Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Dear Church Family,

We pray that you are well. This season has been a challenging one on many fronts, but we are grateful for what God has done and are hopeful for what He is going to do. We have continued to see our vision move forward in profound ways over the last three months. We have seen people come to faith in Christ; new people get connected into a spiritual family; and we have been able to make a significant difference in our community because of your generosity. We’ve been able to provide meals for those currently experiencing homelessness, groceries for families struggling financially and meals for healthcare and frontline heroes.

Recently, Montgomery County entered into Phase Two of their Re-Opening plan, and we want to provide an update for what that means for our church, as well as share with you the factors we are examining as we determine the best time for us to regather for worship services.

We long to see you again in-person for worship. We miss our church family, but are grateful for how technology has kept us connected even while we are physically distancing. With that said, below are the following factors that we are considering as we pray and process our regathering plan.

Health and Safety of Our Church
Caring for the health and well-being of our church is a priority to us. Our love for God, and for people is the reason behind this. The Washington DC area was recently identified as having one of the higher COVID-19 infection rates in the country. Additionally, our local government and healthcare leaders currently recommend that people avoid large crowds in indoor settings.

Our weekend experiences also require a significant number of Dream Team members to serve in close proximity and in hands-on roles. It is important for us to create a safe and comfortable experience for those serving in our church.

Lastly, our meeting location, the Bethesda Row Cinema, has not reopened or set a reopen date. Our plan is to regather back at our location on Bethesda Row; therefore, we are waiting for their guidance as well when it comes to regathering.

Quality of our Worship Experience
The quality of our worship experience, at this point, with social distancing measures and health and safety measures would be greatly impacted. For example, if our church family is greatly dispersed throughout the sanctuary with strict social distancing, wearing masks, discouraged from singing, ushered in and out in a contactless way and with no children’s ministry available, the quality of our worship experience would be greatly impacted.

Inclusion and Reach of More People
We desire to create a worship experience that is inclusive to all generations. Resuming onsite, weekend services too soon will likely exclude portions of our church, including older people, others who may be at higher risk, children, and many who are simply not comfortable gathering at this time. By remaining online for the immediate future, we can come back together in a more inclusive way, and better serve more people.

After a prayerful review of Montgomery County Phase Two’s guidelines for churches, we believe that it is most prudent to remain with our online-only services, and resume in-person worship experiences at a later time.

We encourage you to remain connected this summer. Worship with us during our Catalyst at Home services each Sunday at 10:00 am on YouTube or Facebook. Stay connected spiritually by joining a Community Group. We have groups meeting online, as well as in-person outdoors. Continue to be generous so that we can continue to make a difference in our community together. Lastly, make a difference in our community by joining our Outreach Team. You will be notified of opportunities to make a difference in our community as they come up!

We love you so much church, and we are praying for you! We look forward to “seeing” you online this Sunday for Catalyst at Home!

Pastors Jeremy and Kristina Burroughs