11/17/2020 Update from Rick
As we all know, we’re in a massive new wave of COVID-19 infections. In response, our Governor has issued new mandates to contain the spread and some of those affect Churches so we wanted you at AC3 to know how that affects us.
Most restrictions on public gatherings were already being done at AC3, but there are two new restrictions that do affect us:
- “that no choir, band, or ensemble perform during the service. Singers may have a single accompanist.
- Also, that congregation singing is now prohibited.” 11/15/2020 Covid-19 Guidance, 12. Religious Organizations.
The board staff and elders have discussed this at length this week, and we’ve decided the two new restrictions fall into two categories. One affects the FORM of our worship. The second affects the FUNCTION of our worship. Therefore:
- For the next few weeks, we’ll scale back band size to a worship leader and an accompanist as advised. We hope this shows our respect for the seriousness of the current viral spread and respect for our civil leaders who have come up with these rules to advance the public good.
- Some of you might be upset that we change anything in response to a public mandate, but remember this: We are a church that has adjusted the FORM of our practices in many ways – whether that’s the forms of our outreach, our community, or our worship.
- So adjusting the form of worship to comply with mandates is not a tacit denial of our faith or gospel imperatives.
HOWEVER, we’ve decided to not issue or enforce any ban on singing in any place AC3ers gather, large meetings, or small groups. We feel this is overreach. In attempting to prohibit singing in our gatherings, the gov’t interferes with the FUNCTION of Christian worship, not the FORM. The mandate implies that worship by “professionals” fulfills the worship function of the Church. But the gov’t has no authority to redefine our functions – even temporarily or with unimpeachable motives. We have a higher mandate:
Hebrews 13:15-16 Therefore, through [Jesus] let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name. 🎶
Colossians 3:16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
As you know, we have worked hard to do what we can to address the spread of COVID in public gatherings. Limiting our capacity, wearing masks. And whether these efforts are the direct cause or not, there has been no outbreak in our midst. So, we’re continuing with these precautions and we see no need to add to them.
Some of you may feel this is unnecessarily adversarial. We bent before we can bend some more. We can worship in our hearts, you say. Just as many of you perhaps, have said the limits on gathering doesn’t mean we aren’t gathered – just gathered in a different way. We understand, some believers will draw their line differently, thinking our gospel mandates can be suspended or altered for the public welfare.
But this is where your church has chosen to stand. We are called to worship. Christian worship is more than singing, yes, but it is certainly not less. Therefore, we say again, we will not enforce a “no singing” ban at this time or any time.
If you wish to not sing behind your mask, to protect your neighbor, please feel free to refrain. If you think your neighbor singing behind their mask threatens your health, then we welcome you to watch the Livestream. But singing will be allowed in the place we gather for worship; As long as there is breath in our lungs. For the glory of God, and the honor of Jesus. 🎶