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Coronavirus Prevention Efforts

Coronavirus Prevention Efforts

*** Updated 5-20-20

The last two months have undoubtedly impacted everyone in our congregation in some manner. With so much uncertainty, it is times like these when we can see God at work. We believe that He is doing mighty things at LAC that will reshape us for years to come. While we know this has been a time of deep struggle for many, we have also heard so many stories about how our community is being strengthened in what could have been such a dark period for us as a congregation. We are mindful of Scripture’s call to consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds and not giving up meeting together (Heb. 10:24-25). In spite of these difficult circumstances, we believe that God is using this time to bring His church together in new ways. As leaders, we believe that God has been opening up all of our eyes in terms of what it means to be a community of believers gathered together. While we miss being physically together, we are grateful for God’s provision for our church as He is redefining the boundaries of Lake Avenue Church and ensuring that His good news will reach the ends of this world.

We know many are asking and wondering what is the plan for Lake Avenue Church. Please know that we are actively planning and preparing the campus for when we can return together. This includes developing plans for different-sized gatherings. At the same time, we also want to be diligent and patient to make sure the decisions we make are best for our community and for our witness to the world. This means that we anticipate a gradual return to campus in compliance with our city, county, and state requirements. We have identified major points, grounded in our biblical understanding, that we are using in conversations with our Ministry Council and other leaders to guide our decisions. We want to share these points with you today.

1. Public Health and Human Life.
We care deeply about human life. We believe that every person has infinite worth and is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Our commitment to human life has been expressed in our consistent positions that affirm the value of every human life both born and unborn as well as in the flourishing of human life on earth. This season is bringing new expressions of this commitment to life, and we are discerning how to honor it in all of the ways that God reveals truth to us. This, of course, means listening to God’s voice in prayer and the Scriptures, but it also means seeking input from those in our community whom God has blessed with scientific and medical knowledge and training. We have been in frequent and ongoing conversations with scientists, medical professionals, and government officials to understand best practices for large-group gatherings in the midst of a pandemic. While we are continuously learning more about COVID-19, we are not confident at this time that large-group gatherings involving the traditional elements of Christian worship (singing, prayer, etc.) are safe for individuals or the broader communities in which we live. We continue to monitor this concern daily and weekly as those in church leadership. We are in constant prayer and look forward to making alternative decisions in the future as circumstances shift.

2. Scripture and Government.
State and county orders continue to temporarily prohibit large-group gatherings, including in-person church gatherings. The New Testament repeatedly instructs us to submit ourselves to governing authorities unless they order us to do something that violates our Christian faith. Given that churches are not being singled out for temporary closure, our staff are permitted to gather in order to produce our worship services for live streaming, and our numerous smaller communities continue to gather online, we do not feel that our governing officials have asked us in any way to violate our faith in Jesus. To honor our commitment to obey governing authorities, we believe we should continue to abide by these state and county orders. See Matthew 22:21, Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:11-17, and Titus 3:1-2 for some of the biblical teaching about this.

3. Our Christian Witness.
Our mission at LAC is, “Following Jesus, we participate in God's reconciling work by making disciples of all peoples and generations (Matt. 28:18-20, Col. 1:19-20).” We exist to proclaim the Gospel to every person that God brings our way and to our lives. This is a critical time for us to be focused on this mission as we consider what it means to be LAC in this moment. To be sure, there are conversations, articles, and leaders speaking to the rights that believers have in our country. We are compelled to focus on our mission rather than on our rights as paramount. People who have historically wanted nothing to do with “the church” are looking at us right now; we want our decision-making process on physically opening our campus to be thoughtful and prayerful enough that even outsiders are compelled to consider the Jesus we follow. We hope our choice to move through a process of reopening at a thoughtful pace will be a reflection to the outside world of the thoughtfulness of our faith in Jesus. We pray that as we lead, we are faithful to use the hearts, souls, and minds that God has given us (Matt. 22:37).

4. Church Campus Experience.
We truly miss physically gathering together in person. We miss singing together, greeting each other, sharing coffee and donuts on our plaza, having our middle and high school students gather with each other, and seeing our kids running around on campus. At present, we are unable to offer an experience anything like this at our physical campus. We long for the day when that changes, but any experience we could offer at the moment would not feel very much like what we all miss. For all of these reasons, grounded in the best information we have now, our campus remains closed for the time being. We are diligently working to prepare for stages of reopening on our campus as well as continuing to provide our new experiences of being LAC.

