June 2 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 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 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 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 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 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.