As fall is approaching, City Church is excited to offer an additional Sunday service and some new opportunities in our community.
Since the middle of March, City Church stopped meeting together with in-person services and went entirely to providing services on our online church platform. Due to restrictions in using the Performing Arts Center and Charlottesville High School, City Church online Sunday Services, Prayer and Worship Evenings, and Sunday Vigils are at City Church Central on Rio Road.
Charlottesville moved into Phase 1 on May 15th, 2020, and Phase 2 of re-opening on June 5th, 2020, with Gov. Ralph Northam’s Forward Virginia plan. The first and second phases included the easing of restrictions on businesses and religious bodies. Phase 3 reduces additional restrictions when it will go into effect. Thus, we want to publicly discuss the gradual, responsible, and safety-conscious re-opening of our worship services. In addition to following the government and CDC guidelines, the City Church Pastoral Team is receiving information from local health professionals, and the Task Force is reviewing general best practices for “Re-Opening the Church” in this season.
City Church will use the terminology of “City Church Phases” going forward for our guidelines for opening the church. The Gov. and the state will use the term “Phases.” City Church has individually decided to use a different timeline as we believe that having a conservative re-opening approach is wise for our church and community. Our schedule differs from the state timeline due to some limitations that exist at City Church Central. City Church will follow all the guidelines provided by the state of VA and the CDC. Our summary and City Church Phases are below.
City Church Pastoral Leadership, The City Church Board, and the Re-Opening Task Force are committed to seeking the Lord for His direction as we move forward. As there will be guidelines as we move into the City Church Phases, we have these guidelines in place as we love our neighbors. These guidelines are not in place out of fear, but rather as a way to respect and care for those around us as we “Follow Jesus and Serve Others” in our community.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
In addition to seeking God’s wisdom, we will look at holding services through the lens of these three key elements:
The situation is fluid and dynamic, so we know we will have to adjust these three measures as we continue forward and monitor how things are going as we move into the different City Church Phases. Our prayer is that we remain in unity together.
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” 1 Corinthians 1:10
City Church is committed to continually providing services online as we enter this new hybrid worship service season within our church. This hybrid season begins as everyone is attending online services. Over time, we will move towards in-person services, and our online services will level to a new norm of attendance in the future.
Although we desire to worship in service together, we are committed to holding services safely and responsibly. We wish we knew all the answers and dates, but the City Church Phases will help set expectations for what will be coming in the future. Deciding how to move forward responsibly is complicated, but we will continually seek the Lord.
“Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom. Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding. “Proverbs 4:5-7
We will employ the following best practices to serve our church, our community, those who serve, and our staff.
Medical professionals: We continue to interact with local medical professionals and review the best health practices to further the City Church guidelines (listed below) that we will adhere to and embrace as we return to worshiping together.
General Guidance: Each person has a responsibility to look out for the welfare of others. From the CDC – symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
City Church will continue to follow the health guidelines in place by government authorities. Social guidelines for those attending City Church services at City Church Central will be the following:
We expect to offer several worship services as we begin. We will provide pre-registration for in-person worship services with a limit to attendees. These limits meet the Governor’s guidelines and our capacity to meet the social distancing measures in place.
Life Groups, Events and Ministry Training at City Church Central:
Due to the unique space challenges, life groups, events, and ministry training will be limited only due to the restricted areas to meet.
Our staff continues to pray for our country, those serving in the medical community, our local and national leaders and each of our families during this crisis.
Here are a few updates to stay connected as we “Love our Neighbor” as we continue social distancing.
Join our online Evening Prayer time tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18th at 7 PM. Spend a half-hour praying together, sharing requests and connecting with God.
At City Church, we believe that Jesus taught that relationships are the most important thing in life. In this season where authorities recommend social isolation and quarantines, technology gives us the opportunity to remain relationally driven while loving our neighbors through abundant precautions.
When you join a Facebook Group, it is as if you are entering the living room for a conversation. We want to provide you with every opportunity to remain relationally driven, so we have created a City Church Facebook Groupfor this purpose. We encourage you to join our Group and engage as you feel led.
