COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 Response

We are closely monitoring the situation with the COVID-19 Virus and are committed to your health and safety, as well as the safety and health of our staff and teams. We will not make decisions based on fear, and know that God is in control. We are here for you and your families and are standing in prayer for God’s Hand to move.

We will post updates to our schedule and more here, along with our social media pages.

Building and Staff

Building use is limited to groups of 25 or less as well as limited in area access.  Sunday morning protocols apply to weekday onsite building use.  Many of our staff is still working remotely.  We appreciate your patience and understanding.  The best way to contact staff will be via email: Staff Emails

Pastoral Care Emergencies: (919) 283-2682 | Submit Prayer Requests

June 24, 2020 | 3:00pm

Most of us are dying to be together again in worship. And I use those words on purpose. We are dying to be together. Why? Because apartness is lame. You and I need each other. “It’s not good for the man to be alone.” (Gen 2:18)

It’s true. Babies who aren’t held from birth do not thrive. People denied words of love from a distant parent face emotional problems as adults. Separation is not good for us. Also, we are the church! And the church is a body. We are many parts who make up the one whole body. We need each other. We thrive with each other. So, we will regather. But be assured, we are doing so carefully.

Below you’ll find the guidelines developed by our ReGathering Team. Following the best available medical information, the doctors and leaders on this team have agreed that we can safely worship together if we all agree to follow these parameters.

Some of you may feel you’re more vulnerable, or regathering may seem premature from your vantage point. If either of those is true, that’s absolutely okay. We need to have grace for one another. Part of being a body means we don’t always view these non-essentials the same way! But please do participate with us in the online service that will continue to be offered. Again, we’re meant to be as together as we can be. | Rev. Eric J. Bolash

May 27, 2020 | 2:00pm

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I’m writing you on Memorial Day from Riverhaven, Bishop Steve and Sally’s vacation home on the Neuse River near Oriental, where Nancy and I have retreated for a week with our son’s family from Nashville-the first time we’ve seen grandchildren in the flesh since January. Just being here with the little boys and our new granddaughter has done wonders for our spirits. After ten weeks of shelter-at-home, we were ready for a change of scenery, even though we have weathered Coronavirus season well, as we’ve all pivoted together and figured out how to be and do church together these past weeks. I thank God for our wonderful staff and leaders, and for all of you; I think we will look back on this difficult season one day and see the ways our faith grew, not to mention our love for one another. We will see, I’m sure, how what I described in Sunday’s sermon was true: that God works in all things for our good-to make us more like Jesus.

You don’t need me to remind you that we all have felt the loss of connecting through worship in person-sharing the Eucharist, united song and prayer, being with friends and church family. As capable as the team has been able to launch online worship each week, it’s not the same. Our longing to reconnect as the Body of Christ in our sanctuary runs deep. As fun as it may be to worship in our pajamas, I know you all do not want to settle for that for a protracted future.

Now that certain restrictions are being lifted or relaxed, it’s time to sort out the next steps for us as a church: how and when can we regather. There are many details to consider. I want you to know there is a planning process in place and a ReGathering Team to lead the way. I’ve asked Michael Mangum to lead the team. I’ll let him introduce himself and the rest of the team and say a word about the planning process.

Thanks, Art. I confess to being a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of co-leading this process alongside Art and team. While I have over a decade of experience in occupational health and safety (specifically addressing how to reduce and/or eliminate exposure to respiratory hazards in the workplace), the responsibility of crafting a plan for Apostles to safely regather feels weighty. As such, I know I speak for the entire team in coveting your prayers that we work in unity as we are guided by the wisdom of His Spirit.

The team is broad and diverse; it represents a combination of clergy, staff, Leadership Council, and subject matter experts. In addition to Art and myself, its members include:

Bryon Boulton, Frank Shell, Curt Blazier (Leadership Council)
Lee Hilts, Laura Witter (Staff)
Andy Alspaugh, Shannon Meeks, Lee Garrett (Medical Advisory)
Mark Hall, Liz Hamner (Change Management)

We are already at work reviewing guidance from Bishop Steve as well as the plans and recommendations of other dioceses, parishes, and public health agencies. Our goal is to develop Apostles-specific health protocols plan for presentation to the Leadership Council at its June 3rd meeting. Once approved, we expect a few weeks of logistical preparations with the prospect of a late June/early July date for that joyous Sunday! Know also that no specific regathering date has been targeted; rather, the focus is on assuring a safe environment to worship irrespective of how long that takes.

