Updates from the Elders

This is an archive of updates that have been sent through the mid-week email or published in Sunday Announcements on this website.

    August 7: Meeting Together

    August 7, 2020

     

     

    Dear Chapel Family,

     

    The Elders met Tuesday evening to review the Municipality of Anchorage’s Emergency Order (EO) 13v2 which went into effect on Friday, July 31st and EO-15 which went into effect on Monday, August 3rd.  Among the several added restrictions from the Mayor’s “Four Week Reset” is the limit on indoor gatherings to 15 people or less; a significant decrease from the 60-person limit we had placed on ourselves over the past few weeks.

     

    We spent considerable time discussing the ramifications of these restrictions and the negative impact they may have on our fellowship as we consider in-person interaction to be significant to the health and growth of the church. 

     

    We discussed at length the purpose of the church in sharing the Gospel and making disciples though the ordinary means of grace: the preaching and reading of God’s Word, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper, and prayer.  While there is an individual aspect of the Christian’s participation in these means, there is also a corporate aspect of living out our faith in community and by gathering to worship God and to partake of these means of grace together.  This gathering is one which the writer of Hebrews tells us we ought not forsake.  Each of us should be striving to join in the corporate worship and fellowship for our benefit and for the building up of others as we grow together as the body.  Clearly, the present circumstance of this virus along with the municipality’s restrictions makes this more difficult.  However, it does not negate our responsibility and privilege to meet.

     

    We agreed that halting meeting altogether for the near future is not a viable option, and we are developing a plan to maximize the use of our facilities and technical capabilities at the Chapel in order to meet in person within the boundaries set forth in EO-15 as much as practical for the short term.  Unfortunately, it is too tight of a timeline to put into place the logistics necessary to carry out this plan by this Sunday, August 9th.  Therefore, we have decided to cancel all in-person attendance for this Sunday only and to livestream the 9:00am service as we have the 11:00am services up to this point.  The recorded service will be posted as well for those who cannot view at 9:00am.

     

    We do intend to hold in-person services, albeit in smaller groups across the campus, beginning Sunday, August 16th and we will let you know the details of how that will happen as soon as we finalize that plan.  We remain committed to keep the process as simple as possible and to minimize the distractions from our purpose of gathering for worship and fellowship.  We encourage you to participate.

     

    As we move forward, please know that we have no greater desire than to obey God fully and His call for us as a church to go and make disciples and specifically as elders to shepherd the flock as we do this together.  We also desire to obey our duly appointed public officials when it is proper to do so.  Any plan to do otherwise must be taken very seriously.  In the coming weeks, we will be carefully considering the mayor’s orders, watching the data regarding COVID, and assessing the spiritual health of the church.  We acknowledge that we are approaching a point where the risk to our spiritual health by not gathering outweighs the necessity to remain separate because of the virus.  There may come a time where we must decide to humbly conduct the affairs of the church beyond the scope of government mandates to the contrary.  We ask you to pray for clear discernment in this regard. 

     

    As we have stated before, we thank you all so very much for your prayers, for your patience, and for your commitment to Christ and to His people.  We are humbled by your support and we love you.

     

     

                                                                                                                     In His Grace,

                                                                                                                                   The Elders

    July 1: Changes to mask requirements

    July 1, 2020

     

     

    Dear Chapel Family,

     

    On Monday, the Municipality of Anchorage implemented Emergency Order (EO) 13 mandating the wearing of face masks or cloth face coverings in public settings.  The elders have reviewed the EO-13 guidance and have determined it best to request we each wear a mask or face covering while entering or exiting the Chapel sanctuary as we gather for corporate worship.  It is during entry and exit that maintaining the recommended physical distancing is most challenging.  This is the only change to our current plan for operating.  Once we have entered the sanctuary and are able to establish distancing, we may remove our masks for the service.  We will continue to ask those who wish to sing to please don a mask during that portion of our worship together.  All other guidance remains as detailed in the Letter to the Congregation dated May 28, 2020.

