transmitted over FM radio
  • You do not need to wear a mask with your windows rolled up
  • Our parking lot is the capacity, so we hope to have space for many participants!

The final note (as is mentioned on the registration form) is that we must ask you to stay home if:

  • You or anyone in your household have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks
  • You or anyone in your household is sick or have a fever of 100.4 or more
  • You or anyone in your household have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 in the past two weeks

As I mentioned before, both the re-opening team and the believe team see this as a trial run so that we can build on it for the future. Thus, we’ve built in some time for evaluation and planning between services. May 2nd, we will have our normal Zoom service with communion and testimony. We will keep you updated on the service plans following that Sunday. The Reopening Team already has an evaluation meeting on the calendar for Thursday, April 29th (and to discuss other reopening details). Additionally, the registration form will ask some questions to gauge interest for future opportunities. Specifically, if you register to participate in the drive-in form of service, we would love to know why. You may simply register for drive-in because you don’t have a strong preference and want to give others the opportunity to be outside. The outside seating may have been full, but you would prefer that in the future. You may be afraid of weather. You may feel like the car is the safest option for you and your family. All of those are great responses and information we will need to know as we plan how many services we might need moving forward. So please fill out the entirety of the registration form so we have this information moving forward!

              I hope you all can see the excitement, creativity, and hard-work that is going into creating some unique worship opportunities moving forward. This is in huge thanks to our wonderful reopening team and our believe team. They are working tirelessly for the good of our church and community, alongside the many other staff and volunteers who have continued to creatively plan for ministry during a pandemic. “I have seen the Lord” in the service, creativity, commitment, passion, love, and grace that has been poured out by so many in this season! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or if you are looking for a way to serve and support these efforts. As we always proclaim, “God is good!”

Pastor Ashley

Ashley.skinner91@gmail.com