Dear True Life Family,
This is hopefully the final communication the elders will be sending our church body regarding Covid, although that is certainly subject to change depending on what happens with Covid in the future. For now, we are very thankful that for the last few weeks there have been around a dozen to two dozen active cases combined on any given day in Hamblen and Jefferson counties, which is down from a peak of over 1500 in January. This is not to diminish the fact that it is still a potentially serious illness for some people, but we should celebrate the positive progress. We also want to thank you for following our leadership and staying united through this ordeal that has produced so many opportunities for differing opinions. Ultimately, we thank the Lord for how He has blessed True Life during this season. We do want to give you some updated information on how we are going to proceed going forward regarding Covid. These are subject to change if it worsens again, but this will be our plan for the foreseeable future:
1. We are going to keep the current service times of 9 and 10:45 instead of going back to starting the second service at 10:30 like we did pre-Covid.
2. You are encouraged to wear a mask if that makes you feel more comfortable, but we have stopped requiring or encouraging it for our leaders.
3. We have told Jessica that she can start booking events in the church building again so if you desire to use it for something you can contact her at the church office (865-471-5530).
4. We are not re-opening the coffee bar right now, although that is more for practical reasons than Covid reasons.
5. We are keeping the same polices in regard to people having symptoms that could possibly be indicative of having Covid. Let me share those again as a reminder and to help us all be on the same page.
Please err on the side of caution if you have any possible Covid symptoms and don’t come. This is vital. If you are supposed to be serving, contact your ministry team leader or appropriate staff person.
Here is our policy regarding exposure. It follows the CDC guidelines, but it has actually been our policy for months based on local advice. If you are exposed (close contact within approximately 6 feet for 10-15 minutes or more) with someone who has Covid, the guidelines are to quarantine for 10 days (assuming you don’t develop symptoms) or 7 days if you have a negative PCR test (we don’t recognize rapid test results) after waiting the 5 day incubation period. The exceptions to this would be if you are fully vaccinated or within 90 days of having had Covid. Of course, we can’t enforce what you do with this in your personal life, but we certainly recommend following the guidelines in general and are saying don’t come to church or small group if you have had this type of exposure. Also, realize there may be situations that don’t exactly fit this but the wise and caring thing to do would be to err on the side of caution.
6. We will be keeping some of the changes that have been made in the children’s ministry in place because LeAnn thinks they are wise and helpful (examples would include how we are serving snacks and cleaning and sanitizing between services). We will be discontinuing some changes such as taking the temperatures of those working with children.
7. We do still realize that people have both different convictions and different circumstances so we are not going to push you to attend in person if it violates your convictions or is not safe for you given your health or family situation. We would, however, encourage you to make this a matter of prayer and carefully evaluate your reasons before the Lord since Scripture does command us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). However, if you believe God is telling you that you should not be here in person and you are being consistent with that across the board in your life, we will honor that.