     

    We remain committed to minimize the distractions any new COVID-19 guidance may cause while considering the health and safety of the Chapel family and appropriately submitting to our elected leaders.  We very much appreciate your patience as we navigate these changes. 

     

                                                                                                                          In His Grace,

                                                                                                                                       The Elders

    June 12: In-Person Activities

    Jun 12, 2020

     

     Dear Chapel Family,

     

    Last Sunday we held our first in-person services at the Chapel in nearly three months!  What a blessing to be back “home” and worshipping together.  Although it is not yet what it will be, being present together before the Lord, hearing from His Word, singing (even in masks), and partaking of the Lord’s Supper with each other, gives us great hope of things to come.  The joy of gathering was evident not only in the worship service itself, but also in the close fellowship we all enjoyed outside after the service.  Indeed, as Pastor Tyler stated Sunday, our fellowship gives us a glimpse and a hope for what it will be like when all of God’s people are assembled together in the presence of the Lord for all time. 

     

    For now, we will continue to increase our capacity to minister to and with one another in the Chapel facilities.  You will see this week, we are increasing the service capacity from 50 to 60 seats, and we will keep looking for creative ways to add to that number.  We are also developing the plans to again gather the children for ministry on Sundays; so be looking for information soon from Brad Mondeel regarding those plans, gauging interest for participation, and soliciting for volunteers.

     

    As you know, the Youth Group and the Wednesday Night Bible Study have been meeting in person as well.  We now want to begin opening the Chapel facilities to other ministries as much as we can given the current guidance from the Municipality.  Ministry leads may contact the Chapel Office for scheduling and for information regarding the use of Chapel resources.  We may not yet be able to accommodate every opportunity, but we will keep moving that direction.

     

    We thank all of you for your prayers and your patience as we navigate these interesting times.  We are so encouraged by the turnout for corporate worship last week and for all the loving and caring for one another we see in this body wherever we look.  Let us continue to share the great news of Jesus Christ with each other and those around us for His glory and for the building up of His Church.

     

     

                                                                                                                                 In His Grace,

                                                                                                                                             The Elders

    May 28: In-Person Worship at the Chapel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         May 28, 2020

    Dear Chapel Family,

     

    On Monday, May 25th, the Municipality of Anchorage entered into Phase 3 of the re-opening plan for the city.  The elders met Tuesday night to work through the changes and to develop the Chapel’s plan for our first in-person worship service on Sunday, June 7th.  We developed our plan with several guiding principles in mind: 1) Keep it simple, 2) Adhere to the city’s protocols to the maximum extent practical, 3) Minimize distractions the protocols may induce, and 4) Remain joyful and thankful for the opportunity to worship with one another.  The following details our plan for coming together on the 7th:

     

    Beginning Sunday, June 7th, we will offer two worship services.  The first service will begin at 9:00 am and the second service at 11:00 am.  Please note the time change from what we are accustomed to for the first service.  For the near future, there will be no nursery or childcare, no children’s church, or adult Sunday School.  As always, children of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend all worship services.

     

    We are required to maintain six feet distancing between non-household members and will arrange the seating to make this possible.  Because of this restriction, we are initially limiting attendance to 50 persons plus those required to conduct the services.  As we move forward, we will continue to look for flexible options in order to increase that number, and we will communicate those changes as soon as we are able.

     

    We will offer online sign-ups for each service on a first-come, first-served basis.  The sign-up site will indicate when the service is full; however, there will be a “waiting list” sign-up so we can contact you in the event of cancellations or capacity increases.  The sign up will ask for your name and contact information and the number attending with you.  We will NOT be sharing any of your contact information or record of attendance with any outside agency and are only asking for it to notify you of changes.  Please look for the sign-up instructions via e-mail, the Chapel website, and the Chapel Family Facebook page.  We know not everyone who wants to attend will have the opportunity on the 7th.  We ask that some who do attend on the 7th not sign up for the following week in order that others may do so.  We will gather fully as soon as we possibly can.

     

    You may enter and exit the building via the main doors, though we do ask that you move through the foyer into the sanctuary fairly quickly to prevent too much crowding.  We are NOT requiring face masks to attend.  However, during our time of singing, we will ask those who are willing to wear a face mask during that time.  If you are unable to wear a mask for any reason, we ask you refrain from singing for now.

