July 28, 2020
Dear Heavenly Rest Family,
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
At the beginning of the month, I announced that we would be suspending in-person worship services for the month of July. The Return Task Force and I made this decision in response to an alarming and rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Abilene and Taylor County, especially those requiring hospitalization. Since suspending in-person services, it appears that the increase we were so concerned about has plateaued. We have not yet achieved a consistent daily decline in cases, but we are no longer seeing the geometric increases that characterized the first weeks of the month.
In light of these circumstances, we are planning a partial return to in-person worship on Sunday, August 9. We will offer an outdoor worship service in the Courtyard at 9:00 on Sunday mornings (please note the change in time). All indications are that outdoor gatherings are significantly less risky than indoor assemblies, so the Return Task Force felt comfortable resuming our outdoor worship service. Masks and registration will be required for this service. You can register to attend by visiting heavenlyrestabilene.org/registration. Please bring a chair or a blanket to sit on. Virtual worship in English will continue to be broadcast via Facebook Live at 10:30 on Sunday mornings. Worship in Swahili will take place at 1:00 on Sunday afternoons via Zoom. The church offices will remain open to the church staff at this time. If you need to visit the church offices for any reason, please make an appointment.
As always, we ask that you please keep us informed about your health status during this time. In particular, if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, please contact a member of the clergy so we can inform anyone who might have been exposed to the virus. All information about your health will be kept confidential.
The Return Task Force will continue to explore ways to create meaningful in-person worship opportunities while keeping the members of our community as safe as possible. Please know how grateful I am for your continued patience and resilience as we move through this challenging time. I hope to see many of you in person on Sunday, August 9, and I look forward to worshipping with the rest of you online. Until then, be assured of my constant prayers. May God bless and keep you, today and always.
The Reverend David F. Romanik