As you have already read, we sense that God is building our church in this season in new and exciting ways. We see the Lord taking this broken reality to rebuild and restore us at LAC for His plans in the seasons ahead. Stay encouraged that in the midst of this unanticipated journey, God is in motion and continues to work out His plan for LAC.

Sincerely,

Jeff Mattesich, Acting Senior Pastor
Dan Crichton, Church Chair

***

 

 *** Updated 4.3.2020

In accordance with orders issued by the Governor of California and the City of Pasadena please be advised of the following:

  1. Our church campus is closed to the public for daily church business and regularly scheduled church ministries until further notice. However we will still be answering phones during normal church hours and essential staff may from time to time be on campus to do critical work that is not possible to complete at home.
  2. If you or anyone you know is in great need, please call us at 626.817.4568. We have people ready to help.
  3. Our Community Outreach department will continue working limited hours as they provide services in partnership with the city and other local organizations to serve the most vulnerable in our community, including our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

Please be in prayer for our leadership as they discern the best way to utilize our physical campus and resources in this moment. We want to steward what we have been blessed with as well as we can in this critical time. 

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*** Updated 3.13.2020

Important: The following measures are in place immediately through the end of March 2020.

In a consensus decision with other large churches in the region (including Christain Assembly, Fellowship Monrovia, La Canada Presbyterian and Reality LA), normal Sunday services and Sunday meetings, including adult classes, on the Lake Avenue Church Campus have been suspended with the following exceptions: 

  1. Our 9 am worship service will stream online as usual. This service will not be open for the congregation to attend in person.
  2. The Sunday Evening Community Meal will continue serving our neighbors as usual.

 We are requesting that all Lake Avenue Church meetings and events occurring on and off-campus during the week with attendance over 250 people be suspended per state recommendations.

Groups under 250 people may continue on a case by case basis with the following recommendations:

Meetings that are primarily composed of Senior Adults are urged not to gather.

If a group is to meet during this period, we are insisting that they follow these health and safety protocols:

  1. Stay home if you or a family member are sick.
  2. Wash hands before and after the meeting. We would encourage doing this during the meeting as well if children are taking part.
  3. Observe no-touch greetings and maintain 6 feet of space between participants.
  4. Please abstain from serving food. If snacks are necessary, serve only individually wrapped items. 
  5. If anyone comes to the event sick politely insist that they leave.
  6. Consider if there are other ways your group could gather and interact via technology.

***

Updated 3.5.2020

The Novel Coronavirus has quickly grown into global proportions. It is important to know some specifics about this disease and more importantly how to most effectively protect against infections among our Church Family, guests, and community. 

First, “coronavirus” defines a large family of viruses. Many of them infect only animals, but in some cases, they can mutate or evolve to infect humans and then be spread person to person. That is the case with this current strain, which is called Novel Coronavirus, also known as “coronavirus disease 2019” – abbreviated COVID-19.

The effects of coronaviruses in humans normally cause mild to moderate illness, like the common cold. Some, however, like the SARS or MERS viruses can cause serious infections like pneumonia.

With COVID-19, more than 80 percent of cases so far have had mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. The most current information indicates symptoms consistent with a respiratory illness, such as cough, fever, and, in some cases shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.  Those more seriously affected often include elderly frail people and those with impaired immune systems.  With more severe symptoms one should see a health care professional immediately.

This virus is spread from person to person when someone infected sneezes or coughs, producing tiny droplets that carry the virus. It can also be transmitted by close personal contact, such as caring for an infected person.  Touching an object or surface with viruses on it and then touching nose, mouth or eyes most commonly spreads the virus.

HOW TO HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF ANY COMMUNICABLE DISEASE

While there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following to prevent the spread of this and other respiratory diseases:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then discard tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well to wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID – 19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID – 19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

At Lake Avenue Church we have had recommended preventions in place for several years.  They include hand sanitizer dispensers in the Worship Center Lobby and all around campus.  Restrooms are equipped with touch-free soap and paper towel dispensers.   Our custodial crew cleans all restroom surfaces and public areas with a germicidal cleaner that kills viruses each day.

Still, we must be vigilant to keep our Church Family and community healthy.  There is another important way that we can care for one another and that is to remember that just like any other virus or flu, the danger and risk is in the virus – not the person – or specific group of people from specific parts of the world.

LINKS TO SOURCES OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ARE:

  • California Department of Public Health (CDPH, State)

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/nCOV2019.aspx