Dear Members and Friends of Fort Hill,
As we wait in faith for the time we will gather in person for worship, I want to provide an update on where we find ourselves as a congregation. Virginia Conference Bishop Sharma Lewis has tasked a team of clergy, medical professionals, and legal professionals to provide guidelines for the return of in-person worship. There are three steps for these guidelines with each step being subsequent to Governor Northam’s implementation of three stages of response to COVID-19 by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The first step, recommended in the plan approved by Bishop Lewis, is for “Pioneer Churches” that will serve as test churches following specific guidelines in determining the effectiveness of safety precautions for in-person worship. Worship attendance for “Pioneer Churches” is limited to 25 congregants. Another part of the first step is Parking Lot worship. Due to the restrictions for spacing between vehicles, only 18 vehicles can park in the main Fort Hill parking lot.
The second step recommended in the plan approved by Bishop Lewis is for in-person worship to be limited to 50 people in attendance and following approved guidelines. The third step recommended in the plan approved by Bishop Lewis is for worship to resume with eased restrictions.
Part of the plan approved by Bishop Lewis includes the formation of a “Health Church Plan Team” by local congregations. The persons included on this team are the Staff-Parish Relations Committee Chair, Church Council Chair, Church Lay Leader, Trustees Chair, Worship Committee Chair, Altar Guild Chair, and Church Staff. This team met last week and was unanimous in agreeing that Fort Hill will return to in-person worship following the requirements of the third step of worship as included in the plan approved by Bishop Lewis.
There is no timeline for when the third step will be implemented as the implementation of this step will be subsequent to the governor’s third stage of response.
As we await the return of in-person worship, I am grateful for the many ways our congregation is faithfully supporting the ongoing ministry of Fort Hill. The compassion and generosity of financial support is a witness to faith in Jesus and the love we have for each other. Our on-line worship services will continue to be posted on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. via Fort Hill’s Facebook, website, and YouTube Channel. You may access online worship at other times of the week as well.
May the peace of Christ that passes all understanding be with you.
In Christ’s Service,