May 15, 2021
After reviewing the recent announcements by the CDC and Governor Brown, and then a subsequent discussion with our external COVID Task Force, we will not change our safety guidelines until the risk level lowers for Washington County. In other words, out of an abundance of caution we will continue to require anyone indoors on our campus to continue the current “business place” guidelines of wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Masks can be removed outdoors if a safe distance is maintained. We are reviewing our guidelines and hope to update our guidelines in 2-3 weeks. Thank you for doing your part and going the extra mile to protect our vulnerable congregants, including many who are still trying to get fully vaccinated.
Worship Services: We held in-person worship services in April although most elements of each service were videotaped in advance. In May, we’ll continue to have face-to-face services in the sanctuary at 10am each Sunday and our Hispanic Fellowship will continue to meet separately in the Chapel at 11am. All elements of the services in May will be live and we’ll continue to require masks and safe distancing. For our sanctuary service, RSVPs via our website will be accepted until just before the service starts at 10am. If you cannot complete an RSVP on the website, please call our office and we’ll register you over the phone. We will continue to broadcast this worship service via our YouTube channel for those who want to stay home. It will be available “live” at 10a or available to replay at a time of your choosing after 1p each Sunday.
Other on-campus events: Many life groups, some Sunday schools, and both middle school and high school youth groups continue to meet on campus during the week while taking precautions. We also have many volunteer opportunities for people to help with our Food Distribution Center, COVID vaccination clinics, dental clinics, and more. Watch the weekly all-church email for details.
Next steps: Later in May, likely when Washington County returns to the “moderate” category, we hope to begin more small and mid-sized group meetings before and after our worship services. We will add Sunday children’s programs and youth programs as our volunteer teams decide they are ready to return, likely in June. Unfortunately, the cafe will remain closed on Sundays until restaurants are allowed to have 100% capacity given the larger numbers of people in the building on Sunday. It will continue to operate during the weekdays per state guidelines.
Decision making process: Washington County, where we are located, continues to move between various risk categories. We’ve corresponded occasionally with the Oregon Health Authority Faith Liaison office. And we regularly seek opinions from our external COVID Task Force composed of two doctors, a public health trained EMT, and a city emergency planner. The Lead Team (Pastors John and Paul, Insil Kang, and Ben Spotts) then make decisions which are communicated to the Village Council (elders and board advisors).
We encourage people to get vaccinated when possible, continue to care for their neighbors, and pray for the church leaders to have wisdom as we continue to balance the exhortation of Hebrews to not forsake gathering together (Heb. 10:25) with a respect for government authorities (Rom. 13:1).
February 23, 2021 Update
Since Washington County moved down from “extreme” to “high” risk on Feb. 12 and now allows indoor dining, we have reopened our cafe. We’ve also fully reopened our front office and staff are working from campus. We continue to follow Oregon’s guidelines for the four risk levels and, currently, are welcoming groups of up to 150 or 25% of room capacity. All other guidelines mentioned in the January 6th update still apply.
As more churches reopen for in-person, large worship services, we are eager to meet together as soon as possible and are always balancing “meeting together” (Heb. 10:25), caring for “the least of these” in our faith community (Mt. 25:40), and respect for government authorities (Rom. 13:1). After praying and dialoguing, our pastors and directors want to encourage you:
- Consider how we answered “what is the church?” in a recent sermon. Sunday gatherings are important, but there are discipleship and fellowship opportunities that are just as important during other times.
- As a church with diverse demographics, let’s commit to thinking about those who don’t have equal access to healthcare among us and, if needed, wait a little longer to reopen in order to increase their safety.
- Since our staff is the smallest it has been in recent years, please understand our current plan is to continue pre-recorded worship services until we can move directly into in-person worship services that would simultaneously be live-streamed.
Currently, we are praying that we can fully reopen when our County moves into the “moderate risk” category and stays there for several weeks, but there are other factors that we are considering as well. We deeply covet your prayers for wisdom.
January 6, 2021 Update
Following the county risk levels under Oregon state’s public health framework announced in December, we’ve closed our cafe and will reopen when restaurants are allowed to have indoor dining. You’re still welcome to use our lobby, Columbia rooms, and the plaza — which has new heaters and covered tables — as workspace or for informal meetings. Under the current “extreme risk” level for Washington County, our campus is open for indoor gatherings of 100 people or less who have reserved space in advance and carefully track participants. Our preschool continues to operate under Oregon Health Authority guidelines.
