Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) announced that it will delay the opening of businesses and activities previously planned for July 1 until the COVID-19 outbreak in Contra Costa is better contained. The county is closely monitoring recent data showing COVID-19 activity increasing in the community, as it is statewide and throughout the country. With the sharp rise in community spread and hospitalizations, it does not make sense at this time to open additional business sectors that could further accelerate community transmission. These businesses and activities will remain closed in Contra Costa until county data indicate that the spread of the virus has slowed, as measured by at least a week of stable case numbers, hospitalizations and percent of tests that are positive.
On May 25th, the California Department of Public Health announced that, with certain restrictions, religious services may resume across the state. Additionally, they have published COVID-19 INDUSTRY GUIDANCE: Places of Worship and Providers of Religious Services and Cultural Ceremonies. This document provides guidance for places of worship to resume services while supporting a safe, clean environment for employees, volunteers, and all other types of workers as well as congregants, worshippers, visitors, etc. This guidance does not obligate places of worship to resume in-person activity. Further, the state strongly recommends that places of worship continue to facilitate remote services and other related activities for those who are vulnerable to COVID19, including older adults and those with existing chronic health conditions that are known to place them at higher risk to the virus. Contra Costa County has announced revisions to the shelter in place order that allow religious services to resume; however, they must adhere to the state's industry guidance.
Even with adherence to physical distancing, it is clear that convening in a congregational setting of multiple different households to practice a personal faith carries a relatively higher risk for widespread transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and may result in increased rates of infection, especially among more vulnerable populations. In particular, activities such as singing and group recitation negate the risk-reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing.
The brothers, in fellowship and prayer, continue to monitor this situation and are beginning to consider how we might resume in-person meetings. As we fellowship, we are burdened to care for the health and well-being of the saints as well as their spiritual growth and maturity. While the details around how we would resume our in-person meetings are not yet defined, a few key points are forming. We are sharing them below, not as guidance or rules, but to set reasonable and realistic expectations:
Most likely, we will not immediately resume in-person meetings according to our past practice even though state and local authorities have lifted these restrictions. We feel that to do so would not be in the best interest of the saints.
When we resume in-person meetings, we will most likely limit the number of saints that can attend. This will enable us to support social distancing guidelines.
Access to the meetings via Zoom or other technology will continue for those who may be at higher risk due to age, underlying conditions, reluctant to participate, etc.
Hand sanitizer will be readily available and masks could be made available to those who want them.
It is likely that we will modify our table meeting to reduce the chances of cross-contamination and potential exposure to disease.
While we would gather in the meeting room, certain constraints may be necessary to maintain the environmental safety of the living area at 26 Bliss (e.g., no meetings in the front room or the family room, limited access to the house, etc.)
As the authorities at national, state, and local levels continue to remove restrictions to the shelter in place order, and as the spread of the disease warrants, we will announce when and how to resume our meetings.
We should rejoice that the church is not a building or physical facility, and that we are all prophets, qualified to speak for and forth God. These scriptural truths have sustained us through the decades and will continue to sustain us, even during these times of pestilence. Our prayers should be focused on knowing God’s will and that He would gain what His heart desires through this pandemic. We should also pray that He will show mercy to His people and halt the spread of this virus.
We will continue with reading the Bible, the Holy Word for Morning Revival and the Life Study of Matthew. We encourage much more prayer and fellowship among all the saints by means that are safe. Until the situation changes, we will hold all of our meetings via Zoom.
You can download the latest version of Zoom here:
Meeting materials and information on how to join the meetings will be sent to you via email. If you're not receiving them, you may request them here:
We feel it is both sovereign and opportune for us to use these coming weeks to meet in different ways throughout the city (cf. Acts 8:4), and we expect the word of the Lord to grow and prevail throughout Pleasant Hill and surrounding areas (Acts 19:20). Let us all give ourselves to the Lord to freshly experience Him for His advancement during this time.
In addition to complying with the shelter in place order, we should also continue to use practices that can prevent or limit the spread of the virus. You can find information on these preventative practices and other useful information on the Contra Costa Health Services and California Department of Health websites:
Given the amount of information that’s flowing across the internet, it can be difficult to determine what’s true and what is not true. We suggest that you look to the following organizations and their websites for current information:
The World Health Organization provides a global view of the outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control is in the lead as our country addresses this outbreak; however, local authorities (e.g. county health departments) can always implement tighter measures depending on the local situation.
Johns Hopkins University provides up to date detailed facts and statistics.
We joyfully remind all the saints that our true residence is “a land which Jehovah your God cares for; always the eyes of Jehovah your God are upon it" (Deut. 11:12). Because we are practically joined to Christ as the reality of the good land and are enjoying His riches, God’s eyes are upon us continually, causing us to enjoy God’s presence and making us the object of His care.
If you have questions, please let one of the brothers know.