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. We received new guidance this week from the Shelby County Health Department that leads us to an updated protocol.

Please remember how we've made COVID-19 decisions over this past year.  Throughout this pandemic, we have chosen to willingly submit ourselves to government authority and requirements. 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).

This is why, over the past year, we made many willing commitments and ministry adaptations to follow our local government authorities and health recommendations - including our most recent mask requirements over the last few months during the rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant. While these commitments have often come with great heartache and sacrifice for our church family and ministry, we have desired to be a church that would choose three things during the pandemic: TRUST, WISDOM, and SERVICE. I am so thankful of our church’s posture and position throughout the pandemic. I am so grateful for God’s grave that has sustained and unified us to this point. 

Today, I want to announce that we will be, once again, updating our COVID-19 policies and procedures in response to the most recent health directive. While these changes are effective immediately, we will continue in our commitment to keep our posture & policies submitted and flexible to best recommendations moving forward. 

Beginning this Sunday, October 31st, our COVID-19 policies will be updated as follows: 
  • We will no longer require face coverings to be worn at church events, functions, and property - whether indoors or outdoors. Instead, face coverings will be optional based on current guidance.
  • If you need help making a personal decision on mask use, you can see the latest Shelby County Health Department and CDC guidance for a list of current recommendations.
  • Face coverings will continue to be required for all childcare workers in accordance to best practices and current recommendations (Shelby Count mask requirement is remaining in place for schools). The primary reason is related to the fact that children of young age cannot yet be vaccinated, self-regulate social distancing and/or be able to wear their own face covering.  
  • In general, 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

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. Can't wait to see you on Sunday! 

With hope,

Barrett Bowden
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