I miss being with you, and I know that you miss being with your church family. The apostle Paul echoes my heart when he writes:“For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.” (Colossians 2:5)We long to be together, because that’s how God has designed the church. He created the church to be face to face, hand to hand, and heart to heart. We know that the church is the people who gather and not the building we are in, but the building helps us fulfill God’s design for community.As the Commonwealth enters Phase 1, I wanted to take this opportunity to update our church on what this phase means for us. We want to be wise in our efforts to gather together in person, being good neighbors, respecting the governing authorities, and most importantly pursuing God’s mission and purpose for our church.According to Phase 1 guidelines, churches can resume in-person gatherings at up to 50% capacity with 6 feet of strict distancing. The distancing guideline, along with other restrictions and recommendations, makes gathering together in-person very challenging for our church. Therefore, First Norfolk will move forward in the following ways during Phase 1:
In the next few weeks, we will send out details about the limited, in-person moments. Our first one will be a recognition of graduates on June 7. We are sending invitations to all High School and College graduates and their families to gather with us at 11:00 worship gathering (Kempsville location). If you have a high school or college graduate that would like to be recognized, please contact Seth Peterson (students) or Sam Jenkins (college).In the meantime, our church continues to pursue three priorities that will direct us and unite us together in these days: 1) Caring for our members; 2) Reaching our community; 3) Funding the ministry.Our LIFEgroups continue to meet regularly via Zoom videoconferencing and we invite groups to consider having safe, 10-person or less home gatherings. If you aren’t connected to a LIFEgroup, you can contact our offices by phone (757-461-3226) or email (email@example.com) so that you can continue to find community during this time. You can also text “LIFEgroup” to 757-742-5558 to get connected.Thank you for faithfully giving to the Lord through your church. You may give in three different ways:1. Set up online giving at firstnorfolk.org/give.2. Mail: Kempsville location: 312 Kempsville Road, Norfolk, VA 23502.3. Drop your gift off at the Kempsville location offices between 8 AM and 5 PM M-F.Although this approach doesn’t include everyone in our church at this time, we believe it is a wise and faithful response. At the same time, we are planning how to continue to fulfill the mission God has given us during this season. We know that God has a very specific, gospel-advancing purpose for these circumstances, and we ask you to pray for our First Norfolk staff as we seek His perfect direction.