Expect to hear updates from us no-less-frequently than every two weeks. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Lee Hilts: lee@apostles-raleigh.org.

Blessings and Peace,
Art & Michael

May 14, 2020 | 3:00pm

In light of the most recent recommendations of our governing officials, Church of the Apostles is making the following decisions and recommendations:

1. Church building will remain closed until May 31. | Our building remains closed and building use continues to be limited to church staff only and only if necessary. We will assess, in due time, re-opening the building in accordance with local and state guidance and the advice of our COVID-19 Advisory Team.

2. Sunday Morning Worship will continue online as is. | We will continue to provide online worship service videos and resources each week.

2. Off-Site Gatherings | Per the North Carolina Phase 1 recommendations, we are permitting ministry meetings of up to 10 people. After discussion with our advisory team, we would recommend the following practices for any in person gatherings:

  • Meet outdoors and maintain social distancing recommendations.
  • Include a virtual option. There are many in our congregation who cannot meet due to being in an at-risk population or the need to maintain quarantine (i.e., healthcare professionals). Continue using a virtual method to include them in your fellowship.
  • Here is an example of such a gathering where a Community Group met outdoors and had a video call option for members who could not attend in person:

We desire connection of our church body as much as possible and as safely as possible. We still encourage reaching out to those in our community by phone call and video conferencing, as much as possible. We have seen the wonderful ways our ministry groups, from children to adults, have stayed connected virtually. While we all long to gather together again, staying home is still the best way to slow the spread of the virus.

March 26, 2020 | 4:00pm

Dear Friends,

Are you remembering that we live in an unshakable kingdom, that we have each other, and that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and for ever?  Clinging to those promises is more important than ever amid the daily shifting of instructions and restrictions, the mounting statistics of those who have contracted the virus, and our own challenges of adjusting to work at home, tending children now in virtual classrooms, and dealing with the emotional stressors and anxiety.  We will be fervent in praying for one another.  And we will keep discovering how to live into the mandate form last Sunday’s Hebrews reading: Let the family continue to care for one another.

I’m so grateful for the dedicated doctors and nurses and other health care professionals who are on the front line of this crisis, often at great personal risk.  Many of them are facing the likelihood (or even current reality) of having to isolate themselves from family members when they get home, having been potentially (or actually) exposed to the virus at work. Please keep praying for everyone who, on our behalf, is unavoidably vulnerable.  We have also been blessed by the good, up-to-date counsel of the small advisory team helping us adjust our response as a church-in keeping with governmental directives and the best medical insight.

We will not physically gather again as a congregation for public worship until at least May 17.  Apart from individual staff working in rotation at the church, there will be no gatherings or meetings of any size at the church or offsite.  We encourage each of you to adhere to the stay-at-home and distancing guidelines set before us by government officials.  It saddens us all, of course, to know that we will have to forego Holy Week and Easter celebrations together physically.  But we are hard at work planning for online celebrations. And, whenever we are ~ physically ~ back together for the first time, we will celebrate Easter!

Rejoice in the Lord always!
Art+

March 18, 2020 | 10:00am

For the foreseeable future, we will not be meeting for worship gatherings on-site.  We are working on providing at-home worship resources for you each week.  All other official Apostles gatherings from today until March 31 will not be meeting as scheduled.  Building use is limited to church staff only and only if necessary.  We will assess, in due time, whether we can reschedule these events and re-open the building in accordance with the lifting of Governor Cooper’s Executive Order and the advice of our COVID-19 Advisory Team.  Video message from Dr. Andy Alspaugh.


What about off-site small group gatherings? 
In light of the recent presidential recommendation to limit groups to no more than 10 people, Community Groups and small groups should refrain from meeting in person until further notice.  During this small group hiatus, we want you to be well-equipped. Our staff is currently working on resources which we will make available to Community Group and ministry leaders.

How can we serve? Our staff and Missions Team are coordinating with our local Mission Partners and other organizations to help our community.  We will make you aware of church-wide opportunities as the needs arise.  We are also working to stay connected with those at-risk or of greater need in our congregation.

March 13, 2020 | 7:00PM

As concerns increase this week surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are committed to doing whatever we can to provide a safe environment to our church family.

