[toggle]Over the past few months, many of us have been waiting for the moment that our churches reopen their doors and we can gather together again in person. As many states slowly begin the process of reopening, churches face a new kind of challenge: deciding when and how to return to their buildings and, once there, how to adapt traditional practices for ongoing safety. [/toggle]

先週、HDI(Humanitarian Disaster Institute、ホイートン大学の人道災害研究所)は全米福音協会と共催で、「いつ、どうやって教会を再開すべきか」というトピックのオンライン・セミナーの第1回を開催した。専門家が対話集会のかたちで集まり、この新たなフェーズに入る中で湧(わ)き上がる疑問に答え、対話した。出席者は以下の5人だ。

[toggle]Last week, HDI held our first in a series of webinars on the topic of Considering When and How to Reopen Your Church, in partnership with the National Association of Evangelicals. We gathered a team of experts in a Town Hall format to frame the conversation and speak directly to the pressing questions as we enter this new phase, including: [/toggle]


[toggle]Dr. Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia[/toggle]


[toggle]Pastor Michael Henderson, vice president of national ministries, Converge Worldwide[/toggle]


[toggle]Dr. Nicolette Louissaint, executive director, Healthcare Ready and former Senior Advisor to the State Department’s Special Coordinator for Ebola[/toggle]


[toggle]Rev. Dr. Miriam Burnett, founder and president of Resources and Promotion Health Alliance, Inc., pastor of Historic Jones Tabernacle AME Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and leader of the Health and Healing Guidepost Committee and Disaster Preparedness and Response Committee for the Philadelphia Annual Conference[/toggle]


[toggle]Christopher Nelson, Director of Business Development at Gloo[/toggle]


[toggle]They helped us to start thinking about how we might approach how and when to start to reopen our churches. Here are some of the their insights on the most important things churches need to consider as they make decisions on when and how to reopen: [/toggle]


[toggle]We need to consider challenges theologically. [/toggle]



[toggle] “The guideline to reopen is not the same as a command to reopen. If it’s a guideline and not a mandate, then we need some further principles to help govern our thinking. I encourage us to read Romans 13 which deals with governing authorities and obeying our governing authorities, and the second section, which talks about ‘love does no harm to the neighbor.’ One of the principles we’re going to have to consider as we reopen is being right before God with the best information we have available. We need to follow government recommendations and also go beyond and seriously think about the mandate not to do harm to others. [/toggle]




[toggle]I know the church I lead right now will have very different sensibilities among congregants. I would encourage us to think about the principle of love as an expression of preserving the conscience and sensitivities of others. It may be okay for us to open up, but if we are putting others in a place of insecurity, of vulnerability, then we need to seriously consider our responsibilities to other members of our church that may not be ready to open up. It’s a very complicated thing to live out the command to love. It’s easy to say it’s about love, but living it out is nuanced and it requires a lot of humility and dialogue in order to fulfill.” — Dr. Walter Kim[/toggle]



[toggle]NEW: Guide to Reopening Church Services[/toggle]


[toggle]There are no one-size-fits-all prescriptions when it comes to reopening church buildings; every church has its own unique context that needs to be considered. That’s why we’ve developed a new manual, Guide to Reopening Church Services: A Step-by-Step Biblically-Based and Research-Based Approach to Resuming In-Person Ministries, which you can download free now at reopeningthechurch.com, our new website in partnership with the National Association of Evangelicals. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be adding resources and information to help your church navigate this process. [/toggle]


[toggle]We also invite you to join us for our free ongoing weekly webinar series where we will continue to explore these questions together. [/toggle]


[toggle]We need to consider how our decisions will impact vulnerable populations. [/toggle]


[toggle] “What about African-Americans, African diaspora, all across the world who are still dealing with health inequities, which have made as many as 80% of a population more vulnerable? How do we deal with our seniors who are the ones that are going to drive the issue, but also cannot deal with the things that we have to do in order to prepare our sanctuaries as well as make sure that we are maintaining them?” — Rev. Dr. Miriam Burnett[/toggle]


[toggle] “The pandemic, or any other disaster, does not impact everyone equally because the system does not impact everyone equally. So when we’re thinking about who is already vulnerable and who could be made more vulnerable in the reopening process and what does that actually mean for their lives—what does it mean for someone to be able to rejoin communion with one another in a way that is safe and in a way that actually augments and improves their overall health and doesn’t take away from it?” — Dr. Nicolette Louissaint[/toggle]



[toggle]We need to consider input from our people. [/toggle]


[toggle] “How do we know the state of our church? Almost weekly—hourly—things are changing. We started with the Pastor Poll a few weeks back, asking pastors, ‘How are you?’ And we’ve had thousands of responses each week. It’s been fascinating to see what’s important now, and then also what’s coming, by asking some of these questions. When we started analyzing data based on size of the church, we really started seeing some differences based on the average worship attendance and what churches were doing based on their size.” — Christopher Nelson[/toggle]


「クリスチャニティー・トゥデイ」(Christianity Today)は、1956年に伝道者ビリー・グラハムと編集長カール・ヘンリーにより創刊された、クリスチャンのための定期刊行物。96年、ウェブサイトが開設されて記事掲載が始められた。雑誌は今、500万以上のクリスチャン指導者に毎月届けられ、オンラインの購読者は1000万に上る。