Church family,

After some thoughtful and difficult discussions, the majority of our staff and elders have agreed that we should wear masks at our service this Sunday. We are going to ask all of those who are part of our church and those who visit the service to join us in wearing a mask. It’s particularly important that we wear masks this Sunday for Ronnie’s retirement service because we are expecting a large crowd of people, and we won’t be able to adequately socially distance ourselves. We are going to ask those who attend Ronnie’s retirement service to keep their masks on during the service in the sanctuary and as they go through the food line until they sit down at their tables to eat. Obviously, those who are playing music and speaking on stage during the service, will not wear masks as they are able to distance themselves from the congregation. For little children and those who are advised to not wear masks because of medical conditions, an exception will be applied as well. Over the next few weeks, we will monitor the situation and keep you updated. We will not need to wear masks in our services if we are able to maintain appropriate distance going forward.

We realize this is a dividing issue. The discussion among our staff and elders was so difficult because we knew no matter what we decided, people would be upset. We want to ask, regardless of which side of the debate you may be on, that you try to understand this decision and the heart behind it.

As a church, we are not siding with or against the nature of the governor’s order to wear masks. What we do agree on is the motivation behind wearing masks. Whether we are being told or asked to do it, we believe wearing masks is about loving and caring for other individuals and our community as a whole.

If we can do anything to mitigate the harmful impact of the coronavirus and speed up the return to normalcy, then we should be motivated to do so. If the government were asking us to do something immoral or in conflict with our Christian values, then we would refuse without hesitation. However, wearing a mask, even though no one likes doing it, is a precaution that considers the health and livelihood of those around us. As Christians, we should be familiar and on board with making sacrifices for the benefit of others. In fact, we should understand that a life of humble sacrifice is the true way to genuine life and joy. For Jesus calls us to die to ourselves and find life (Luke 9) and Paul calls us to have an attitude like Jesus, who was willing to humble himself to the point of death (Philippians 2). Wearing a mask seems to be a comparably small way to live out the principles in these passages. We love you and we appreciate your continued support as we try to navigate what has been a very difficult year. We may not all agree on these issues, but the love of Christ binds us together above all else.

-From the Staff & Elders of Forestpark