COVID Update – Summer 2020 & Our Plan to Reopen

Woman Praying


It’s been a little more than two months of us trying to adjust to this new normal. Your patience and grace during this road trip in uncharted territory has been refreshing. In an attempt to keep this update brief, we’ll move right into providing you information about where we are and how we plan to move forward through the summer as we look towards reopening our facility some time in the future.

I was talking with Pastor Bob the other day and he ended our conversation with a short, yet profound phrase.

“A little more time will answer a lot more questions”

That’s probably the best summary for what you’ll read below.

Online Gatherings – New Meeting Schedule

Beginning Sunday May 31st, we’ll be having weekly online worship gatherings (usually around an hour in length). They’ll be taking the place of the various Sunday events we’ve been doing over the past few months.

Over the past few months, our goal has been to prioritize your attachment to the church over merely attending an event. To that end, our schedule may have felt a little disjointed. Nevertheless, over these past 60 days we’ve seen a huge increase in your attachment to one another. Mission accomplished!! We’ve seen it happen as you’ve plugged into virtual groups and we hope to continue to see it more and more.

As we’re moving into the third month of this new normal, we’ve been helped (by conversations with many of you) to think about how to best use this next season. We feel that a consistent weekly worship touch point will be helpful. Our time together will feel a lot like our Easter Service. There will be a live stream with an open Zoom link for any members and regular attenders who want to see one another and connect before and after service. As stated above, the services will be roughly an hour in length and can be streamed via our website, Facebook Live & YouTube. If you’d like to watch the service at home from your smart TV or apple TV you can just subscribe to your YouTube channel. Once you log in to YouTube on your TV, you’ll see how to watch our service each week. (Don’t try to search for Cornerstone Church on YouTube…turns out there’s a million of ’em with a much better YouTube presence than we have)

Just a reminder, this upcoming Sunday will be our corporate prayer gathering–zoom information to follow in a separate email.

Plan to Reopen: Under Construction

I’m not a handy-man at all. There are certain household projects that I can undertake on my own. 99% of them come from IKEA. If there’s anything else that needs to be done around the house, I make sure it gets done by calling in the professionals. I’m still leading, I’ve just learned that it’s foolish for me to try to lead outside of my area of expertise.

I bring all of that up to say that our plan to reopen our church building during a pandemic isn’t a DIY project. To date, no one has released a manual with 15 steps carried out by the two little Scandanvian men that IKEA uses for their manuals (I hear that even they’ve been furloughed). To that end, we’ve determined as pastors that this is a time where we call in the professionals.

My education’s in theology. I didn’t go to school for how to operate and manage groups in a climate of infectious disease. However, there are other people in our church who have pertinent experience and education in how to manage groups in a climate of infectious disease. So our update to you is that they are hard at work producing a comprehensive plan for when and how we will reenter our facility and begin to conduct corporate worship gatherings.

We’ve constructed a Leadership Team of gifted and experienced individuals that will help us think about how to move forward. The team will be led by Leang Chhun. He’s worked for over a decade on quality and process improvement in hospitals. The team is rounded off by a number of other individuals, I’ll include a few below:

  • Colin Emerson – spent the past five years in quality and process improvement in hosptials, giving primary attention to the Emergency Departments
  • Elizabeth Warthen – Registered Nurse who has worked on numerous projects to improve the quality of care in acute care settings.
  • Ashley Carr – Lead Facility Management & Upkeep @ Cornerstone Church
  • Will Murphy – Physician Assistant in the Emergency Department of Atlanta Medical South
  • Shannon Whitehead – Church Resources and Communications
  • As well as a few others

Our team is stacked. We basically have the ’98 Chicago Bulls when it comes to how a church should reenter during a pandemic. Right now, they’re reviewing a number of plans with the goal of refining, evaluating, and producing a comprehensive plan for what reentry into our building looks like for us.

We want to prioritize safety for ALL of our members and guests. To that end, success will be measured by the creation of a good plan, not a quick one. We want to get back together soon, but more importantly we want to be sure that our reunion is safe! They’re working diligently and we’ll do our best to keep you updated on the progress.

For the time being, we should plan to treat the next two months like the previous two. If things change, then we’ll adjust that timeline. If things seem a little more uncertain….then….we’ll adjust that timeline. We’re grateful that God has gifted the church with a variety of giftings. Our way of thanking God for the support He’s granted is by relying on it! That’s what we’ve been doing. That’s what we intend to keep doing.

As stated above:

“A little bit more time will answer a lot more questions”

Thanks again for you patience. As always, if there’s anything we can do to serve you, please don’t hesitate to ask.

With Love,

Your Pastors
John Onwuchekwa | Richard Mullen | Moe Hafeez | Bob Selph | Jared Dawson

John Onwuchekwa

John Onwuchekwa

A native of Houston, TX, John was born into a Nigerian home where the gospel was cherished deeply and modeled excellently. After graduating from college, he studied at Dallas Theological Seminary. He’s served at churches in both Texas and Georgia and in 2015 moved into the Historic West End to help plant Cornerstone Church with his best friends. He and his wife, Shawndra, have been married since 2007. They welcomed their daughter, Ava, in 2017. They are eager to see the hope of the gospel restore a sense of family, dignity, and hope to their neighborhood through their local church of ordinary people.

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