Christian Reformed Church
CRCNA Offices Enter Stage One of Reopening
Please pass this along to your pastor and/or chair of council.
Greetings to you from the staff who serve and support you from the offices of the ministries of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. We hope that this email finds you well, and that you and your congregation are finding ways to thrive even during this time of pandemic.
We wanted to take a moment to update you about what is going on on our end, so that you are aware of what you can expect from us. As you may have noticed, we closed our offices in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Burlington, Ontario in mid-March. A few staff who are involved in critical infrastructure work were permitted to still work in the offices, but all other staff were asked to work remotely from their homes.
As we made this difficult decision, we remained committed to serving you and doing the kingdom work to which we have been called. We simply began to do this work from remote locations in order to protect our staff and others from the threat of COVID-19. We also cancelled synod for this reason and have been conducting important meetings - including the Council of Delegates - using virtual conferencing.
Today, we continue to have two separate monitoring teams to keep an eye on the pandemic situation. One team focuses on our international staff and provides advice and guidance to their work, travel, and safety. The other focuses on domestic staff in both Canada and the United States. These monitoring teams take the safety of our staff very seriously and have outlined stages for our eventual return to work in the CRCNA offices.
On July 6, our offices will begin Stage One of reopening. This includes allowing a small number of staff (less than 10%) who will return to at least partial work in one of our offices. During this stage, the offices will remain closed to the public. Out of an abundance of caution, all staff are also prohibited from work-related travel and participating in face-to-face meetings, whether in the building or externally.
As churches begin to reopen for physical worship together, some have asked our staff to come and preach. We are allowing this to occur, but only if the church is within a reasonable driving distance of the staff member (no air travel), if the church is following COVID safety precautions, and if the staff member is comfortable being in the setting.
Some congregations have also extended invitations to denominational staff to meet with them in person for coaching, discipleship, adult education classes, or other reasons. We wanted to let you know that our staff have been instructed to not accept these types of requests unless they can be done virtually through video conferencing or phone calls. Though many of you are taking precautions, and the setting may be judged to be safe, we have made the decision to continue tighter restrictions for our staff until we enter our Stage Two.
Though none of us would have imagined working remotely and conducting all of our work through telecommunications, we are making it work and we ask that you bear with us as we continue to ask our staff to connect virtually.
Thank you. We also wanted to remind you that we remain committed to assisting you in your ministry. Please check out crcna.org/covid19 for the latest resources that we have available. Please also, don’t hesitate to call 1-877-272-5125 if you have any questions or would like to find support for a specific ministry need.
Colin P. Watson Sr.
Executive Director, CRCNA
Canadian Ministries Director, CRCNA