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Coronavirus/Covid 19 Updates

August 26, 2021 Update
As things change, again, we continue to use the guiding principles from 18 months ago to inform our practices as a church when it comes to Covid-19. As a reminder, those are:
  • Have a great testimony to our community. (Colossians. 4:5) 
  • Honor our authorities and government leaders. (Romans 13:1-6)
  • Act in medically safe and responsible ways. (Philippians 2: 3-4)
  • Be flexible and realize all our plans are tentative. (James 4: 14-15) 
As the Covid case numbers are at an all-time high and our hospitals are full, we are choosing to continue to follow the CDC, state and county guidelines regarding safe medical and social practices. These guidelines can be summarized in this way:

  • Wear masks indoors in public spaces no matter your vaccination status. For RVCC, this would be Sunday mornings and other large indoor gatherings for those over 5 years of age.
  • Masks are optional outdoors, in small private gatherings, or when alone. For RVCC, this would mean small groups in homes or at the building, staff meetings, counseling, and outdoor events, etc.
  • Exemptions include a medical or mental health condition that prevents mask wearing and children under 5 years old. For RVCC, these apply fully.

Philippians 2:1-5 compels us to put others first and protect the vulnerable. Wearing a mask is one of the ways we do that. Conversely, not wearing a mask certainly does not somehow rise to the level of necessary civil disobedience. In fact, we need to keep our children in school for their mental and emotional health and getting case numbers down by engaging in responsible and science-based practices will help to do that.  Having said that, it’s emotionally hard to feel like we’re going backwards! Our staff feels the weight of the gut-punch involved in wearing masks again. It’s certainly not our preference, and it hasn’t been easy to try and figure out how to change our approach once again, but we have a mission to fulfill and that laying down our lives for others is the highest calling, so we forge on doing the next right thing.
May 19, 2021 Update
Our leadership has come to some important conclusions regarding the federal, state and local guidelines regarding Covid-19, masking, distancing and resuming activities. We looked at many perspectives and used the latest research and data to inform our conclusions. I’m proud of our process and our staff for their work and conversations. The following new RVCC guidelines will be in effect beginning this Sunday, May 23.  We hope to see you at one of our physical locations!
Masks & Distancing
Masks and distancing are optional for fully vaccinated people in worship services, community groups, meetings, events, classes, rehearsals, and other gatherings. For those unable or choosing not to receive a vaccine, masks and distancing are recommended. For those unable to wear a mask, distancing is encouraged. Wearing a mask and physically distancing is a way of honoring and protecting others, and we are counting on the personal integrity and honest character of our church family to abide by this guidance.

Students & Kids Ministries
Masks and distancing are still encouraged for Student and Kid's Ministry locations and programming, for participants and leaders alike. However, we respect the physical and mental health decisions of each family for themselves and their children, and we ask you to do that as well.  

The Most Vulnerable
The most vulnerable population in our society is shifting from those who are at risk from Covid-related health issues to those who are at risk from mental, spiritual and relational health issues. Put another way, we worked hard to protect those over 60 for the first ten months of the pandemic. And rightly so. Now, the data and evidence support the fact that those under 18 are the most vulnerable population for reasons primarily related to mental and long-term emotional health reasons. We need to prioritize our children and young people by allowing them to participate in ministry activities without fear of judgement or shame.  

Every Family Must Decide
Parents and families will make different decisions and there will be multiple reasonable approaches. Keeping kids and students away from indoor social situations will be a sound, science-based decision for some parents who will take a more cautious approach toward Covid-related health concerns. Other parents will also be just as grounded in solid data by allowing children to participate in more normal activities with their friends, teammates, teachers, schools and extended family. There is no risk-free option.  

Respecting The Decisions of Others
RVCC is a judgement-free zone, without any hint of shaming, questioning of rationale or assumptions of motives. We have people in the RVCC family that will be in all places on the spectrum regarding the reopening, the propensity to wear masks, and the desire or ability to receive a vaccine. Inquiring whether someone has received a vaccine or not is not appropriate, as that is a personal medical decision.