November 17, 2020 Update
September 10, 2020 Update
As you know from watching the news, state and local authorities are continually updating safety and health standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Both our internal and external task forces continue to advise our Senior Director of Operations about what is best for our community. Unfortunately, the tri-county Portland area continues to remain in Phase 1 despite initial hopes that we’d progress to Phase 2 this summer. Also, it appears that Phase 2 will include gatherings of 100 people or less despite original expectations that 250 or less would be allowed.
We are now planning our fall ministry with the expectation that we may not be able to meet for a “normal Sunday worship service” until January. However, we continue to encourage groups of 50 or less to contact the church office to reserve one of our many outdoor spaces or indoor rooms. For these larger meetings, we are asking participants to answer a self-assessment and screening questions. Each ministry is also keeping a participant list for 60 days in the event that a COVID case is discovered and contract tracing is needed.
We require face coverings to be worn on campus when outdoors and six feet of separation can’t be maintained and always when indoors in public spaces. Other continued safety measures include: increased air circulation, water fountains turned off, bathrooms and high touch surfaces cleaned frequently with medical grade disinfectants.
As of September 8, staff are working from campus instead of their homes. The church office is open 9a-4p Monday through Thursday and 9a-noon on Friday.
June 26, 2020 Update
- We continue to encourage groups of 25 or less to use our campus. RSVP, both indoor and outdoors spaces, through Yenna Lee!
- After July 10, Washington County likely will be in phase 2 which will allow mid-sized groups, like ethnic fellowships, to meet on campus.
- After a two-week experiment in June, we’ve decided to continue to “live stream” our services as we get back into the habit of “gathering together” at the same time. The video version will be available on the website and YouTube channel soon after the 10a service concludes to watch anytime.
- We’re encouraging life groups to meet together on Sundays, following safety guidelines, and worship together.
- Blended services are not ideal for anyone. Some weeks will have small ensembles from the choir and more hymns, some weeks will have more worship choruses. We appreciate your patience as we all sacrifice something in order to achieve unity!
- We hope to invite people on campus for Sunday services in September, but that could change.
- For on campus meetings, we require face coverings when in the lobby or other indoor spaces.
- Other safety measures include: increased air circulation, water fountains turned off, bathrooms and high touch surface cleaned frequently with medical grade disinfectants.
- For outdoor meetings, face coverings are suggested but not required.
- Pastors and directors are back to their “pre-COVID” weekly schedules (on campus each Sunday morning to assist with the worship services and thus, most are off on Fridays).
- The church office is on normal summer hours: 9a-4p Mondays-Thursdays, 9a-noon Fridays.
- Our campus hours have expanded and, as of June 29, the Worship Center is now open Monday-Friday from 7a-8p, Saturday 8a-3p, and Sunday 8a-3pm
- If people have underlying conditions or had COVID symptoms in the last 72 hours, we continue to ask them to stay home. See the list of symptoms here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html. Or use an interactive symptom checker: https://c19oregon.com/start.
June 2, 2020 Update
Washington County, in which our campus is located, entered Phase 1 of reopening on June 1. As the COVID-19 pandemic slows, the church staff is prayerfully considering our next steps. We continue to prioritize the safety of vulnerable persons in our church and, in so doing, our neighborhoods. We’re constantly balancing the exhortation of Hebrews to not forsake gathering together (Heb. 10:25) with a respect for government authorities (Rom. 13:1). For more, see Pastor Ken’s letter linked to the May 15 update below.
During Phase 1, groups of 25 or less can gather for “religious purposes” according to the government as long as people maintain social distance. Phase 2, which will probably come around June 21, is likely to limit this to 50 or less people. It’s unclear when Phase 3 will happen. What does this mean practically?
In alignment with the recommendations of Oregon health authorities, we request people over 60+ as well as those with underlying medical conditions to strongly consider staying home, meeting virtually, or meeting outdoors.
Indoor, On-Campus Meetings: We have two spaces available for established Life Groups or Community Groups who want to meet together and can’t find a large enough space in a backyard, local park, or larger home. The spaces are open Monday and Thursday 7 am – 8 pm; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 7 am – 5 pm; and Saturday 8 am – 3 pm. Contact the church office to reserve a room.
