covid response 


May 18, 2021

In recent days, there have been several significant shifts in the approach of public health officials and city officials towards COVID-19.
  • The Cedar Falls city mask mandate will expire this week.
  • The CDC has issued new guidance on masks for those who are fully vaccinated.
  • The Iowa Department of Public Health has issued new guidance for schools, including the recommendation to make masks optional.

Additionally, there is ever-increasing immunity in our county, readily available vaccines, and a steady drop in covid cases and deaths. Due to all of the above factors, our Covid Task Force is recommending that face masks are now optional for staff, volunteers, adults, and children. We will still have disposable masks available in the church for those who want them.
As we have said all along, each person has the responsibility to make their own health decisions, and as we get back to normal we will need to “bear with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2) by respecting each other’s decisions and privacy. The Covid Task Force is now signing off unless further needs arise. We look forward to celebrating with you at Reunion Sunday, May 23 at 10a!
 
A personal note from Pastor Peter: I want to express my gratitude to our Covid Task Force. During this pandemic, being a medical professional has been a thankless task, with a barrage of information and opinions to navigate. Each task force member has sought to do their best to honor God by keeping our congregation well-informed and well-advised. I am grateful that, with the guidance of this task force, we were able to successfully and safely gather even during the worst parts of the pandemic. Please consider sharing your appreciation with our task force when you have the chance.
I also want to express my gratitude to you, Trinity family, for sticking together through this difficult and divisive year. The way you have honored God, honored our civil authorities, and honored each other is a great testimony to the work that the Spirit has done among us. I’m proud to call Trinity my church family. Coming out of this pandemic, we have a community around us that is hurting, isolated, enslaved to sin, and in need of the Gospel. Now is the time for us to offer the hope and love that our neighbors, friends, and coworkers desperately need! I look forward to sharing more on Reunion Sunday about our plans to impact our community this summer.


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February 23, 2021

On Sunday Pastor Peter announced on behalf of the Regathering Taskforce that we will begin offering 3 services and reopen Treehouse Kids starting Sunday, March 7th.

NEW SERVICE TIMES
  • 8:10 am | Traditional Music w/ Congregational Singing
  • 9:45 am | In-person + Livestream | Modern Music w/ Congregational Singing
  • 9:45 am | In-person TreeHouse Kids (ages 4 - 5th grade) | Nursery (0 - 3)
  • 11:15 am | Modern Music w/ Congregational Singing | Nursery (0 - 3)

As more people begin coming back to church, we want to address a few questions related to our in-person Sunday services:

Q: When should I come back to church? When it comes to coming back to church, everyone has to make that choice for themselves, but we can share with you some information that may help you make an informed decision. The latest statistics show that: 
  • Those who are vulnerable (age 65+ or those with pre-existing conditions), are at high risk and are advised to exercise caution. We don’t say this to scare anyone from coming to church or scold anyone for coming to church. All are welcome! But we do want you to have the best information to make your own decisions.   
  • Those who are under 50 and don't have underlying conditions are at very low risk. As the statistics show, the younger the person, the lower the risk of hospitalization or death. Young people, of course, still need to be considerate of family and friends that they are around regularly who are vulnerable. 
  • Those who have had symptomatic Covid-19 or have been fully vaccinated are at very low risk, regardless of age or health conditions. 
We want to emphasize again that everyone has to make their own health-related decisions, but we do encourage you to return to in-person worship services as soon as you feel safe doing so.

Q: I would come back, but I really struggle to wear a mask at church for the whole time. Are there any exceptions? While we recommend masking at all times when in our building, we understand that wearing a mask for extended periods is very difficult for some people. The Black Hawk County Public Health Department does approve of people removing their masks in church services as long as you are sitting 6 ft away from people not in your household. This would still mean wearing a mask until you get to your seat and wearing a mask while congregating afterwards. Again, if you are able to wear a mask without much difficulty for the duration of the service, that is still recommended. We understand that there are varying opinions on social distancing and face mask use, and everyone is tired of it, but we ask that you be considerate of each other as we want to provide a safe environment for everyone attending in person.