Everyone Is Welcome!
We’re going to continue to trust you to assume positive intent and make decisions to put others first in our church family. We will continue to be a place where everyone is welcome, and no judgement will be made regarding another person’s choices. 
November 18, 2020 Update
By now, you are likely aware of the guidelines that were put in place this week regarding Covid-19 in the state of Washington over the next four weeks.  The guidelines that recently came out do not require significant changes to our approach to our Sunday morning services.  The bottom line is that because we were already using the five guiding principles that our leadership put in place earlier this year to shape our decisions, it puts us in a great place here in November.  
Here's a recap of our guiding principals in this season:
  1. The church was never closed, only the building has been. (1 Cor. 12: 27) 
  2. Have a great testimony to our community. (Col 4:5)
  3. Honor our authorities and government leaders. (Romans 13: 1-6)
  4. Act in medically safe and responsible ways. (Philippians 2: 3-4)
  5. Be flexible and realize all our plans are tentative. (James 4: 14-15)
We will continue to gather for worship services at both of our physical locations in Graham and Parkland, with no reservations required, in our masked-up and physically-distanced environments.  It’s been good to be together for worship, regular live teaching, communion, fellowship and serving opportunities. You are all still invited and welcome to attend!  Of course, our online campus is always a great option, as we continue to grow and learn how to offer that environment for our friends that are staying home for now.
September 29, 2020 Update
Mid-September 2020 Update
This Summer we enjoyed an outdoor prayer gathering, two outdoor praise nights, and an awesome Serve Sunday event. This month we added two in-person services, one weekend at each campus, which allowed us to work out a few more kinks towards re-gathering consistently. All of these events since March have followed local health and safety guidelines so things looked a little different, but we've loved every opportunity to gather in person.

Re-Launching in October
As of October 4, we are offering two services, 9:00 and 10:30, at both campuses of RVCC each week. We will still have space limitations so reservations are required each week. These services won’t be completely back to pre-Covid normal, because we still value your health and safety, but we’re excited to get back to the weekly rhythm of being together and hope you are as well! To help take care of all who attend in person, we've purchased commercial grade filters and ionizers to upgrade our air handling systems to make them as safe as possible. We also have new disinfecting and sanitizing equipment and protocols that will be used before and after services. Gathering within the current guidelines and the contactless nature of the morning means that some things may continue to look and feel a bit different, but our goal is to make our in-person experience as normal as possible while making your health and safety our priority. The morning will include worshiping together in most of the ways you would expect – through singing, a message, communion, and giving. The best part is that we’ll be together!

RVCC Online is Here to Stay
Having said that, if you're not ready to meet in person, don't worry! Our online options are not going away. It's been our desire for a long time to offer an online service option and Covid-19 forced us to begin turning that dream into reality. We're still working out exactly what our online presence will look like as it develops, but it's here to stay and will only get better.

As a staff, we are committed to your spiritual, emotional and physical health. We are, and have been, attempting to shepherd RVCC members and attenders as whole persons. It hasn’t been easy. The road before us remains difficult, but that’s also the case for you as well. You’ve had to adjust in ways unimaginable as we started 2020. We’re all doing hard things. Let’s continue to do life together…and perhaps for some of you, together AND in-person!  But let’s remember to let self-sacrifice, unity, and love lead the way.  
July 2020 Update
June 2020 Update
This morning, in our one-billionth Zoom call over the last 3 months, one of our staff reminded us of 2 Peter 3:8, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” I did the math, and it’s been 85,000 days since The Quarantine started. I know. Somehow that didn’t help me feel any better about it either.

As you know, the state guidelines for churches were revised last week. As I write this on Thursday afternoon, Pierce County still has not been approved for Phase 2, although the application was submitted on Monday. Perhaps we’ll know something soon, maybe even as you’re reading this. Many of you are probably wondering if the new guidelines make a difference in when and how RVCC might gather in some way again. Our staff was wondering the same thing, so we met and here’s the update, hot off the press.

Our staff and elders continue to use the same general principles that I outlined two weeks ago in the short video below. To be fully aware of our operational philosophy on reopening, I suggest watching that video if you haven't already. In short, we are still basing our decisions on the fact that RVCC is open, effective, agile, safe, honoring, excellent, free, accessible, without fear, and most of all, biblical. Those were all true pre-Covid, and remain true today. The virus didn’t change any of that.

We’re in the midst of robust discussions about some programming that will be available to us in Phase 2, and those discussions will be ongoing. We know for sure that our quality virtual services will continue, because not everyone will be able to join a live in-person gathering right away, and because it’s become a very effective tool for ministry.

