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Services are now at: 12703 W 14th Avenue, Airway Heights, WA 99001 at 8:30am and 10:30am

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The Heights

Important Service Changes and Urgent Prayer Requests

Date: Nov 19, 2020
Categories: Blog, Community Event
Comments: 3 Comments

This has been a very long week. I have spent a great deal of time praying and consulting with our leadership team, other area pastors, and our denominational leaders in an effort to determine how to best navigate the latest COVID-19 restrictions here in Washington State.  

I would like to ask you to read the entire email because there is a lot of information (and a few opinions) along with our plan for at least the next four weeks.

Before I dive into all of that, I have some extremely important and urgent prayer requests that require immediate attention:

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray for the Oleary family and their daughter, Abbi. Dan, Stacy, and their children have been part of our church for years. Their daughter Abbi has participated in a variety of programs at our church, including Generations. Abbi has also served as a volunteer on our Hunters mission trips and in our children’s ministry. Abbi is currently in critical care at Sacred Heart with no brain activity. Originally, her doctors thought she had experienced an allergic reaction but now they have reason to believe her condition may have been triggered by COVID-19. Abbi needs us all praying and believing in a miracle. Please lift Abbi and the entire Oleary family in prayer.
  • Please pray for Dennis and Jeannine Dryden. Dennis Dryden was volunteering at The Hub when he fell from a ladder, injuring himself significantly. Dennis spent 3 days in the hospital receiving treatment for a broken clavicle, 6 broken ribs, and a collapsed lung. Praise the Lord, the damage was not more severe. Dennis is now home and healing but he has at least 4-6 weeks of recovery ahead of him. To make matters worse, Jeannine hurt her back significantly the week prior to Dennis’ injury and is also in recovery. Until Dennis’ injury, he was focused on caring for her and taking care of all of their cooking and household chores. Their collective injuries have left them in a difficult spot. Dennis and Jeannine have volunteered hundreds of hours for The Heights this year alone and now they need our support! Please pray for Dennis and Jeannine and their complete recovery and please help them however you can.

    During this time, Dennis and Jeannine are going to need some help around the house and also some help with meals. A Meal Train has already been set up for them. If you can help with a meal click here to sign-up. If you can help with chores or would just like to send an encouraging word, please feel free to reach out to Jeannine at  jeannine@heightschurch.tv 

As a church and a church family, we must take careful precautions to protect ourselves, our families, and our community from the spread of COVID-19. COVID is very real and very serious. Each and every life is important, and if there is a chance that my actions may save a life I will absolutely do everything I can to protect that life, even if it means preaching in a mask. I fear though that it isn’t just the lives of those infected with COVID-19 that are at risk. The extreme damage that lockdowns are having on our community, our churches, our businesses, our families, and our neighbors is widespread and in some areas irreversible. According to the Wall Street Journal, over 100 million people are now in extreme poverty across the globe directly related to COVID-19 shutdowns. In our local community, there are people suffering in numerous ways. For some, their struggles may be financial in nature, others are struggling emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and in many other ways. Our community needs Jesus now more than ever and we can’t take our foot off the gas.

I say all of this because people matter.  Relationships matter.  I could go line by line through scripture and explain to you why relationships matter.  We need to take safety procedures seriously, but we also need to take into consideration the mental, emotional and spiritual needs of those around us. Smartphones, social media, and entertainment will never replace real in-person relationships. They will never call you when you are standing on the edge of no return.  They will never sit with you when a loved one is suffering.  They will never check in on you.  Going into the holidays we have to get serious about reaching out and loving our neighbor like never before. 

So what are we going to do as a church moving forward? How do we navigate this complex scenario and be a light for our church and our community within the restrictions that have been placed on us? How do we keep people safe from the virus but still be present for those in need? These are not easy questions. I have spent countless hours pondering the answer to these questions over the past few months and they have consumed most of my waking thoughts this week. After careful consideration and consultation, we’re going to take the following steps to ensure that we can continue to meet in-person and do it as safely and responsibly as possible:

Service Changes:
For the next four weeks:

  • All in-person church attendees will be required to wear masks at all times.
  • In-person services will continue to be limited to 25% capacity with social distancing enforced and attendees are encouraged to sit with members of their household.
  • We will be taking the temperature of all children prior to entry into kid’s ministry. Children with a temperature of 100.4 or greater will not be allowed admittance.
  • Worship will feature a new modified experience designed to comply with the updated restrictions detailed at the end of this email.

It is important to note that we will still have both online and drive-in service experiences for those who are not comfortable attending service in-person for any reason.

According to the new state guidance, life groups are considered to be spiritual rather than social. This designation will allow life groups to continue meeting in-person at 25% capacity if desired. If your group needs a larger location space, the Boathouse can be made available. Please reach out to discuss scheduling. 

I believe that carefully following these steps will allow us to comply with the Governor’s orders which is important. It will also allow us to continue our ministry which is even more important. Please know that these decisions have not been made lightly.  We have arrived at this plan through prayerful consideration.

Our vision has always been to transform Airway Heights and the West Plains both physically and spiritually. We are deeply involved in our community and we love the people in it. We believe this is not a time to sit back, but a time to engage and find our hope in Jesus. It is a time to do everything we can to support and love our neighbors and our church members. Meeting together is an essential part of our faith. We will continue to create a welcoming environment where people can hear the hope of Jesus.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention again, if you are not feeling well, or have potentially been exposed to someone who has or could have COVID-19, please do not attend in-person services. If you are in a vulnerable category, please do not feel compelled to attend services. Caring for our neighbors starts with us. We need to make wise and responsible choices and ensure that our church and our community are protected.

With love in Christ,

Pastor Jacob 

 

Below I have included the updated advisory from the Governor we have based these adjustments on:

 

  1. Indoor Social Gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited…

 

  1. Religious Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. Congregation members/attendees must wear facial coverings at all times and congregation singing is prohibited. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service. Vocal or instrumental soloists are permitted to perform, and vocal soloists may have a single accompanist. Outdoor services must follow the Outdoor Dining Guidance, applicable to the structure or facility. 
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3 Responses to Important Service Changes and Urgent Prayer Requests

  1. karen m hart says:

    can u sing outside and play outside. /did you kinow in china no one dies from covid. Because they drink hot tea all day and steam kill the virus. they use no drugs.Tell people to drink lots of hot drinks and use steam. i have done my research

  2. Kurian Philip says:

    Dear prayer warriors,please pray for psrmanent healing from severe pain in chest,stomach and hip.God bless you abundantly,
    Kurian Philip

  3. Dennis Dryden says:

    God has blessed us so much since we have met you and this unbelievable church family. Thank you all during this time of need. We love and miss you all during this uncertain time. I hope to heal quickly and get back to helping in whatever capacity I can. Love in Christ, Dennis and Jeannine.

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