News reports from the Pennsylvania Conference; Colombia; Portland, Oregon; Tracy, California; and the Washington Conference:
Since the state government has stated that churches can reopen, the Adventist denomination’s Pennsylvania Conference is encouraging its local churches to begin the process of safely resuming in-person worship services. Pastors have been given guidelines from the government, the Center for Disease Control, and from church organizations to guide their church boards in structuring a local plan that meets their members’ needs.
“The health and safety of our members is of utmost priority,” the conference leadership said. “Therefore, reopening procedures will utilize the best professional medical guidance to provide a safe environment for worship.”
APD | Hundreds of employees of the Adventist denomination in Colombia donated one to three days’ pay for families who are struggling to cover the basic needs of their families due to the pandemic crisis. A few days after the initial restrictions, the government appealed to ADRA Colombia in early April, asking for church members to help supply food to hundreds of low-income families. In a meeting with the 17 regional church leaders of the Adventist Church and ADRA Colombia, ADRA suggested appealing to church employees to donate one day of their salary. The idea was supported by all employees, said Jair Florez, director of ADRA Colombia. Some donated not just one day, but three days of their income.
Crosswalk Church, an innovative Adventist church plant, will soon open in Portland, Oregon. The group aims to grow a community of those who may be disconnected, seeking to grow and searching for a place of belonging. They aim to have their first pop-up service within two weeks of when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Paddy McCoy will be leading the new congregation and you can find more information in this video he has prepared.
To celebrate the graduates from their church, the Adventist congregation in Tracy, California, hosted two drive-by parades—one for their 8th-graders and one for secondary graduates from both the Adventist academy and public high schools. At each celebration, family, friends, and church members took 30 minutes to drive through the church parking lot and congratulate the graduates (who were all spaced at least six feet apart). Members decorated the parking lot, music played in the background, and an attendant placed cards or gifts for the graduates on the gift table. Many cars drove through the parking lot several times just to make sure everyone felt the love. There was waving, shouting, honking car horns, and wishing the grads well as members passed by. “We wish we could have done more, but we were glad to have been able to hopefully provide at least a bit of joy to the class of 2020,” said church pastor Tyler Kraft.
In the State of Washington on the U.S. west coast, the government is allowing religious congregations to have group activities again despite the continuing epidemic. Churches in Phase 1 counties may gather for drive-in or outdoor services with up to 100 people attending. This can be done multiple times in a day. Physical distancing needs to be practiced and masks are highly recommended, the denomination’s Washington Conference has told local leaders. Churches in Phase 2 counties may have indoor services with 25 percent capacity of the building or up to 50 people (whichever is less). This can be done multiple times a day. Physical distancing needs to be practiced and masks are highly recommended, especially for times of singing.