We do know that Phase 2 would allow for only 50 people at a time indoors in our buildings. Usually, when people think about meeting again on Sundays, they don't realize what that limitation would actually look like. Allow me to paint a picture of what only 50 people at a time, while following recommended guidelines, would mean for a Sunday service.
In the days leading up to a service, you’ll have to pre-register and get a ‘ticket’ to a particular service - one of twelve 50-person gatherings that we’ll be having throughout the day, six at each campus. On Sunday, you’ll arrive at your appointed service slot sometime between 9:00am and 4:00pm, depending on how quick you were to click through when registration opened. As you leave your car, you put on your mask with plans to wear it for the next hour, because masks are required the entire time you’re on the church property. As you walk through the door that is propped open, you’ll step up to a table where you sign in, just in case someone arrives with the virus and we need to contact trace everyone who was at your service. You walk straight through the second set of propped doors without shaking hands, giving hugs, or seeing smiles, but you wave at a couple of friends who won the same lottery ticket as you did for a service time. There’s no coffee, no hanging out in the foyer, no water fountain, but the bathrooms are open, so that’s good! You squirt a dollop of hand sanitizer and snag a connection card on your way into a big auditorium that is 20% full. You find a row that isn’t taped off and figure out how to make sure you’re at least 6’ apart from the next closest person. Your kids and grandkids stay with you, of course, because there’s no way to offer programming for children who don’t know the meaning of physical distancing. You sing through a mask, listen to a great message, and receive communion after standing in line, again 6’ apart (just like the grocery store with those lines on the floor.) The message and music may or may not be on video, because our teaching members and worship team can’t preach and sing six times in one day! On your way out, we’ll ask you to sanitize the chairs you used and leave promptly because we need to get the building cleaned and prepped for the next service.
Well, that just sounds delightful.

So, if we’re not having Sunday services in Phase 2, what might we do? Glad you asked! We’re creatively thinking about some 50 and 100-person options for gathering, primarily outdoors and for various purposes, and we’ll likely have more specificity next week on those plans. In the meantime, groups will be able to expand a little bit if you want to gather that way. We would recommend you remain outdoors, but the guidelines will allow you to be with five other people (not in your current quarantine ‘tribe’) at your homes. So perhaps your community group will want to figure out ways to be together, or you can gather for RVCC Online services with a small group, or have some much needed fellowship (barbecue anyone?) on your deck or in the backyard. Of course, the ‘pandemic parade’ has always been an option for honking, waving, sign holding, smiling and shouting encouragement to each other. (Our grad parade is June 17th, check our website for details.) We encourage you to brainstorm and dream about how to safely expand your ability to be together when Phase 2 arrives!

That’s the update for today. Wait an hour and it may change, though, so we’re leaning in to the superpower of agility. If you have specific questions, please contact us. We all miss you more than you know!

- Rusty
March, 2020 - Our Church Plan
Based on the recommendations of the local, state and federal health professionals, we are also doing our part to limit the spread and effects of the Coronavirus, Covid-19.

What that means is that our buildings are not open, and any groups and events that usually meet at our buildings have been postponed or suspended. Many events will be rescheduled when we have a time for gatherings to be permitted again. Though our church staff continues to work, both church office are closed until we can open again to the public.

Sunday Worship – can be found each week at RVCC Online. If you are signed up for church emails, we’ll send an email each Saturday evening with a link, or you can visit  rainierview.org/rvcconline.
Kids Ministry - We've built a page called Base Camp Online with the videos and lessons for Pre-K and Elementary so that families can share Sunday fully with their children.
Student Ministry - Middle and High School Students will also be able to find a weekly video at Altitude Online.
Giving - Remember that we are 100% dependent on the biblical giving and generosity of each of you. Though we won't be meeting together, our expenses will remain steady. If you haven't already, this would be a great time to set up online giving so that your giving can continue uninterrupted.
Community Dinner – Community dinner is continuing at Parkland on Monday evenings at 6:00pm. This meets a practical community need, and they have modified the program to meet the guidelines by serving boxed meals instead of plated dinners around tables.
Community Groups/Small Groups - It is our hope that Community Groups and other small groups will be creative and find ways to continue meeting online using one of the many platforms available (Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Go To Meeting, etc.).  
Daily Devotion - We have started a daily devotion time on Facebook Live at noon each weekday. Join us there to be encouraged.
Do you need assistance? – We’d like to know that too! If you need to stay home, but need grocery delivery or other assistance, use this form to let us care for you.

Though things look very different right now, our mission as a church HAS NOT CHANGED! The Coronavirus will not stop us from pursuing God, engaging in community and making a difference. There have been some innovative ways to live out those strategies, and we want to urge you to keep thinking creatively and strategically about how to walk daily with Jesus and His people, and how to serve others in a crisis situation. We're already looking forward to the ways God will use you and the stories you’ll tell!
- RVCC Staff