Heightened COVID-19 Cleanliness Procedures:
As we all pay close attention to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), let’s intentionally pray for all those impacted by it around the world. Aside from the health concerns, there are also serious ramifications and hardships being placed on employees, employers, schools, students and economics due to the residual effects of global panic. We want you to know that we are closely monitoring the news and the development of the situation as it relates to our experiences and gatherings at Keystone.
As followers of Jesus, we are not driven by fear, but we also want to be sure we do our best to keep Keystone clean and safe for you and your family each time we gather together.
My encouragement to you would be to 1) Remember what we already know; and 2) Use gospel-soaked logic to be careful, too.
We will remember what we already know.
- God is our confidence and trust. Psalm 46 reminds us that God is our refuge and help in times of trouble. Prayer-infused confidence in a sovereign God who numbers our days and the hairs of our head, and is pointedly aware of everything going in our lives and in our world should cover every thought and conversation that we are having about the coronavirus. And, compassion, and selflessness should mark how we respond and react. Why? Because our Savior, Jesus Christ, put on flesh (John 1:14) and stepped into our sickness, sin, and death. He healed the sick and cared for the hurting. And, as our example, He calls us to do the same with other people.
- Worry is not our friend. Panic is not the way of the followers of Christ. Proverbs 24:10: “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” May we be a people that are governed by faith, not fear.
- Loving others is our priority. If there is ANYTHING we’re supposed to “worry” about it, it’s taking good care of each other in the body of Christ. So, whether it’s in the face of persecution, or pandemic, or simply ministering to one another’s daily needs, let’s have a high sensitivity to each other’s pain, suffering, weaknesses, and sicknesses as we walk through this and all seasons as a church family. And, let’s not forget that the body of Christ is also to be on the frontlines of showing love and concern for the world around us outside of the church. Our mantra is “to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21).” So, like generations of Christians before us, let’s stand up to help and lovingly be the hands and feet of Jesus even in times of plagues, pandemics, and persecutions, and be quick to share the ultimate hope that we have in Christ because of His saving gospel.
We will use gospel-soaked logic to be careful.
- None of the above means that we should be careless, naïve, or reckless in our attention to health and safety as stewards of the bodies and resources that God has provided. There are some small practical things that each of us can do to not encourage the spread of the coronavirus like washing our hands more frequently, avoiding unnecessary physical contact, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if we’re already sick. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has put up a helpful website with several health safety tips like these which can be viewed here.
Press on, friends. Pray for the sick. Walk in God’s strength, and trust Him. Love others. Use your health to serve, not to hide. Jesus is sovereign over it all, and we are immortal until He is finished with us.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
God’s best to you,
Pastor John Tracy
We also want you to know that we are making the following changes at Keystone immediately to ensure that our gatherings minimize the spread of COVID-19:
Should you attend a service in person?
First and foremost, if you are experiencing any symptoms of flu, cold, or sickness we would strongly suggest you choose not to join us in person until you feel well. We will be providing our services online through livestream on Facebook, YouTube, and our website. If you do not feel comfortable in attending at this time, please feel free to join us through our online outlets.
*Click HERE for more information regarding details, symptoms, and at-risk populations*
As you arrive for our gathering, you will still be met by a smiling hospitality serve-team volunteer, but we will not be showing our love for you by way of handshakes, fist bumps, and high fives during this season. We are asking all attendees to please only enter through our front entrance into the lobby and exit out the side door in phases led by our hospitality team volunteers at the end of the service. This exit is by our office entrance found to the left of the stage.
It is typically our practice to dedicate a portion of time in our Worship Service to shaking hands, embracing, and greeting one another on the verse of a song. We will forgo this practice until the immediate heightened risk of coronavirus has lessened. We will be providing seating in our worship center in accordance with the social distancing requirements laid out by the CDC, state of Florida, and Hillsborough County. We will also not be handing out any physical bulletins or handouts during this time.
The Lord’s Supper:
We will continue to honor the Lord by partaking of the elements of the Lord’s Table and will trust Him to protect us as we obey Him with that critical function of life in a New Testament church. However, we will provide the elements by using disposable single use cups. We will not be distributing elements person to person.
As we are settling back into normalcy amidst COVID-19, we are temporarily not providing children’s services or classes (nursery through 5th grade). This will allow us sufficient time to develop thorough policies and procedures to ensure the cleanliness of our facilities and to have an opportunity to train our volunteers as well. We hope to resume our normal children’s services and classes in the very near future, Lord willing.
We are adding new hand sanitization stations on both campuses, and we ask that you use them often. Our cleaning teams will ensure that our restrooms are fully sanitized prior and following our gatherings. We will be asking attendees to only use the front restrooms in our lobby at this time. Sanitary single-use seat covers will be available as well in both men’s and women’s restrooms.
The use of cloth face coverings are recommended by the CDC but are totally at the discretion of the individual. There will be some individuals wearing face masks and others will not. We will be adhering to strict social distancing guidelines outlined by the state and local government agencies as well as the CDC during our gathering. Please do whatever you feel is necessary to protect yourself and your family.