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In-Person Gatherings – An Update

January 18th, 2021
From: Pastor Bill
 
This past Tuesday evening, the Church Board met via Zoom for their monthly board meeting.  One of the main discussion items included a review of our response to the current health crisis, specifically the decision made in late November to put a temporary hold on “In-Person” gatherings.  We believe the rationale for our decision – putting the needs of the community ahead of our own – is consistent with the teaching and the heart of Jesus.
 
At the same time, we recognize the importance of gathering together to sing, pray, serve, and ultimately learn from God.  Towards that end, the Board discussed establishing certain “benchmarks” that once reached, would allow us to feel it appropriate to resume In-Person gatherings.
 
One of the most significant factors in our decision-making process is the Daily COVID Census at the two local hospitals.  Go HERE in order to access current figures.  The Chambersburg Hospital has been and remains our primary focus, as this is where most COVID patients in our local communities are taken.  In November as the virus became very active in our area, we became aware of the increasing stress being placed upon our health care providers.  The daily COVID Census began rising dramatically, and once the Chambersburg Hospital surpassed 50 patients we decided it would be helpful to our hospital workers and to our community if the Five Forks Church would stop holding In-Person gatherings for a season.
 
The Chambersburg census reached a high of 101 patients on December 13th, but the good news is that it has been declining since then, hovering between 58 and 68 for the past two weeks.  The Church Board, in looking to establish a wise and sensible benchmark is waiting for the daily census to go below 50 patients, which is where the census stood when we last gathered in November.  Once this benchmark is reached, we will monitor the daily numbers for a 2-week period to ensure that they do not increase; it is our hope and prayer that once the census goes below 50, the decline will continue. 
 
In addition to the Daily COVID Census which gives us something specific to look for, we will continue to communicate with trusted friends and family who work in the health care field, including the two local hospitals.  We will look to them to give us first-hand information regarding the current working conditions.  When weighed together (the census and input from health care providers), we will look to set a date that we feel is wise and responsible in order to resume meeting.
 
Join us in praying that the daily census will continue to decline and that working conditions will greatly improve, so that we can work, play, eat, and worship together once again.