Q: I feel comfortable coming back to church, but I've gotten used to watching church at home. Is that ok?  We are thankful that so many have faithfully gathered online with us on Sunday mornings since March, but this kind of gathering is not the norm. Yes, the Church has historically had to modify its gatherings during plagues and pandemics, but this was always only until in-person gathering was safe. The word for ‘church’ in the New Testament is ekklesia, which literally means a gathering or assembly. To be part of Jesus’ Church means being a regular part of the physical gathering of a local church. Gathering in person with other believers adds an element of accountability and it presents many opportunities to encourage and minister to each other on a Sunday morning. As hard as it might be to get back in the habit, we encourage you to make every effort to attend church in person as soon as you feel safe doing so.  

Q: I’m feeling isolated and alone, can I talk to someone? God did not design His people to do life alone and we are to be interdependent as a church body (Ephesians 4:15-16).   As a fellow believer, if you are feeling isolated and alone, we are here for you. While we have worked diligently this past year to check in on our Trinity Family, it is hard to always know who needs encouragement. If you, or someone you know, is in need of encouragement or support, please let us know.  

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January 19, 2021

The Regathering Taskforce met recently to discuss the latest Covid-19 data and to review Trinity's current response. Covid-19 cases continue to remain high for Black Hawk County and our in-person attendance continues to remain low as many families have opted to watch our services online. For the time being, we will continue to offer 2 Sunday Services at 9:00 am (In-person + Livestream) and 10:45 am (In-person only). TreeHouse Kids will also continue in its online Zoom format, but we are now offering nursery (0 to age 3) at both services. We hope to open Treehouse Kids in person again in the next couple of months. To view our previous communications, and decision-making process, click here.

While we are continuing with reduced services, we do plan to bring back our traditional service sometime in the next few months, and we will offer a traditional service at Trinity in the years to come. Until then, we will vary our services by utilizing both traditional and modern music.
 
We are grateful for many positive signs that Covid is nearing an end and that people are still engaging in our local church in whatever ways fit their needs:

  • Covid cases are starting to see a small, but steady drop in our state and local counties. 
  • Vaccines are currently being distributed to healthcare and nursing home patients with plans starting February 1st to distribute to individuals 75 and older. 
    • Any of our doctors on the Regathering Taskforce would be happy to talk with you about the safety and efficacy of the Covid vaccine. You can contact them with your questions by sending an email to office@cedarfallstrinity.org
  • We have had over 20 kids participate in our TreeHouse Kids: Zoom Edition. To join this Sunday at 10:30 am, go to bit.ly/TreeHouseKids
  • In the past month, our online services have had close to 100+ households watching each week stretching across four different states!
  • Our small groups are continuing to meet consistently, both online and in person.

Like you, we long for the day that we see a lobby full of smiling faces, the smell of coffee in the air, and the sounds of kids singing songs in the Children's Wing. But until then, we want to thank you for your ongoing patience as we navigate through this difficult time together. 1 Thessalonians 2:17 says: But as for us, brothers and sisters, after we were forced to leave you for a short time (in person, not in heart), we greatly desired and made every effort to return and see you face to face.

As always, we want to hear from you. How are you doing? How can we support you during this time? Let us know by going to bit.ly/TBCsupport.

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December 2, 2020
As in-person attendance has remained low, and Covid-19 cases have remained high for Black Hawk County, the Regathering Taskforce has decided to continue with 2 Sunday Services. The doctors plan to reassess this situation again in mid-January. With this decision, we have also opted to adjust our Sunday service times to 9:00 am (In-person + Livestream) and 10:45 am (In-person only). Both services will offer a blended style of hymns and modern worship songs.  We will continue to offer nursery (0 to age 3) at our 9:00 am service only.

While it can be frustrating to see events ever-changing, we are using this as an opportunity to pivot our resources by developing online content since many of our Trinity families are primarily engaging online. The following online and in-person events will be occurring this month:

  • Parenting (and Grandparenting) in the Pandemic | Tue Dec 8 & 15 | 8:00 pm 
    • Put the kids to bed and join us on Zoom as we highlight topics with age-specific breakout sessions pertaining to what stage of parenting you are in. To join on Zoom: bit.ly/tbcparentclass

  • TreeHouse Kids: Zoom Edition | Sundays starting Dec 13 | 10:30 am
    • It's TreeHouse Kids, but from the comfort of your own home! There will be a large group lesson, breakout rooms, and craft time with items found around your home. To join on Zoom: bit.ly/TreeHouseKids
    • NOTE: Nursery will still be available in-person during the 9:00 am Sunday service.