We also request: groups not eat or drink and not sing during the meeting. We require: groups practice social distancing (6 feet apart), wash or disinfect their hands while entering and leaving the building, wear masks, and ensure participants have not had any COVID symptoms in the last 72 hours before coming on campus. We’ll provide institutional-grade cleaning supplies so groups can disinfect their room when they arrive to the level of cleanliness they desire. Our facilities team will rigorously clean their room after they leave, and are already cleaning Worship Center restrooms and high touch surfaces frequently.
Outdoor, On-Campus Meetings: For meetings in our parking lots or other outdoor spaces, we ask that people stay home if sick in the last 72 hours, stay 6 feet apart, and wash hands before/after coming. While we recommend masks, we do not require them outdoors. Also, if the group is comfortable, eating together is allowed as long as it is not self-serve (i.e. buffet). We recommend reservations, via the church office, if you want to ensure that the parking lot or other space will be available.
Worship Center lobby: Our Worship Center lobby continues to be open for informal “drop-ins” during the hours listed above if you need a place for prayer or quiet meditation.
Village Cafe: Our cafe reopened on June 1, is open Monday to Friday from 7:30 – 11:30 am, and is following state-wide health standards.
Finally, we intend to continue offering online worship services even after we resume Sunday gatherings on campus since we realize people have differing levels of caution which will affect the timing of their return. Also, we’re looking at several options for safe, indoor gatherings of youth and kids on campus, but are excited about creative outdoors and off-campus ministry options which will be announced for the summer.
This is our current thinking, but we’ll remain responsive to local government and science-driven guidelines. We’ve been implementing our contingency plan since late February and leaning on the wisdom of several Village community members who are experts: a family doctor with experience in tropical diseases, a city emergency planner, a community health trained EMT, and an epidemiologist. We will continue to follow their guidance with few, if any, exceptions.
May 22, 2020 Update
We’re aware of President Trump’s request for churches and other places of worship to be considered “essential” and allowed to reopen immediately. We are awaiting updated guidance from state and local authorities for any organization that hosts large numbers of people. As Pastor Ken explained last week (letter linked to May 15 statement), there are still too many variables for us to know exactly when churches can reopen and what it will look like. Because of the demographic considerations and amount of people at risk in a multigenerational and multicultural church, we’ll likely be a bit more cautious in reopening than some smaller or nearby churches. Decisions on when and how to gradually reopen will be made by our staff management team as they are informed by our COVID Task Force.
May 15, 2020 Update
Today most counties in Oregon start “phase 1” of reopening. According to experts, it is unlikely that Washington County will enter that phase for another few days or weeks. Even when we enter that phase, gatherings will be restricted to 25 people or less in a situation where social distancing of 6 feet can be maintained. We do not yet know the requirements for “mass gatherings” in phases 2 and 3.
For now, we will continue to operate as we have since mid-March. We encourage you to be a light among your neighbors, use the digital content our staff is producing including video worship services, and, if needed, utilize church facilities. For example, the church parking lot has been utilized for “in car” gatherings and the Worship Center lobby remains open for informal gatherings of 10 or less people who haven’t been sick in the last 3 days and are not part of the vulnerable population as defined by government health authorities.
The COVID Task Force welcomes your ideas and information that should be considered. The task force includes Sr. Dir. Operations Ben Spotts, Sr. Dir. Insil Kang, Pastor John Jordan, and Facilities Manager Mike Fraser. We are monitoring the CDC and Oregon Health Authority recommendations. We are in touch with business, city, and school leaders as well as medical professionals. Specifically, we consult with several Village community members who are experts: an epidemiologist, a family doctor with experience in tropical diseases, a city emergency planner, and a community health trained EMT.
The Task Force will make recommendations to our staff management team, including Pastors Ken and Paul, which will make final decisions on reopening and keep our elder board informed. There are a variety of options for reopening and we’re taking into consideration our congregation’s composition which includes a sizable portion over 60 years of age as well as many nationalities who have seen their homelands impacted by COVID and similar diseases in the last decades. Because of this and other factors, we’ll likely be more cautious in reopening than nearby churches and continue to offer digital ministry materials for a while, but, again, we continue to assess many aspects of this situation.
