Covid-19 and the Reopening of The Road @ Chapel Hills  

To the Members of the Road @ Chapel Hills,

It is our greatest desire to provide a safe and joyful experience whenever you worship at The Road.  The latest reports on Covid-19 from the CDC and other sources are providing us with a growing understanding of this virus.  We have attempted in this document to present the latest information available and why we believe we are ready for the reopening of The Road @ Chapel Hills.

In the early weeks of the pandemic, tests were reserved for “high-risk” patients. Thus, a significant amount of people with mild or no symptoms could not receive or did not ask for a test. Research in numerous locations is finding that a significant amount of people have been infected with the disease yet displayed little to no symptoms. This has shifted the suspected mortality rate significantly in numerous areas.

 The following information provides us with excellent data on who actually gets sick and dies from Covid-19.  According to a CDC report (reported in USA Today) over 90% hospitalized (the latest percentage as of this writing is 94%) with Covid-19 had one or more other health conditions:

https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/2020/04/15/coronavirus-risk-90-patients-had-underlying-conditions/2962721001/

The evidence is pouring in that rarely do people under 65 years of age have serious symptoms from Covid-19. The CDC reports: “8 out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years old and older.”  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/older-adults.html

El Paso County:

We have been told from the beginning of the coronavirus that there are two key issues involved in opening up the economy.  From the federal government to our local government, two issues most mentioned as indicators that the economy is ready to be opened up have been: 1) the flattening of the curve in cases of the virus, and 2) space in our hospitals so as not to be overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients.  In our state and in our county, both have been achieved.

On April 21, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers reported to KKTV 11 News that “we only have 35 COVID patients in Colorado Springs hospitals.”  https://www.kktv.com/content/news/Mayor-Only-35-COVID-19-patients-still-in-Colorado-Springs-hospitals-569827291.html

Of a population of over 720,000 people in our county, there have been 78 deaths from Covid-19, and a downward spiral since April 24th.  This would mean we have approximately 11 deaths per 100,000.

https://www.livestories.com/statistics/colorado/el-paso-county-influenza-flu-pneumonia-deaths-mortality

Colorado Springs Mayor Suthers said, “Among the major metropolitan areas [in Colorado], we are less restrictive.” Suthers said data from the health department “should support our reasoning.” The health department has increased local testing efforts and Dr. Robin Johnson along with the El Paso County Public Health Department said, “all the signs are encouraging.”

Dr. Leon Kelly, deputy medical director of El Paso County Public Health, during a Board of County Commissioners meeting on April 30 said, “We could open businesses tomorrow — open them all — it does not matter if people are too scared to go to those restaurants, too afraid to go to those shops. Our job is to prove that we are ready. El Paso is ready to go.” In his remarks, Leon also emphasized that the county will continue to work and still is working to protect those most vulnerable. Leon continued, “At some point we have to let this virus travel through the community so that we get enough healthy, young people with it, so we can build up that immunity. We cannot huddle in our shelters for the next year and half until that vaccine comes. That is not acceptable.”

https://gazette.com/news/el-paso-county-is-ready-to-go-say-health-officials-in-giving-the-green-light/article_f830a698-8b07-11ea-8b2d-8f3571b5685c.html

Services Deemed Essential

Certain services that involve crowds, interaction with people, and even the touching of objects that others have touched (food and items) have been considered essential.  Most of these services are visited by people several times a week and many times during a month.  Services that have remained open throughout the pandemic:

  • All grocery stores have stayed open (deemed essential)
  • Walmart, Costco, and Sam’s Club have stayed open (deemed essential)
  • Lowes and Home Depot have stayed open (deemed essential)
  • All liquor stores have stayed open (deemed essential)
  • All marijuana stores have stayed open (deemed essential)
  • Planned Parenthood has stayed open (deemed essential)

The Road @ Chapel Hills is Deemed Essential

We believe The Road @ Chapel Hills is essential to our members, our city, and that the Scriptures exhort us to meet together.  We believe all local churches are essential.  We believe attending a worship service once a week for about one hour, is essential to the spiritual life of each individual.  This is why we have a first amendment in the U.S. Constitution.

