Hey everyone, Pastor J here. I want to talk to you for a few minutes about our August plans for the COVID impact here at Praise Cathedral. 
We’ve spent the last several days with staff, talking with elders, and researching where things are. 

Our goal is to provide the lowest risk possible for our gathering together to worship. 

Some background: As I talk to you now we have confirmed with the (South Carolina Church of God) State Office there are about 31 Church of God congregations in South Carolina that have had COVID to invade their church.  There have been different levels, obviously. Some (churches) have had one or two individuals infected, others have been up in to the teens.  As of this writing, there are 6 pastors who are actively positive for COVID-19 and in quarantine.

 There is no reason for us to think that we are going to be exempt from this.  There is no reason for us to think that we aren’t going to have to take very proactive measures in order to minimize the risk.  That is what I want to share with you.  

Two main changes that will be in effect beginning this Sunday, August 2nd, 2020:

First we will be changing the pew layout, no longer will we be doing the RED & BLUE tape anymore.  The staff has been working to rope off pews.  When you arrive, please utilize the pews that are unblocked and open for you to sit.  The ropes that are up between the pews are closed and we would ask that you do not sit in those pews.  (Please do not move any of the provided ropes.) This will provide us social distance as we come together to worship. 

Secondly, I hold in my hand a mask.  I don’t like them any more than you do.  However, beginning this Sunday we are going to ask that everyone wear a mask.  I hate to use the word ‘require’ because as soon as I say ‘require’ you are going to say ‘not me!’  Well, yes, you too. We need everyone school age and up who plans to worship with us in church to wear as mask.  We ask that you wear them as you come in, as you are leaving, as you are talking, and even as you are singing.  Once we begin the preaching parts of the service you are able to remove your mask, I understand that.  During the key times when you could be sharing germs we need you to have the mask on.  We are going to provide masks in the foyer but we need you to have the mask on.  

All we are trying to do is get our risk as low as we can get it for the benefit of everybody.  

 For some of you I realize that you cannot wear a mask because of other issues you have, we understand.  For others, the mask doesn’t sit well with you, we understand that as well.  If you are high-risk, we certainly encourage you to stay at home and watch online.  To everyone, don’t forget that watching online is still a viable option.  The thing I am going to re-iterate over and over again; our goal is to offer a live, in-person worship experience at the lowest risk possible.  

As far as other events for August, we are looking at when we might can start some small groups.  Those groups would meet under the same criteria with masks required and social distancing being encouraged.  Wednesday night services will continue to meet online only for a while longer.   We are not going to get in any hurry (to resume our regular schedule.)

Beginning this Sunday August 2nd, wear your mask and sit in the designated seats that are open. Bless you, I look forward to seeing you soon.

-Pastor Jerry Madden