ReLaunch Committee Decision
Chapel Hill will continue to meet online only until further notice. There will be no in-person worship.
The difficult decision to postpone in-person worship was made by the ReLaunch Committee* formed several months ago to guide the process of opening the building for in-person worship.
“I know people want to meet,” said Barb Barrett, Chair of the ReLaunch Committee. And we hated to disappoint anyone. As we talked though, we had to be honest about the current situation. John Wesley said “Do No Harm,” and Jesus says “Love Your Neighbor” and with the number of cases of COVID rising so dramatically it’s not the right time.”
Many of the Committee members are connected to the medical field and are particulary focused on safety for the congregation and the community. Dr. Jim Barrett, our medical consultant, married to Barb Barrett, is the Thunder basketball team’s doctor. He was voted “National Basketball Association’s Team Doctor of the Year” by the Athletic Trainers in part as recognition for his work with Covid.
“He has a lot of direct knowledge in this area and shares it with us,” said Barb. “His clinic is doing testing for Covid and he works with patients hospitalized with the disease. Right now there are still beds in Oklahoma, but the number of cases is increasing at a dramatic rate.”
Rich Rudebock, a member of the committee and Chair of the Church Council, agreed that the medical component was important. “Our meeting on Monday was one of those spike days and through our committee representatives we have first hand reports of what’s happening in the health community. How could we possibly reopen the way things are? It just doesn’t seem responsible.”
Rudebock noted that the situation has so many layers that are more understandable when you think through the “If/Thens.” “If even one person out of the 40 that might be in worship gets sick, then everyone has been exposed and we’d hope self-quarantine. The situation can get complicated quickly.”
Technology is not a perfect answer, but it provides a way for the congregation to gather faithfully, even if it is digitally. Online worship, zoom Sunday school groups and small groups has kept Chapel Hill connected through a difficult time. “One good thing is we’re finding ways to worship in different ways and find new meaning” Rudebock said. “And that is only going to help us as we move into the future.”
Barb Barrett said the Committee will provide an update in early August. “We are not going to guess an opening date right now. We have to see cases come down to a manageable level.”
*The ReLaunch Committee is led by Chair, Barb Barrett. Representatives were selected from several standing committees and include: Rich Rudebock, Chair of the Church Council, Julie Raney, one of our Annual Conference Delegates and a member of the SPRC, John Hinman, Chair of the Trustees, Pam Lane, Chair of Finance, and Dick Wegener, Lay Leader. Staff Representatives include Rev. Mark Jardine, Shari Detwiler, and Alan Murphy-Crouso. Dr. Jim Barrett serves as medical consultant.