  • Student Ministry Zoom Bible Study | Wednesdays starting Dec 2 | 7:00 pm
    • This Bible study is geared towards Middle School and High School students wanting to stay connected to Trinity in an online format. To join on Zoom: Student Ministry Guys: bit.ly/guysbiblestudy | Student Ministry Gals: bit.ly/galsbiblestudy
    • NOTE: Genesis (Middle School) will resume in-person gatherings on Wed Dec 2nd from 6:15 pm - 8:15 pm in the Trinity Basement and Mosaic (High School) will resume in-person gatherings on Sun Dec 6 from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm in the Sanctuary. Both gatherings will require face masks. 

  • Awana Livestream Event | Wed Dec 9 | 6:30 pm
    • We will NOT be having an in-person gathering Dec 9th. Instead, join us live on our YouTube Channel, CedarFallsTrinity as we celebrate Christmas by a retelling of the Christmas Story! For a direct link to the Livestream: bit.ly/awanadec9

  • Trinity Carol Sing | TBD
    • It's Christmas music, it's singing, and it will all be done from your own living room! We don't have any more details to share just yet, but we are excited to tell you about it soon! 

  • Christmas Eve Services | Thu Dec 24 | 4:00 pm (In-person and Livestream) & 6:00 pm (In-person only)
    • More details coming soon. 

We want to thank you for your continued patience, flexibility, and understanding during this time. We know God is at work here, and we hope you have also seen evidence of God's glory through this as well. It is so encouraging to us to hear how God is working through this pandemic. If you have a story to share, we would LOVE to hear it by replying to this email. And for those of you that are struggling right now, we want to hear from you as well. It's hard to admit it when you are going through a difficult time, but as a part of God's family, we want to know how we can support you. Please let us know by going to bit.ly/TBCsupport.
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November 19, 2020
Last night the Regathering Taskforce met via Zoom to review the latest Covid-19 data provided by state and local officials, as well as Governor Reynold's new statewide health proclamation implemented on Nov 17th.
 
Due to low church attendance numbers and the current strain on our local hospitals and healthcare system, we will be canceling the 8:10a vulnerable-friendly service for the next two Sundays (Nov 22 & 29). In addition, due to low volunteer availability, we will also be canceling TreeHouse Kids (2/3s class – 5th grade). Nursery will still be available at the 9:45 service for kids 0 – 3 years old.
 
We will offer in-person services at 9:45a and 11:15a the next two Sundays and the music will be the typical blended style of hymns and modern worship songs.
 
We continue to:

  • Strongly advise those over 60, and those with preexisting conditions, to join us online at 9:45a on Sundays via Facebook, YouTube, or the next day on the Trinity website.
  • Ask everyone to wear masks in our gatherings, in keeping with the current mask mandates from our state and local governments. Mask mandates are controversial, but out of respect for our governing authorities (Romans 13), we ask you to wear masks even if you disagree with the legalities of the mandate.
  • Ask for prayer. Pray for those in our church who are vulnerable. Pray for those in our church who are hospitalized or who have lost loved ones to COVID. Pray for protection over the holidays. Pray for the healthcare workers in our community. Pray for our government leaders. Pray for your church leadership and pastors.
 
We know the constant change and uncertainty is challenging, but we appreciate how supportive, understanding, and flexible you have been over the last 8 months. This situation is fluid, so our Regathering Taskforce is continually assessing it and will be sending out another update in 2 weeks.  The unity in our church over the past 8 months has been a beautiful picture to the world of how we can support each other, honor our civil authorities, and even disagree respectfully, all while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. If we continue to fix our eyes on Jesus, we can run the race set before us and endure together. What an amazing testimony that will be to a world that is divided, angry, and lost!

