FOUNTAIN OF TRUTH CHURCH
MAY 24, 2020
Greetings in Jesus Name!
March 15, 2020 was the last time we gathered together as a church. We are now in week 11 of being an online church. Although we have not met in person, FTC never stopped. In fact, we are stronger and have been more effective than ever. We are serving our online community and members and now it is easier to stay connected. We know you all feel the difference our church is making in this season. We are baptizing converts, families are being filled with the Holy Ghost, small groups are reaching people beyond our expectation, online ministries are fluid and open to all, the Bible institute has the biggest class size ever, our academy continues to serve students online, the Spanish Escuela de Líderes continues with discipleship classes, HE and SHE are sharing excellent presentations, prodigal sons and daughters are coming back to the father’s house, and the mission of every heart healed continues to reach people around the world.
After nearly 11 weeks, we know that members are wondering, “when will we get back together?” “When will we reopen our doors for in-person worship services?”
After discussing this question in various leadership and ministerial meetings, we, along with thousands of other California churches, decided to open on May 31, 2020 to a limited number of attendees, (about 20% capacity). For now we will proceed at a slow pace and celebrate only one English service and one Spanish service at their regular times.
Let me share some of our thought process:
CHURCHES ARE ESSENTIAL
- Although some governmental authorities focus only on our physical safety (and I believe they do), as pastors we must also focus on spiritual issues. Some of our members just need to be in church. (Hebrews 10:25; Acts 5:29)
WHAT ABOUT THE GOVERNOR’S MANDATE?
A large group of churches have made various appeals to the governor’s office; at first these appeals were ignored, but lately there has been some positive movement. The following principles were considered:
- “We the people” have the Constitutional right to worship God. The first amendment of the Bill of Rights states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” (First amendment)
- William Barr, US Attorney General, recently wrote to California Governor Newsom indicating that Newsom’s restriction for churches not to gather, is unconstitutional and violates our rights to do so.
- President Trump has repeatedly stated that “churches must be allowed to open.”
- We have checked with local (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) authorities; both the Mayor and the Chief of Police are aware that many of our churches in Rancho are opening on May 31, 2020 and plan to take no action against churches.
- NEW! As this letter is being prepared, President Trump just ordered for churches to be allowed to open even this Sunday. He stated he would override any governor’s order to the contrary. Opening May 31, 2020 would not defy any order.
BUT, WHAT ABOUT SAFETY?
We have observed all CDC guidelines since day 1 of the COVID-19 crisis. We will continue to be wise, communicate regularly and clearly, and observe government mandates to the extent they do not violate our CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS and/or our biblical principles. We will also continue to keep your health and safety as our utmost priority and uphold our church testimony as good neighbors to our community.
Rest assured, we are monitoring national, state and local government regulations and plans for the reopening of our church. We are a church of excellence, and we will NOT compromise this value. When we open, it will not be the same, of course. It will be awhile before we can all get together at one time. Please know that we already have a guide in place for the reopening of our worship services. We will consider county health and safety guidelines for sanitization and social distancing for all areas that will be used. Your safety is our priority, as is your spiritual health.
As we prepare to reopen, please review the following non-optional guidelines to which we will strictly enforce. Until further notice, please:
- Attend only if you do NOT have any Covid – 19 symptoms.
- Attend only if you do NOT have any underlying medical issues, are feeling ill, immune compromised, or if you are in one of the high-risk groups.
- Attend only if you feel comfortable; each person will make his or her own decision.
- CDC guidelines will be followed including, requiring masks, hand sanitizer stations, and potentially temperature screening at entry doors.
- Wear a mask while not singing, praising or praying aloud.
- Plan to sit with your family.
- Know there will not be any Children’s Ministry and the nursery/cry room will be CLOSED.
- There will be no food or coffee service.
- Follow all posted instructions.
- Maintain social distancing (except with your immediate family).
- Refrain from hugging, shaking hands and all other physical contact.
- Use common sense at all times
- Please note the signage that states that you are attending at your own risk, and that you WILL NOT hold Fountain of Truth Church or The Fountain Ministries, Inc. responsible should you or anyone become ill.
OK, BUT WHO CAN ATTEND?
Although we would like for all to attend, please be patient with us. We will begin with a few number of ministers and leaders and (Important!) those of you who have been serving on the front lines (medical, fire, police, etc).
THIS IS HOW WE WILL START THE REOPENING PROCESS…
All will have to sign up in advance and obtain a reserved seat.
You can sign up through the Planning Center Online Event System. Your ticket will be verified by staff at the entry door.
Registration will be closed once we reach our capacity.
Sounds weird, awkward and even scary, doesn’t it? I know, but those are the times we are living in. These guidelines (and probably additional stipulations) will probably be in place for some time.
Things are changing on a daily and sometimes on an hourly basis. We will update you as needed and with as much time as possible. I am committed to doing the best for FTC. I am honored to be your Pastor; you are the best congregation, and I thank you for your faithfulness and trust in our leadership.
One final thing. Because things change so fast everyday, Please allow us the flexibility to make changes as we deem fit. For example, if new situations arise, we may need to communicate new, different or opposite instructions.
With love and gratitude,
Pastor Samuel Valverde
FTC Pastoral Staff and Ministry