We are prepared to defend our constitutional rights as high as necessary.  The Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment guarantees the right to exercise religion by, among other things, holding religious worship services. The Road suspended religious worship services for over two months in compliance with government orders and because it agreed that the suspension was appropriate in light of the known and unknown risks presented by Covid-19.

Now, 10 weeks later the “Safer At Home” Order still prohibits all religious worship services exceeding 10 people while accommodating Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes and other large gathering stores, which the governor has deemed essential. The “Safer At Home” Order is unconstitutional as applied to churches because its inflexibility fails to consider whether any religious worship service exceeding 10 persons could be held safely.  The Road believes religious worship services can be held safely, just as safely as any of the stores which are open.  It believes that the right to hold such services is guaranteed under the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment.

As we see on the news of the rising number of domestic abuse cases, depression, anxiety over lack of work, and confusion concerning the future, we believe the most essential service needed in our community is spiritual guidance.  We provide counseling, training, food, prayer, worship, and teaching to those in need.  Even more than marijuana, liquor, and abortion services are our need for a relationship with God.  This is why Americans have always believed that religious freedom of all faiths is to be protected by the government.  This is why we believe that The Road @ Chapel Hills must open.  Our city needs the local church and other faith-based communities to be open.  It is the founder of our nation George Washington who said, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

We hold to these convictions:

  • We believe that the mission of Jesus as found in Luke 4:18-19 is our mission as a local church: to heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to those in captivity, bring sight to the blind, and set free those who are oppressed.
  • The creation of the local church family was God’s idea after the resurrection of Christ, and even under pressure and persecution from Roman and Jewish authorities, the early church chose to weekly meet together (Book of Acts).
  • We are a family and we need to be together to encourage, strengthen, and build up the faith of each member (Acts, Ephesians, 1 & 2 Timothy, 1 & 2 Corinthians, etc.).
  • Based on God’s Word, in which we are exhorted to encourage each other in person as a church body: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good deeds, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:19-25)
  • We believe that God is currently “shaking the nations [that they] shall come to the Desire of the Nations” and that a great harvest of souls is coming into the church. (Haggai 2:6~9)
  • We are a people who walk by faith and don’t shrink back under pressure (Hebrews 10:35-39).
  • We are a people who face fears and challenges by being “strong and courageous!” (Joshua 1:6-9)
  • We realize that life always has risks, and there are no guarantees, and it’s those very times that we prove our faith in God (Acts 20:17-38).
  • We are growing in our love for God and each other, and perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
  • We believe that it is essential to Christian growth that we worship together through song, the teaching of God’s Word, and communion (Book of Acts and all the Epistles).

Based on the above data of: who gets sick, the flattening of the curve of Covid-19 patients, hospitals that are not being overwhelmed, services considered essential that involve interaction with other people, and our biblical convictions, with much prayer and seeking wise counsel, we believe God is leading us to start having Sunday services again.

Thus, we will reopen on May 24th (Memorial Day weekend).  Some of you may recognize the date.  It’s on May 24th that we had our first Sunday service six years ago.   How fitting to reopen our Sunday services on this special day.

What to Expect:

  • The ministry center will have every surface disinfected and wiped clean.
  • Essential oil dispensers will be running throughout the sanctuary.
  • Hand sanitizer pumps will be located throughout the ministry facility.
  • We encourage everyone to practice social distancing with seats between families.
  • We will not provide food or drink in the lobby.
  • We will have a family service. No childcare will be provided.
  • If the sanctuary is deemed full (with social distancing), we will seat people in the Chapel and other rooms with livestream.

The Road @ Chapel Hills highly recommends to everyone:

  • If you are sick or immune compromised, stay home and watch the live stream
  • If you are uncomfortable with our guidelines, stay home and watch the live stream
  • If you are not comfortable getting out yet, stay home and watch the live stream
  • Wear a mask if you desire
  • Keep social distancing of 6 feet
  • Wash hands if you use the restroom
  • Please follow all instructions given by our security staff and ushers who will be monitoring traffic flow
  • Stay joyful and full of faith

Excited to see all of your smiling faces on The Road birthday,

The Road @ Chapel Hills Leadership Team