May 19, 2020
Small Group Guidelines (May 18, 2020)
Dear Bethlehem Family (Members and Regular Attendees),
The announcement from Governor Walz last week that Minnesotans can now gather in groups of 10 or fewer raises the question of how to go about this with regard to Bethlehem small groups. We praise God for the ability to meet in person but also recognize the need to be wise and safe in the way we do this, and that individuals in the group could have different perspectives on what “wise and safe” means.
To help, Bethlehem is offering guidance to all official small groups, as well as other offsite small gatherings taking place. We do this not out of a spirit of fear or timidity, but rather out of a desire to love our neighbors as ourselves, to lay down our own rights and preferences for the sake of others, and to outdo one another in showing honor (Mark 12:31, Philippians 2:3–4, Romans 12:10). We may have disagreements amongst ourselves as to what is deemed necessary or unnecessary, and so this is a great opportunity for us to walk in humility, respect, and deference to the vulnerable as we work to establish the most loving way forward.
As you consider meeting face to face again in groups of 10 or fewer, Bethlehem recommends the following guidelines:
- Continue to follow the latest guidance from the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health on how to remain safe in small group gatherings.
- Continue to practice physical distancing of at least six feet when gathering, and meet outdoors whenever possible.
- Disinfect all commonly touched surfaces before the gathering and, when possible, continue to disinfect these surfaces during the gathering.
- Continue to wash hands often, cough and sneeze into your arm, and avoid hand-to-hand contact.
- Use caution when serving food. Consider catering meals or serving in pre-packaged containers.
- Consider wearing masks as you meet, especially if there are those in the group who are uncomfortable meeting without them.
- Consider providing a way for group members who are sick or otherwise unable to gather with you to connect through a Facetime call or other means.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to your campus leadership. We are happy to walk through these trying times with you.
Rejoicing in our shared hope in Christ and our ability to fellowship with one another in the Spirit,