An important updated related to the COVID-19 protocols of Island Community Church in downtown Memphis, TN.
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Church Family,

I hope you're having a good day! I am writing today on behalf of our Elder Team to update you on our church's response to new COVID-19 recommendations from our city leadership. This week, we received new guidance this week from the Shelby County Health Department announcing a new 30-day period of mask requirement in our county.

As you probably know, COVID-19 continues to affect our community in many ways. This week alone, we have been contacted by many ICCers with personal stories related to the impact of COVID-19 in their life. Regardless of your personal views about this virus and the correct response to it, we should all recognize the extreme suffering across our community because of this virus. We must also remember the extreme sacrifice so many in our church are making to care well for people affected by COVID-19 (thank you again to all health care and front line workers!).  We continue to ask that you PRAY daily for our community and those serving our community so well. 

Before I announce our response with updated policies and protocols, I feel that it is important to give a reminder of why and how we've made COVID-19 decisions over this past year. 

Throughout this pandemic, we have chosen to willingly submit ourselves to government authority. While it was not required by law because of our status as a church, we believed the government to be (a) acting wisely (as best as they knew how) using data and expertise from the scientific and medical community and (b) acting in the interest of the public good (as best as they knew how).

Therefore, over the past year, we have chosen to use our freedoms (given by God and the USA) to submit to government (Romans 13:1-7) and also serve our neighbor (Galatians 5:13) . While these commitments have come with cost or loss, we have desired to be a church that would choose three things during the pandemic: TRUST, WISDOM, and SERVICE

While our church could have been divided by pandemic-related issues, that has not been our experience. Rather, we have been united in these three commitments: trust, wisdom, and service. I am so grateful. Thank you.  

Today, I want to announce that we will be, once again, will be  updating our COVID-19 policies and procedures. These new policies will be in place for the next 30 days (length of current SCHD directive) and then will be re-evaluated.

As your pastors, we believe it is good and important to gather together weekly and physically (in-person). These policies are not aimed to discourage anyone from attending. Rather, they are aimed to keep us safe while doing so. For everyone who is able, we hope you will continue to prioritize attending weekly worship while choosing to serve your neighbor in these ways.

Beginning this Sunday, August 22nd, our COVID-19 policies will be updated as follows.: 
  • We will require face coverings to be worn at our church gatherings at 721 North Parkway. New, disposable masks will be available at the door if you need one.
  • Face coverings and health screenings will continue to be required for all childcare workers in accordance to best practices and current recommendations.
  • The additional cleaning protocols implemented to help protect our church against the spread of COVID-19 will continue
  • Hand sanitizer stations will remain available for the immediate future 
  • Chairs in worship center will continue to be spaced for social distancing  
  • Communion will be served in your seat, rather than at the front of the room.  

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let us know. Let's continue to pray for God's mercy and protection for our church, community, country and world. Let's also continue to pray for our leaders. We love you so much! Can't wait to see you on Sunday!

With hope,

Barrett Bowden
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