If Paul expected the strong-conscienced Roman Christians to set aside meat out of love for their weak-conscienced brothers and sisters, surely we can ask our strong-bodied members to adopt a few temporary habits out of love for their weak-bodied brothers and sisters (Romans 14:1-15:7). The fact of the matter is, Grace Fellowship Church won’t truly be Grace Fellowship Church if none of our older and more vulnerable members are able to attend.
It has been a blessing to hear from friends and family across America whose churches are beginning to meet again after the period of forced separation. It has been fascinating (though a little strange) to see photographs of the spaced-out seating, the masks, the deliberate distancing, the omnipresent bottles of hand sanitizer. While I expect it will be some time before we gain the privilege in Ontario, I look forward to the day when we, too, can once again worship together as a congregation.
Confident that the day will eventually come, the elders of Grace Fellowship Church have begun to draw up plans. Because we don’t know what the specific criteria will be (e.g. no more than 50 people, no more than one-third capacity, etc) we have put together various contingencies. We weren’t far into the planning when we realized the temptation to make plans that were premised upon youth and health—plans that did not account for those who are at the highest risk for COVID-19. We could default to messaging like, “If you are elderly or high-risk, please stay home for the time being.” And while that might be the safe play, isn’t church meant to be the place that deliberately and specifically welcomes the weak?