Campus Reopening Update: A Message From Pastor Jeff

 In Coronavirus Updates, Featured, News

February 8, 2021


 

In early March 2020, I gathered with members of our Leadership Team to discuss the rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus and its implications for our ministry. We prayerfully decided that as of March 12 we would close our campus, in compliance with the Governor’s order. At the time I thought we’d be closed for a couple of weeks. Maybe a month at most. While I believe that closing the campus was the right decision, we were a wee bit optimistic about the timeline. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that, with a few exceptions, our campus would be closed for nearly a year.

Every decision we have made during this pandemic has been for the health and safety of our members, staff, guests, our neighbors, and the protection of our health care system and the heroes who staff it. This has been an incredibly challenging period for our world, and certainly for Prince of Peace. But thanks to our remarkable staff and your faithfulness we’ve continued to enjoy inspiring worship and ministry that keeps us connected, all the while connecting with neighbors around the corner and around the world in news ways with the hope of the Gospel.

Today, after being closed for nearly a year, I want to announce that Finance Director, Jane Victorey, and I, along with our Board of Directors, have decided to reopen our campus in March 2021.

Some of you may be thinking, “Thank God. It’s about time!” Others of you may be wondering, “Why now?” And that’s a good question. Early on we were making weekly decisions about whether we should meet in person. But that was exhausting, and we decided that we needed a more objective measurement to help us make that decision, and so we adopted guidelines that Minnesota high schools were using based on weekly case rate data from the State of Minnesota. When Dakota County high school campuses were closed, we would remain closed. And that was really helpful for a season.

However, I’ve been in touch with a number of local churches that have been holding on-campus worship for months now, practicing social distancing, wearing masks and cleaning between services, and none of them had a problem with the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Add to that the toll of social isolation on the mental and spiritual health of people, and our leadership has decided that, despite the fact that at the time of this announcement many high school campuses are not yet open, we felt it was time for us to begin gradually reopening our campus.

So, what does that mean exactly? We’re going to begin with Student Ministry, Worship and Funeral Services.

  • Student Ministry will resume meeting on our campus on Wednesday, March 3. The Family Ministry team will be sending out more specific information to families soon.
  • We will resume On-campus Worship with identical services at 9:00 & 10:30 am on Sunday, March 7. Reservations will not be required and child care will be available. Stay tuned for more information about how we plan to keep everyone safe as we worship together. Our Online Worship will continue at 9:45 am each Sunday morning on Facebook, YouTube and popmn.org/worship-services.
  • We are making plans to provide funeral and memorial services soon. If you’ve lost a loved one and need to plan a funeral or memorial service, please call the Church Office at 952-435-8102 and a staff member will be in touch to discuss available options and help make arrangements.
  • Mission Outpost has continued serving people throughout most of the pandemic and will expand services as circumstances and volunteers allow.
  • Our staff offices will remain closed until further notice. Our Governor’s orders ask that if staff can work from home that they should continue to do so. But as has been true throughout the pandemic, we remain available by phone or email.

As excited as I am about all of this, I’m reminding myself – and you – that we need to hold all of this loosely. As circumstances change, so will the openness of our campus. If growing vaccination rates continually lower infection rates, we will slowly begin to open the campus to more ministries and groups. If infection rates rise dramatically because of the new variants, we may need to limit ministries or even close the campus again. Let’s continue to pray that things move in a positive direction.

For everyone’s health and safety, please don’t come onto the campus if you have an elevated temperature, or simply don’t feel well. And if you do come onto campus, please wear a face mask covering both your nose and mouth. As much as we may want to hug, shake hands and give high-fives…please restrain yourself! And if you’re just not feeling comfortable returning to campus for worship or other ministry, there’s no pressure to do so. Continue to enjoy Online Worship and ministry until you’re ready.

You’ll be hearing more information and instructions as we move forward, and if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact me at 952-898-9309 or email.

This really has been a challenging year, but I am so very grateful for your patience and your faithfulness. Together we’ll get through this. We have to… because we’ve got so much to look forward to. God bless you, and I hope to see you soon!

Jeff Marian,
Lead Pastor

 

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