Nov 13, 2020: Changing to one service beginning Nov 15
With the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in our area (and Minnesota hospital beds reaching capacity), we will be returning to one service (10:00 am) each Sunday for the coming weeks and ask that masks be worn through the entirety of our public worship gatherings. These changes will take effect November 15th through the end of the year. We will continue to assess the situation and adjust our services and protocol accordingly. Our hope is that this temporary change, while inconvenient, will enable us to keep offering in-person services (some area churches have had to temporarily suspend in-person worship recently due to increased illness), as well as help steward our local health resources.
We will also be mailing an important letter to you next week with some significant matters of communication, including a ballot for our members to return by mail.
Most certainly these are extraordinary times in which we would be wise to pray for God to work in extraordinary ways! Please pray for God’s provision, wisdom, and the unifying work of the Spirit as He leads us through times of change for new seasons of fruitful ministry. This is our confidence: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Cor. 9:8).
October 1st, 2020: Moving to two service times
We ask all who attend the first service (9:15 am) to wear masks while in the building and for the entirety of the service. We urge those who are considered high risk (or those with a lower risk tolerance) to attend the 9:15 service or join us via livestream. The 9:15 service will be livestreamed and recorded on our YouTube channel for viewing at 9:15am or anytime thereafter.
Those who may not be able to wear a mask for the entirety of a service for a particular reason are asked to attend the second service (11:00 am) along with others who wear masks but are more tolerant of risk. We also ask all who attend the second service to wear a mask when entering or exiting as closer proximity to others may be unavoidable when not seated in their family or group pods.
July 27th, 2020: Masks required for all indoor church events
In conjunction with Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-81, we are asking that everyone attending an indoor church event wear a mask, effective immediately. For a more detailed explanation about this policy, please view or read Pastor Ty’s announcement HERE.
Please review the order for information about who is exempt from the mandate.
May 31st, 2020: TEFC reopening plan published
Houses of worship are now permitted to gather indoors so long as the number of people does not exceed 25% of the space’s max occupancy.
In keeping with current guidelines and a family-wide survey that went out earlier, the elders have approved a reopening plan for this summer. This document may be viewed HERE.
May 19th, 2020: Meetings of less than 10 people permitted
In keeping with MN state law, church gatherings of ten (10) or less are now permitted. Consequently, Ironmen will resume this Thursday (May 21st) at 6:00 am. Regular office hours have also resumed this week.
Most church business-related meetings are still being conducted via Zoom. Please contact the church office if you need more details.
On another positive note: we are planning on hosting our first drive-in service this Sunday (May, 24th) to honor our graduates and share communion. Details about this event and an in-climate weather plan are forthcoming.
Please continue to pray for wisdom and courage for our leadership team as we finalize plans for reopening and shepherd the flock in this season.
April 8, 2020: Governor Walz Extends Stay-at-Home Order
On April 8th, Minnesota Governer, Tim Walz extended his Stay-at-Home executive order through May 4th, 2020.
Consequently, all in-person meetings and ministry programming at Trinity has been suspended until the executive order is lifted.
Ironmen will attempt to meet via Zoom next Thursday (4.16) at 6:00 am. Please reach out to pastor Nick or Pauline if you’d like access to the meeting.
March 25, 2020: Minnesota’s Stay-at-Home Executive Order
This afternoon, Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order for residents of Minnesota to stay at home, effective March 27 at 11:59 pm through April 10 at 5:00 pm.
Pursuant with this executive order, Trinity has suspended all in-person meetings and programming throughout its duration.
According to 6.v, religious workers (paid and volunteer) are permitted to leave their home and work together “to plan, record, and distribute online or broadcast content to community members.” As such, our livestream services will continue to be conducted as normal.
Ironmen will meet in person tomorrow and will discuss options for meeting via online platforms for the weeks of the executive order.
Pastor Ty, Pastor Nick, and Pauline will continue to work in their offices at church over the next few weeks. However, for the two weeks of the executive order, the church building will be “closed” to anyone else coming in from the outside in order to limit contact during the order period. We will be here and available by email/phone as usual; we just won’t have any face-to-face contact.
We will continue to live stream our Sunday morning worship services at this link: www.trinityefree.com/livestream (this link has been simplified so you’ll be able to play the service directly from the file on the page, without having to go to YouTube if you prefer).
We thank God for this opportunity to serve you and our community. Please pray for us as we seek to honor our governing authorities and love our neighbors.
March 14, 2020: Church Services ONLINE Only
As mentioned in our previous post, last night the elders met with our safety & security team to discuss how Trinity can best respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the counsel of Drs. Anderson and Park, we came to the unanimous decision to move our in-person worship services 100% ONLINE.
This decision may come as a surprise to many of you (as it did for us), but we believe that this is the best next step Trinity can take in loving service to our congregation and broader community.
Right now, our community is at the very early stages of the viral outbreak. There is broad agreement in the medical community that COVID-19 will not be contained, but continue to spread across our country. There are likely many factors that have contributed towards its spread. Early studies have indicated people can be highly contagious before they are symptomatic. An individual may feel fine, going about normal life (e.g. going to church) while infecting others around them.
Consequently, the best time to slow down this virus’ spread is by taking preventative measures before there’s ever a confirmed case. By the time someone in our church contracts COVID-19, it’s already too late.
We have not made this decision out of fear or as a knee-jerk response, but as a strategic move to protect the vulnerable and ensure adequate healthcare capacity.
We believe it is both prudent and loving to err on the side of caution by doing everything we can right now to slow the spread of the disease.
And yet there’s still a great deal we do not know about the virus. For this reason, we believe it is prudent and loving to err on the side of caution by doing everything we can right now to slow the spread of the disease. This gives the medical community more time to better study and prepare for COVID-19.
For now this means suspending all large-group, in-person programming for at least a couple of weeks before more data can be obtained and more informed decisions can be made. The elder and security teams will continue to meet weekly with Drs. Park and Anderson to monitor the situation as it unfolds.
Leadership is working on a plan to ‘do church’ in smaller group settings. We hope to have a plan in place within the next week.
Continue to check our website for the most up-to-date information about the status of church events
You are invited to join us for our LIVE stream service as Pastor Ty discusses our situation and offers direction about the course forward.
A Pastoral Note
As Trinity leadership has been reflecting on this decision, we are both sad and hopeful. Sad because our large-group gatherings are precious events in the life of our church. Hopeful because we serve a big God who is calling us into a season of more intentional ministry.
We acknowledge that there could be a tendency to view our ‘deprogrammed’ ministry schedule as a form of church ‘lite’. But the opposite is true. We believe God is calling us to rise up and go deep with one another. And we are genuinely excited to see how God will use each of us to uniquely minister within the body during these challenging times.
We also realize that some of you may have strong objections to the decision we’ve made. Please know that we are open to hear your concerns and plan to address them in the days ahead. We may not have all the answers, but we are continually trying to make the best next decision in this very dynamic situation.
Please pray for us. And pray for our communities. Everything – COVID-19 included – is God’s servant (Ps. 119:91).