To that end, our pastoral staff has recently appointed a team, consisting of staff members and medical professionals from our church, to monitor this situation more directly. This team has been meeting to assess the current public health news and policy updates issued by the CDC and other appropriate agencies, applying their recommendations to our current situation.

While God has not given us a spirit of fear, he has called us to love our neighbors and to contribute to the welfare of our community. Exercising caution is not merely wise, but is a tangible way of expressing love toward others.

In light of the recommendations of our governing officials, Church of the Apostles is making the following decisions and recommendations:

  1. Weekend Services and Activities Cancelled – March 14, 15 and 22

All weekend activities on Saturday and Sunday (3/14, 3/15, 3/22) have been cancelled which includes the Heartbeat of Apostles gathering, worship services, Sunday school and The Deal.  We are working on “at-home worship” resources which will be made available tomorrow (3/14).

Canceling these services was a difficult decision, but we have been guided by two principles: 1) Honoring our governing officials (Romans 13:1), who have urged extreme caution, and 2) loving our neighbors (Luke 10:27), many of whom, like the elderly or those with prior medical conditions, are particularly vulnerable.

We will continue to assess the situation throughout this week and will communicate a decision regarding worship gatherings on March 29th and beyond as new information comes to light.

  1. Other Gatherings and Events

Any communal gatherings of 25 people or more meeting at Apostles between today and Sunday, March 22 will not be meeting on-site as scheduled.  Our staff will be contacting Bible study and other ministry leaders with alternative ways to stay in community, care for and pray with one another virtually or in smaller numbers.

Some of these events will be canceled altogether, while others will be postponed. We will continue to evaluate the situation to assess which events fall in which category.

We encourage our Community Groups to continue to meet. They may, for a while, be the frontline of our continuing to be the Body of Christ. Consider using the materials we provide to worship as a group. Spend extra time in prayer: for wise leadership, for compassion and creativity in loving our neighbors, for the health and safety of our church family, friends and family members. Encourage one another by reminding each other of God’s provision and promises.

Staff will continue to maintain normal office hours. We want to be available to address ministry needs and pastoral care concerns as they arise. If you need to contact one of our pastors for prayer or pastoral care, do not hesitate to do so.  Pastoral Care Emergencies: 919-283-2682

We recognize that this is a dynamic situation with constant new information and updates.  We will continue to provide updates on social media, via email, and on our website as needed.

  1. Action

We are actively discussing the best ways to love both our community and our people in this time.

Stay healthy!  Please continue to follow guidelines set by the CDC to help prevent the spread of this illness including limiting contact and washing hands.  CDC Coronavirus Guidelines

This is a time when it would be so easy to hunker down and think only of our own safety. We do need to be prudent and careful. We do need to care for our loved ones. But we are also cared to love our neighbors. Just in the last several hours opportunities for our church to serve have arisen. We will make you aware of those soon. And you may already be thinking of ways to reach out and to be the hands of Christ in this season.

Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy. Sustain and support the anxious, be with those who care for the sick, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may find comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

March 12, 2020 | 6:00pm

Apostles Family,

We are monitoring guidelines and restrictions in place regarding COVID-19.  We are continuing to take precautions and preventative actions in our physical space and communal gatherings as advised by the CDC, our government and trusted medical resources within our community.

We will keep you updated with any changes to our scheduled events and services.

Join us in prayer for our neighbors, for those in fear or at-risk and that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website

NC Department of Health and Human Services Website

 

Sunday Worship

We are planning to regathering for onsite worship on Sunday, July 5th.  We will continue to provide worship resources for you to use at home.  We believe worshipping the Triune God together is essential. We encourage you to prepare a thoughtful, sacred space where you are and participate fully in the service.

Community Needs

The staff and prayer team are continually praying for the church.

 

You are not alone!  Tell us about your need and we will connect you with someone from our community. If you are able to give of your time, energy or skills, let us know. It is critical that we get and stay connected, especially when we are unable to gather in person.

Resources

ACNA Book of Common Prayer
BCP Free Download

What you need to know about COVID-19
The latest guidance from the CDC

RaleighNC.gov COVID-19 Information
Updates from the City of Raleigh

wakegov.com COVID-19 Information
Updates from Wake County

NCDHHS.gov COVID-19 Information
COVID-19 response in North Carolina

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