Dear Valley Forge Church Family,
Over the past 5 months, we have tried to do our very best to navigate and guide our church through an uncharted and unprecedented worldwide pandemic. You have been very patient, respectful, and compliant with everything we have asked of you. For this, we sincerely thank you and appreciate your trust and help.
By now, we were all hoping things would be somewhat back to a “new normal”. Unfortunately, we find ourselves continuing an on-going fight against an invisible but real enemy. Carter County and the entire Northeast Tennessee region is experiencing an increase in the number of cases and the battle continues.
Our county is currently under a “mask mandate” which requires wearing a mask in public. As you may have already experienced, many businesses, venues, and public buildings in our area require masks before entering.
We realize this is a controversial subject with many different viewpoints and opinions. However, this is not a time for debate or division. In fact, there has never been a more important time for us to come together as a church family and get through this for the sake of our physical and spiritual health.
With the increase of COVID19 cases in our community, many churches, schools, businesses, and families have been directly affected by this disease and Valley Forge is no exception. With this in mind and after much thought and prayer, our church leadership is in total agreement to require wearing masks or facial coverings at all times while attending onsite or in-person services and classes/small groups effective immediately.
Since re-opening last month, we have strongly recommended wearing masks. Since then, the situation has worsened and we now must require wearing a mask from the time you enter the building, during the service / class, and until you leave the building. Also, and in accordance with the Carter County Mayor’s mandate, masks should cover the nose and mouth and be worn by everyone 12 years of age and older. This mandate states that houses of worship can require wearing a face covering which we feel is best for on-site services at this time.
Masks will be provided at entrances for those who do not have one. For those who cannot wear a mask for any reason, we have a designated area in the lower level of the main building where socially distanced seating and a livestream of the service will be provided. If you cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition or safety risk, we highly recommend watching online for the time being as this is most likely the safest option for you.
Remember … failure to comply and work together on this puts us and everyone else in a very difficult position and could possibly force us to discontinue the onsite service option and return to online only.
Please pass this information on to those who may not have online access. Also, please review and continue to abide by the guidelines (July 12, 2020) that have been in effect since we re-opened for in-person services. They are available on our website, app, and weekly bulletin. The only change is the recommendation to wear a mask is now a requirement. Thank you for your cooperation, patience, and prayers … WE LOVE OUR CHURCH!
The Leadership of Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church