     

    We will not yet offer our coffee/snack ministry; however, you are welcome to bring your own coffee, tea, water bottles, snacks for children, etc.

     

    Sunday, June 7th, is the first service of the month and we have the privilege of celebrating the Lord’s Supper together.  We will have the pre-packaged wafer/juice cups, and an elder will bring the trays around to each person rather than pass the trays.  The elders will wear masks and gloves.  Otherwise, you may expect our communion to proceed as we typically practice.

     

    In keeping with the cleaning and disinfecting protocols, we will ensure that high-touch areas (doorknobs, handles, bathrooms, etc) are cleaned before, every hour during, between, and after services.  We will have disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer available around the building as needed.  Additionally, we have contracted a commercial cleaning service to perform more extensive cleaning and disinfecting during the week in accordance with CDC recommendations.

     

    Per Phase 3 information, we are again able to use the offering box at the rear of the sanctuary, but we will keep all online giving methods available to you.

     

    We thank you in advance for your patience as we all continue to adapt to changes.  We pray for and look forward to the day we return to full capacity and can all freely worship and fellowship together.  In the meantime, continue to love and encourage each other as you have been doing and please feel free to contact any elder with questions or concerns you may have.

     

     

                                                                                                                                          In His Grace,

                                                                                                                                                          The Elders

    May 19: Letter to the Congregation

                                                      May 19, 2020

     

     

    Dear Chapel Family,

     

    As many of you are aware, Mayor Berkowitz released his Phase 2 plan, Emergency Order EO-09, on May 11, 2020.  That plan allowed churches in Anchorage to resume meeting as of May 11 as long as the safety procedures specified in the plan are carefully implemented.  Link: EO-09,  -- the portion specifically pertinent to churches is in Attachment H.

     

    As Pastor Tim mentioned in Sunday’s worship service, we fully expect and are planning to resume meeting, in person, with restrictions, as soon as possible.  We have not yet ironed out the details for times, number of services, etc., but we fully expect to host worship services at the Chapel on Sunday, June 7th.  We owe you more information as to HOW we will accomplish this.  Our goal is to make this as simple as possible to attend and not to let these restrictions distract us from the joy of worshiping together and encouraging one another, face-to-face. 

     

    Please note that guidance changes rapidly, so we are hopeful there may be a further reduction of restrictions prior to meeting on the 7th of June.  In fact, just today (Tuesday, May 19), the Governor announced Alaska is ready for the next round of reductions which should be announced later this week…we will adapt as quickly as we can adapt well.

    Between now and June 7th, we will be allowing the Youth Group to meet starting this Wednesday, May 20th and the Wednesday Night Bible Study will resume the following Wednesday, May 27th.  These meetings will follow all of the EO-09 mandates and will also help us improve upon our methods as we prepare to meet on June 7th.


    We understand with the limitations, not everyone will be able to attend in-person, nor should everyone attend in-person given the varying risk levels regarding COVID-19.  We will continue to livestream our services for the foreseeable future.

     

    We earnestly pray and ask that every person who is a part of the flock at CBTS will “be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” as we navigate this difficult situation together as “one body” with “one Spirit,” “one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all”
    [Ephesians 4:1-6].
     

     

    We love all of you dearly.  We miss you all very much, and we ask for your prayers for us as we continue to work through the multitude of details set before us at this point.  

     

                                                                                                                             In His Grace,

                                                                                                                                           The CBTS Elders

    April 3, 2020: Devotional for Resurrection Week

    As a daily devotional for the week leading to Resurrection Sunday, the Chapel Elders are recommending Love to the Uttermost by John Piper, available here.

