COVID-19 UPDATES

COVID-19 UPDATES

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.

Why?

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.

What now?

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).