Post an encouraging scripture, local updates, service opportunities, needs you may have, or anything else that is on your heart! As always, let’s intentionally “Love our Neighbors” and be quick to hear and give grace! Our prayer is that this group will be a blessing to you as we obey scripture’s wisdom of “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” while walking in wisdom and caution in this season.
“HOME” Card – Be on the lookout for a card we are mailing to your home.
Radically Loving and Practically Serving
1 – Pray for your neighbors, all of them, by name if you can, by a street number if you don’t know them at this time.
2 – Check-in on your neighbors via Facebook, phone or a letter to let them know you are thinking of them.
3 – If you are willing and able, offer to get groceries and other essentials for older neighbors.
4 – If you know of a neighbor in need, please text the Pastoral Helpline at (434) 260-1053.
Pastor Chris would love to see the card or picture your child(ren) are making for a friend or neighbor. He’d love to see a video of them reciting their memory verse (John 16:33b) or washing your hands while saying the Lord’s Prayer. Take a picture or video and send it to Pastor Chris. Make sure to include your name!
Communion – This Sunday we will take communion together during our online service. Even though we are not together in one place, we can remember what Jesus did for us on the cross as we worship together in our own homes. We wanted to let you know so you can be ready with some type of bread and juice (liquid) so that you can take part in this time during the service.
The City Church Leadership Team
With much prayer and consideration from the recommendations of those in authority, medical professionals from our church, and the leadership team at City Church, we have decided to cancel all services and church events through Saturday, March 28th. We believe this is a way we can help mitigate health risks and support our local medical facilities.
For the next two Sundays, you can join us for an online worship service at 10:30 AM. This service will include worship, announcements, and a sermon.
As we prepare for the possible long-term implications, we will continue to send updates about services and events through City Church’s Facebook account, website, and email. Our offices will remain open, and our staff is available to support you.
If you have a prayer request or a need during this time, we have set up a City Church Help Line that you can utilize to let our team know your needs. Text us at 434-260-1053, and we will respond as promptly as we can.
As well, during this upcoming time of uncertainty, many of our families will face additional difficulties: homes financially affected by layoffs/hourly work, single-parent households, the elderly, those with compromised immunities, etc. If you find yourself or know someone in this category, please text the City Church Help Line at 434-260-1053.
We are aware of an immediate need for volunteers and food donations on Monday, March 16th. This effort is to provide brown bag lunches to children who receive breakfast and lunch while the schools are not meeting from Charlottesville City Schools.
They are requesting community members to donate items, help prepare bags for distribution, and assist with delivery.
Bags of oranges and apples, grapes, granola bars (nut-free), bottled water, chips, baby carrots, raisins, goldfish, cheese sticks, small sandwich bags, and brown lunch bags.
Please bring donations to City Church Central on Saturday, March 14th, from 10 AM to 2 PM and Sunday, March 15th from, Noon to 2 PM.
Brown Bag Prep Volunteers can volunteer on Monday at PB&J (204 East Market Street), starting at 9:30 AM.
Delivery Driver Volunteers can arrive at PB&J at 11:30 AM.
Distribution Volunteers can arrive at the preferred site at 11:30 AM.
If you have questions, please contact CHS Supervisor of Equity and Inclusion Denise Johnson.
To support this effort, our church family, and the community at large, please consider giving online, through the Church APP or mail your donation to the church office as we will not be meeting in person.
If you are willing and able to help as various needs in our church and community come to our attention, please contact Amy in our office.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with the hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans15:13
While this is a fluid situation, God is in control. He has empowered us through the Holy Spirit so that each of us, as the church, can reflect the light of Christ in this present crisis. Let us continue to pray confidently to our Good Father, believe firmly in His Word through scripture, love our church deeply, and support our community that needs hope and peace.
1 – For the weaker among us to be protected from the Coronavirus by God’s strength and for those among us who are stronger to love those most vulnerable as we alter our daily routines for their health.
2 – That those who follow Jesus to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that we have.
3 – For our church and other local churches to be a light in our community.
4 – For college students returning from trips, spring break, and their transition to virtual students.
5 – For our elected leaders to make wise decisions and for wisdom and faith to lead competently and confidently.
The City Church Leadership Team