updated May 30, 2021
As the pandemic wanes and more of our people vaccinated, the church will take steps to move forward in steps. We will continue to offer worship in-person and online for the foreseeable future. But at this time, we are transitioning to a more open campus.
CHURCH IS NOT BOUND
Over the course of this past year, Living Hope has looked carefully at the CDC and CDPH mandates & recommendations. By and large, we have followed and at times even exceeded their recommendations. We believe the church is no longer bound by any legal restrictions, but needs to be guided by our convictions on how we can best safely move our church forward spiritually.
CONTEXT HAS CHANGED
Though Covid is present, the prevalence of the virus in our community has changed dramatically. Case in point, both Orange and Los Angeles Counties are in the yellow tier and local hospitals are seeing very few Covid patients. In terms of vaccination, our survey has indicated that 91.2% of Living Hope’s adults have been fully vaccinated (or will be shortly) which is far greater than the community. Many of our youth have begun receiving their vaccinations as well. This shows that our church family has essentially achieved “herd immunity”. This means that interactions among adults within the Living Hope campus are as safe as they can be, both for the vaccinated and even the unvaccinated. We have created enough “dead ends” for the virus, for it not to spread from adult to adult within our campus.
CONVICTIONS & COMFORT LEVELS VARY
However, there are varying degrees of conviction and comfort levels within our church. Though many are convinced we should fully open, more are cautious and would like to see us keep protocols as is. 85.3% would be okay with making masks optional if done well. The biggest concern from the most cautious is with unvaccinated children interfacing with unmasked and/or unvaccinated adults.
OUR PATH FORWARD
As of June 6
CELL GROUPS -
We will encourage all cell groups to meet in-person at least once during the month. We believe this is where we can leverage the greatest connections. Mask practices will be decided within each cell group.
PROTOCOL CHANGES -
- We will no longer require registration (e.g. Eventbrite) or sign-in to worship on Sundays or mid-week. The kids' ministry will bring back the Breeze Check-In Program.
- We will no longer require a temperature check upon entrance. We will simply ask those who have a fever or other Covid-related symptoms to stay home.
- We will allow singing indoors (masked).
- We will allow hot beverages and food on campus.
As of June 13,
MASKS OPTIONAL -
Masks will be optional for fully vaccinated adults
- in the West Patio (current main outdoor worship space) and all outdoor parking areas.
- in defined spaces (e.g. teaching room, living room, etc.) with vaccinated adults and no kids.
MASKS REQUIRED -
Due to the fact that we share much of our indoor space with unvaccinated children, we will continue to make masks mandatory for now in our indoor spaces and East Patio where most of our youth and children ministries take place. Staff and volunteers will wear masks when ministering to children and youth.
PATIO OUTDOOR SERVICE
Our adult worship services are held in our Outdoor West Patio. This space is about 7,000 sq/feet (By way of comparison, an NBA basketball court is 4,700 sq/ft) and can accommodate 150-200 people social distanced depending on seating configuration. The Patio has been upgraded with a portable stage, modest sound system, and large video wall to enhance our worship.
SANCTUARY INDOOR VIDEO VENUE
For those who desire to be in a climate-controlled space, our Indoor Sanctuary is open for you to participate in the worship occurring in the Patio.
YOUTH EAST PATIO OUTDOOR SERVICE
The youth students (6th-12th grade) worship in the Outdoor East Patio. This space is also about 7,000 sq/ft. We set up chairs all in singles to encourage social distancing among students. We have set up a portable stage, modest sound system, and large TV. The students appreciate having their own space for worship. Immediately east of the East Patio is the East Parking area that we have enclosed with fencing and equipped with tents, tables and chairs. This allows for some safe socially distanced fellowship. Youth worship occurs on Sundays at 11:30 am.
KIDS EAST PATIO OUTDOOR SERVICE
Kindergarten to 5th-grade children are invited to our 9:30 am Outdoor In-Person Service at our East Patio. We will provide In-Person Small Groups (right after the sermon) as well as Online Zoom Small Groups at 10:30 AM (Kindergarten Online Zoom will be right after praise as usual).