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November 5, 2020
Our Regathering Taskforce has been closely monitoring the latest COVID-19 data provided by state and local officials. As of October 28th, the Black Hawk County Public Health Department has raised its risk status to "high". A "high status" refers to having 100+ daily cases per 100,000 in the last 7 days and over a 10% average 14-day positivity rate. In addition, contact tracing shows that these outbreaks are occurring through community spread, as opposed to isolated events taking place at one facility. Based on the increase of cases in Black Hawk County, the Taskforce is advising the following:

  • For those over the age of 60, have underlying medical conditions, or are immune-system compromised,  we strongly advise you to watch Sunday services online. We know, of course, that everyone has to make these decisions for themselves. 
    • You can stream at 9:45a on Sundays via Facebook, YouTube or watch the next day on the Trinity website.
  • We will continue to conduct our Sunday services, TreeHouse Kids, and midweek programming with the many successful safety precautions we have put in place. As a reminder:
    • If you, or your child(ren), are experiencing any of the following symptoms, we ask that you stay home until symptoms have subsided: Fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, loss of taste/smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea, or diarrhea. 
    • Through December 9, facemasks are legally required for indoor gatherings in Cedar Falls, per the Cedar Falls City Council Mandate. Facemasks are provided at all church entrances for both children and adults. Children 5 and under are exempt from this mandate.
  • If you are currently meeting in person with your Small Group, now is a good time to consult with your group and evaluate everyone’s comfort level. If any member of your group is uncomfortable meeting in person, be sure to accommodate their needs however you can.

Despite these current challenges, we are not shrinking back at all from our faith in Jesus and our devotion to His mission. Jesus said it best in John 16:33: You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world. There is nothing that we can’t overcome as we trust in Jesus! The church of Jesus will grow stronger amidst this trial and the kingdom of God will advance! With that said, we understand many have endured long bouts of social isolation, which is both emotionally and spiritually straining. If you are feeling the burden of social isolation, please let us know how we can help support you.

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October 21, 2020
Under the Cedar Falls City Council mask mandate extension approved on October 21st 2020, we ask that masks are to be worn at all indoor gatherings at Trinity through December 9, 2020.

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October 4, 2020
Treehouse Kids will be offered at the 9:45am service only, with precautions in place. All volunteers / teachers will wear masks, as well as kids in Kindergarten to 5th Grade. Masks not required for preschoolers. There will be no large group time, with classroom gatherings only. Hand washing and hand sanitizer offered and encouraged in all rooms, upon entering and exiting.
Nursery will be offered at 9:45am and 11:15am.

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Sept. 16, 2020
IN-PERSON SERVICE TIMES
  • 8:10a: Vulnerable-friendly service | Face mask required | Traditional Music | No Congregational singing
  • 9:45a / 11:15a: Face mask requested per city mandate until October 21, 2020 | Contemporary Music | Congregational Singing
**We have adjusted service times to allow for ample cleaning time between each service. Online Livestream service will now start at 9:45a and is available through Facebook, YouTube, or watch the next day on our website or on the Cedar Falls Trinity app.

WHAT TO EXPECT:
  • God's inspired and infallible Word, amazing worship music, and a welcoming community!
  • A nearly touch-free environment. Communal items will be removed such as pens, Bibles, bulletins, and hymnals. Doors will be propped open, or opened for you.
  • Coffee, donuts, and water fountains will not be available.
  • Offerings can be placed in the offering boxes located in the sanctuary, or by giving online. 
  • All staff and volunteers will be required to wear face masks.
  • The North, West, and South entrances will be unlocked to enter and to exit the building. All other doors will be locked. 
  • Everyone will be ushered into the sanctuary by household units (families, students who share an apartment, etc.) to their seats to ensure proper seat spacing.
  • Surfaces/spaces such as chairs and bathrooms will be sanitized between services.

WHAT WE ASK OF YOU:
  • Face masks are required for the first service and are requested and encouraged for the second service in order to follow the mandate by Cedar Falls, until October 21, 2020. If you need a face mask, we will be offering free face masks at all entrances.
  • If you are not feeling well, please stay home and watch online.
  • Bring your own coffee, water, Bible, and pens.
  • Please exit the sanctuary immediately following the service to ensure proper cleaning between services. 
  • Avoid handshakes and hugging and practice 6 feet of social distancing whenever possible. We know this is a hard one!
  • Come with a heart prepared to worship God!

questions?

for more information, contact our office & operations manager, trina landmesser.