March 23, 2020 Update
In light of the governor’s order on March 23, 2020 to “stay home, stay safe”, the majority of staff are working from home, and our office will be taking calls Monday through Friday, 9am-noon. If you need physical assistance or other help, please email [email protected] If you have a true emergency and need to speak with a pastor immediately, you can call our after hours emergency line at 503.972.8282. If you are sick or are home-bound and need spiritual encouragement, please contact our visitation team under Nancy Anderson, Assistant Director of Pastoral Care, or call and leave a message for the visitation team at 971.261-0892.
Our campus is only open for a few selected groups which provide essential social services. We have closed the Village Cafe at this time. The Worship Center lobby is open to individuals to use for prayer, first responders to use bathrooms, a person needing physical assistance or other help, who has called in advance with a pastor.
Monday 7 am – 8 pm
Tuesday 7 am – 5 pm
Wednesday 7 am – 5 pm
Thursday 7 am – 8 pm
Friday 7 am – 5 pm
Saturday 8 am – 3 pm
March 18, 2020 Update from Senior Director Operations, Ben Spotts.
We’re encouraging all groups regardless of size (except those mentioned last week with special outreach to the community) to take a break from their regular meetings in line with local and national recommendations. Life Groups should continue to connect digitally and especially care for those from the vulnerable population. Groups that choose to continue meeting should practice safe social distancing and refrain from serving food. You are welcome to drop in and use space in our Worship Center.
The Worship Center is currently open on:
M, Th 7am-8pm
T, W, F 7am-5pm
Anyone dropping in must observe social distancing of 3-6 feet and use healthy habits (i.e. hand washing and covering coughs). Anyone who is part of an “at risk” group determined by health authorities (i.e. underlying health conditions and/or 60+ year olds) is strongly encouraged to stay home.
The Village Cafe will be open from M-Th, 7-11am, and is practicing rigorous safety guidelines, and our Facilities team is cleaning high touch surfaces frequently (including doorknobs, counters, toilets) with institutional-grade disinfectant and sanitizing products that are recommended by the CDC.
March 13, 2020 Update from Senior Director Operations, Ben Spotts
Common questions about Village’s COVID-19 Decision
As Pastor Ken mentioned in his communication yesterday, our church leaders decided to suspend regularly scheduled meetings, including Sunday services, for the next four weeks. Look for another email soon with resources for holding your own gathering on Sunday. Here are some common questions we’ve been asked:
Is the campus open?
Our staff, for the time being, will keep working on campus normal hours although this may change as the situation develops in our city. We are prepared to work from home. We’re inviting a few ministries who are focused on the needs of vulnerable individuals to continue meeting on campus including:
- ESOL (has decided to close until September)
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- Village Preschool (has decided to cancel classes, following the BSD closure schedule)
- Pure Life Alliance
- Counseling services
- IRCO Health Clinic
If I drop by the campus, what should we expect?
The Village staff are working hard to create a safe environment and decrease the potential spread of coronavirus. We’ll decide early next week what hours the worship center will be open. All other buildings are closed for drop-ins to reduce expenses and be good stewards. We are:
- Conducting careful cleaning with institutional-grade disinfectant and sanitizing products that are recommended by the CDC.
- Spot cleaning “high touch surfaces” like door handles, railings, and lobby counters with disinfectant.
- Changing our cafe services in sustainable ways we could continue in future flu seasons.
- Ordering additional hand sanitizer to support increased demand.
- Preparing for a full building clean if there was a confirmed case of someone infected with the virus on campus.
Do you anticipate changing your current plans and decision to suspend for four weeks?
We are monitoring OHA and CDC recommendations, watching actions by local businesses and schools, and proactively touching bases several times a week with health professionals who are part of our congregation including an epidemiologist, a family doctor with experience in tropical diseases, a city emergency planner, and a community health trained EMT.
How do I stay up to date on decisions by church leaders?
We will use all-church emails, posts on our Facebook page, website updates, our app, and posters in the doors of our worship center.
We’re looking forward to the opportunities and testimonies we’ll hear in the coming days as our Village community reaches out to neighbors and friends with the love of Jesus! As Pastor Mauricio exhorted the staff today, the “first great lesson that we shouldn’t miss from this crisis is the Church is not a place”. He reminded us that we cannot be temple-centered. The center is Jesus, the important thing is the people.