COVID-19 Updates (5/28/20)

Valley Harvest has Reopened!!

It brings us great joy to announce that we have begun holding worship services on our campus since Sunday, May 24th! Since we met on Sunday, we have received some guidance from the CDC and CDPH to help us maintain a safe environment for worship:

Health & Safety Must be Our Priority

While this news is exciting, it does come with some important reminders about health and safety. Due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19and guidelines we have received, here are some things you can expect to find when you arrive on a Sunday morning:

  1. Doors to the Sanctuary and building will be propped open to minimize contact with handles & closed after service begins.
  2. No printed bulletin or sermon notes.
  3. Bibles, hymnals, pens, and offering envelopes have been removed from the pew backs. Please be sure to bring your Bible with you or read the passage from the screen.
  4. We will not be passing the offering bags, but a box will be available in the back of the sanctuary for your convenience.
  5. Hand sanitizer stations have been located at every entrance to the sanctuary, in addition to a hand washing station at the coffee bar.
  6. All self-service beverages (coffee, tea, and water) and food (muffins, granola bars, and biscotti) will be suspended for the time being.
  7. You will be asked to practice Social Distancing.
What Social Distancing should look like

We request that everyone do their best to maintain at least a six-foot distance between individuals who do not live in your household. This means you should sit only with those from your household. The Sanctuary has been marked for seating in every other pew only. In order to maintain proper distances between families, we ask that you enter the Sanctuary and walk all the way forward to the first available seat. Please do not attempt to find your usual seat as that will only make it harder for us to properly space ourselves. Sit at least 6 feet from the closest family or individual. Face masks will not be required to attend the service, but you are welcome to wear one as you feel comfortable.

Consider Your Health Risks

Each of us must make the decision to worship on-site based on our own personal medical history. At this time, recommendations suggest that those in high risk categories as identified by the CDC should not worship on-site but should continue to worship online. Our services are streamed live each Sunday and can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/valleyharvest.org or https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBt09wVBZVPeVCvn_nfsi1w. If you or anyone in your household is not well, please show your love to the rest of the congregation by staying home.

Sprouts (Nursery)/Harvest Kids/Grafted (Roots)

CDPH guidelines state “Children should remain in the care of those in their household unit and not interact with children of other parties at any time while visiting facilities. Close play areas and discontinue activities and services for children where physical distancing of at least six feet cannot be maintained.” While we stated the nursery would be open last week, we have had to take a step back in that area. Since Sprouts, Harvest Kids, and Grafted Youth are very interactive ministries we will not be able reopen them until we can do so without having to social distance. We understand that sitting in church with a child can sometimes be difficult, it is difficult for us too. We love your kids and being to serve them is a great joy to our hearts. We miss them dearly! All children in the sanctuary will receive clipboards with coloring pages, Bible stories, and different activities for them to do during the service. These activities are intended to lighten the burden of families attending with children. The activity will change weekly until Harvest Kids reopens. Hopefully, we will have a better idea of when these ministries can resume as we continue to monitor government recommendations in the coming weeks.

Other considerations and concerns

CDPH suggests “Strongly consider discontinuing singing”. While we did think about it for a milli-second, we knew that God’s commanding in scripture for us to “Sing to the LORD” was more compelling than the state’s guidelines. Colassians 3:15-16 tells us, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” This same wording is echoed in Ephesians 5, not to mention the dozens of times “sing to the LORD” is found in scripture. We WILL be singing together as we gather on Sunday to worship.

Please keep checking back here often! We will continue to update this page as we receive new guidance from our state and federal governments as we continue to step closer to being open again 100%. Please continue to pray for us and the church as we seek to follow the will of God in this crucial time. Be certain that our ministry staff is praying for you, and we can’t wait to see you back in the coming weeks.

See you Sunday!

Read VH’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic HERE.