    March 18, 2020: Email from the Elders and Deacons

    March 18, 2020

     

     

    Dear Chapel Family,

     

    The elders and deacons of the Chapel are continuing to monitor and evaluate the COVID-19 situation and its impacts on the body of Chapel by the Sea.  In addition to prayerful consideration of this event and our response to it, we have convened a “Health Advisory Committee” of the healthcare professionals in our congregation.  We held a virtual meeting last night and will likely be consulting regularly over the coming weeks.  We have sought their wise counsel and have remained engaged with state and national resources in order to act on the most comprehensive and accurate data possible.  The call on the Body of Christ at Chapel by the Sea to go and make disciples has not changed, though the methods by which we do so may temporarily look a bit different.

     

    WHAT WE KNOW

    • The restrictions placed on travel, meeting in large groups, etc are in place to help prevent, or at least slow, the spread of the virus
    • Those considered “high risk” for complications from the virus include those over 60 years old, those of any age with pre-existing health conditions such as heart disease, liver or kidney problems, diabetes, other immune system disorders.
    • It is possible to carry the virus without symptoms; therefore, it is important to limit the possibility of exposing others, especially those in high risk categories, to the virus.  If you are sick, stay home and call your physician if necessary per CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) and Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (http://www.dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/default.aspx) guidelines
    • The restrictions are advised through the end of the month because of the incubation period of the virus and the time required to receive test results.  Within the next 2-3 weeks, we should all have a better idea of what the future holds.

     

    WHAT WE ARE DOING...

    • In accordance with national and state requests to refrain from meeting in groups of 10 or more and to practice social distancing as much as possible to slow/prevent the spread of the virus, the Chapel campus will be closed for the next two weeks through March 31st.
    • All regularly scheduled Chapel events are cancelled through March 31st.  This includes but is not limited to:
    • Sunday worship services, Sunday School, Children’s and Toddler Church, Youth Group, Youth Bible Studies
    • Small group leaders are requested to either postpone gatherings or conduct some form of virtual alternative for the immediate future.
    • Wednesday Night Bible Study and choir practice are cancelled.
    • The Spring Conference (Johnathan Morrow) will be rescheduled for the Fall
    • We will be live-streaming a time of prayer, scripture reading and teaching this Sunday, March 22 at 11:00am.
    • Instructions for viewing the livestream will be posted in the Mid-week update and on the Chapel website.
    • The livestream will be recorded and available via YouTube as well as the Chapel website; however, we encouragereal-time participation in order to worship together even if we are physically apart.
    • Please do not try to attend the service at the Chapel; the facilities will remain closed except to those directly involved with the livestream service.

     

    HOW YOU CAN HELP…

    • Love one another
    • Practice the recommended hygiene and “social distancing” measures on behalf of others and our medical system.
    • Minister to one another
    • Share your needs and concerns; don’t be afraid to ask for help.
    • Pray with and for one another
    • Meet each others needs; if the need is too great, contact an elder or deacon for assistance
    • Stay connected to the Chapel
    • Get signed up for Chapel e-mail updates (contact the church office to sign up)
    • Regularly check the CBTS website for updates (http://chapelbythesea.com/) or the Chapel Comm Facebook page.
    • Take proper care of yourself and your family members
    • If you are feeling ill, call your medical provider first
    • If you do not have your own doctor, the following are options for you which may have virtualvisits and which accept many forms of medical insurance
    • Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center (907) 257-4686
    • Providence Family Medicine Center (907) 562-9229
    • Providence Express Care (several locations)
    • Family Medical Care (caveat they don’t take Medicaid)
    • For the time being, remain away from group gatherings
    • Call someone if you are feeing anxious or alone; stress shows in many ways
    • Spend time in God’s Word together or work though a Biblical, online resource.  As always, be very careful that the materials are doctrinally sound; just because they are available via a Christian website does not necessarily mean they are true to the Word.  You may want to carefully search:
    • The Gospel Coalition (articles, blogs/vlogs, study materials)
    • RightNow Media (again, there is a variety of material, some good, some not so)
    • If you are not sure of the orthodoxy of the material or source, please talk with an elder for assistance.

     

    Finally, in the words of Paul, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  God is in full control of all things and our hope rests not in our health, our wealth, our recreation, or even our church, but in the finished work of Jesus Christ who reigns now and forever.

     

     

    In His Grace,

    The Elders and Deacons of the Chapel