Re-gathering

Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others  Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves  Don't look out for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too- Philippians 2:3-4.

Over the next few weeks and months, we will have numerous opportunities to put this Scripture into practice. We've talked about this before; whether you believe this is a government conspiracy or the Black Death, we are called to love one another. We have an amazing church body at WestWay, and are counting on you to be patient, kind, and graceful with those who feel differently than you. Please follow the guidelines so we can make everyone's re-gathering experience a great one; we're all in this together!

One of the most exciting things that's taking place during this time is seeing the church- the people, not the building- reach out and proclaim Jesus as Lord. Even though we are quarantined, the Good News is not. You are going out and loving, serving, and giving...not just to those within the body of faith, but to those who do not know Christ. You're speaking encouraging words and giving life by pointing to Jesus. And, since we've moved online, we've been able to connect with people who've never set foot in the door of our building, much less that of any other church. We love it.

This all makes us more eager to re-gather. As you know, Nebraska is opening up and this brings up lots of questions about church gatherings. What can you expect from us over the next few weeks and months?

Phase 1- Communication and Facility-Prep is coming to a close. We’ve been praying and discussing as leaders and staff, readying our plan, having conversations with local health officials, and cleaning the building. We have plenty of supplies on hand.

Phase 2- On-site Watch Party begins this Sunday (May 24) and continues on May 31. Join us at the WestWay building on these Sundays at 10:15am; we'll be watching the same content people at home will see online at 10:15. We're doing this for 3 reasons: not everyone will be able to come to the building and we want to be unified as a body. And, we want to ensure the same level of quality and consistency you've seen online over the past two months.

We're following the Guidelines for the Conduct of Faith-Based services as provided by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with Panhandle Health, and Federal guidelines. You will help others feel welcome and safe by following them:

First and foremost, if you are not feeling well, please stay home.  If you are in an "at risk" category, please stay home and watch online. 

The Parking Lot

  • We'll greet you in the Parking Lot with the goal of getting you into the building, then seated in the auditorium as quickly as possible. Please maintain social-distancing of at least 6 feet between families.
  • The building will open at 9:45 for those attending the 1015.

The Building

  • The only “open” portions of the building will be: the lobby, lobby restrooms, and auditorium. The rest of the building will be closed.
  • Due to social-distancing (6 feet distance between family groups), we cannot congregate in the lobby. We'll have "greeters and seaters" (see below) to help you enter the building quickly and be seated in the auditorium.
  • The Building will open to those serving at 9:15- social distancing to be observed.
  • The Building will open at 9:45 for those attending the 1015. Please do not wait until 10:10 to come to the building! Come early, talk with your friends outside and from 6 feet away, and be patient as we seat everyone.

The Auditorium

  • There will be no bulletin, BYOB- Bring your Own Bible/Journal/Pen, etc.
  • Entrance into the Auditorium will be through the South Lobby door.
  • We'll seat you by family units, one family per row, every other row empty. The exception will be singles and couples, separated by 6 feet.
  • As you enter the Auditorium, please take the pre-packaged communion elements with you to your seat.
  • We'll be reserving tables for families with small children. We'll have some activity sheets on them, please bring your own markers, crayons, colors, etc.
  • Please, practice social distancing. There are many people who are concerned about this. This is a great opportunity to honor one another.
  • Please, no physical touch. This includes hugs, handshaking, fist-bumping, and holy kisses.
  • We'll have our gathering, sing songs, pray, hear the message, and take communion. Offering can be placed in the boxes in back as you leave. We'll also have a time for discussion about the message as many of you have been doing in your homes. We encourage you to stay for this!
  • We’ll dismiss by rows through one exit, the North lobby door. Please don't gather in the lobby or under the awning; keep in mind social distancing guidelines and those who want to leave quickly. Remember, this is an opportunity to honor others.

A few other things:

  • Masks will be recommended and encouraged, but not required. While we will have SOME, please bring your own.
  • We’ll have plenty of hand sanitizer and chem wipes available. If you use the restroom, please use them and wipe down whatever you use and touch.
  • No children’s ministry, nursery, or on-site Sunday School until further notice. We are hoping to phase these things in over Summer.
  • The coffee area is closed until further notice, but feel free to bring your own coffee.
  • Because of social distancing requirements, we cannot run the van.

Our hope is to begin Phase 3 on Sunday, June 7. We want to transition to being "live" at 1015 on Sunday mornings. This is dependent on nothing changing regarding guidelines. We will continue to provide online content for those unable to attend in person. At this point, ALL of the above guidelines and procedures will be in place.

Phase 4 is what we're simply calling "Re-Gathered" and this will take place when all of our body is ready to gather in our building. We'll see small groups, children's and student ministries, Sunday School classes and other events taking place here at the building.

WestWay is not dependent on the building; the building is not the church...we are. And as we move to re-gathering we must continue to be the church. The quarantined world is watching us; they are seeing how we act, speak and think. We want to encourage you to continue to connect with one another on the phone, build relationships via Zoom, and find new ways to connect. We are re-gathering soon, and we've never stopped being the church.

We love you, are praying with you and for you. We're excited to re-gather!

Prayer

We have such a tremendous opportunity to go before God during this time and lift up our community, nation and world in prayer. We'd love for you to pray in these and other ways

  • Pray for our leaders, national, state, and local. They are facing unprecedented challenges 
  • Pray for our church leaders. They are working hard to faithfully lead during this time. There will be things they get right, and things they miss.
  • Pray for healthcare workers.
  • Pray for the people who would be receiving food from our cancelled Food Pack.
  • Pray for patience, mercy, and grace for one another as we engage our community in new ways.
  • Pray for children and students who are out of school. Many children and students depend on our school system to provide meals. A school closing is not vacation and will cause much anxiety and uncertainty in our community.
  • REMEMBER- God is in charge. This has not caught Him off guard. This is a huge opportunity for us to remain calm, hopeful, and to demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to a world that clearly needs it.