For those joining us outdoors, make sure to wear a face mask upon arrival. Parents are asked to pick up their children at 10:30 am.
LITTLE KIDS (0-5 YEAR-OLDS)
We are now offering an in-person worship service for little kids (3 years old-preschool) at 9:30AM and continuing with live streaming for those younger and/or joining us from home. Parents are also welcome to bring their little kids to sit with them outdoor or indoor for service during the adult services. For those who have children 0-2 years old, the Cry Room is also now open. Fore more details, click here.
We offer all of the services online as well.
- Adult services at 9:30 & 11:30
- Catapult youth at 11:30
- Kids (K-5th grade) at 9:30
- Little Kids (0-preschool) at 9:30
Take a look at our Living Hope ONLINE page for the links.
View previous services on our Living Hope Community Church YouTube Page.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When will the church open?
It is a misnomer to think that Living Hope is not open. Living Hope has been worshipping in person without stop since September of 2020. This has been the case for adults, youth, and kids alike. Little kids (0-5) are welcome to attend though we have not offered formal programs.
When will the church begin programs for 0 to 5-year-olds?
We began formal worship for 3 to 5-year-olds on May 16, 2021. We will also open a cry room (behind the sanctuary) for 0 to 2-year-olds starting June 6 so that parents with babies can worship alongside a few other families. The reason we are opting for this option, as opposed to full programs for 0 to 2-year-olds, is: 1) Most parents of infants have indicated that they would not feel comfortable entrusting their infants to others at the moment, 2) We would rather staff the 3 to 5-year-old program if we can recruit more volunteers.
Can vaccinated people still wear masks?
Yes. We understand that some vaccinated people would still prefer to wear masks.
What is the vaccination rate at Living Hope?
A survey taken at Living Hope on May 14-21 of 299 members & attendees revealed that 91.2% of adult respondents are fully vaccinated or will be within weeks. This is far higher than the county or state as a whole.
Can we mandate staff and volunteers to be vaccinated?
Our legal counsel and insurance representative have advised that mandating vaccines for staff and volunteers can become problematic. We have been advised that we should strongly encourage it but understand that certain staff and volunteers may have medical or conscience reasons why they may choose to delay or forgo vaccination.
Can we ask for proof of vaccination for attendees?
We do not believe this is prudent or practical for various reasons. Restaurants, retail stores, concerts, and other places that welcome the public do not require proof of vaccine.
Can we move our worship fully indoor to the sanctuary?
For the present, adult worship will continue in the outdoor West Patio. There are several reasons for this including giving vaccinated adults an option to worship without mask outdoor or be in the sanctuary indoor with masks. We will also begin renovation in the East Patio at the end of June. At that time, we may need to relocate the kids & youth worship into the indoor sanctuary. At that time, the sanctuary will not be available for adult worship.
Should I be worried about unvaccinated children being around people who are unmasked?
Research has shown that the chances of children catching the virus and becoming sick from it is extremely low. This is especially true in a setting like Living Hope where the vast majority of adults are vaccinated. Nevertheless, we will continue to make masks mandatory in our indoor spaces and East Patio where most of our youth and children ministries take place, as an abundance of caution.
Isn’t there a chance that there will be a few people who are not vaccinated but still choose not to wear a mask?
We are a church and we are going to ask that the church family act in integrity regardless of their personal preferences.
Would fully vaccinated youths be required to wear masks?
At this time, most of our youth students are not fully vaccinated, and thus, we will ask all youth students to be masked. This will change in the future as more students are vaccinated pending FDA approval of vaccines for children.
Will things change in the future?
Yes. With the guidance of the CDC and California Department of Public Health, the elders may decide to loosen further. If there is a spike, we may re-institute safety measures (e.g. masks, in-person meetings, etc.) if we feel as if that was warranted at that time.
Will there be opportunities to ask questions?
Living Hope will have an all-church town hall meeting on June 5 (Saturday) 9:00 - 10:00 am. We will not only present the changes in policy but have updates on staffing, renovation and give an opportunity to ask questions. You can also ask questions by emailing us at email@example.com.