Governor's Face Coverings Order
Elder's Statement and Request
in Regards to wearing a Face Covering in our Public Meetings
The state of Ohio is under a statewide Face Covering order. This order is applicable to all public gatherings. This is a Health Department order applicable to all individuals in the State of Ohio.
Clearcreek Chapel has clearly taught that we are to submit to our government as long as the government's laws and regulations do not compel disobedience to God's Word. Personal submission to government is a Christian obligation. Disobedience to the state may be necessary where the law or regulations compel personal disobedience to God.
However, the church is a separate sphere of authority over which the state does not rule. Voluntary compliance to law and regulations is usually wise and best. Therefore, we comply with building codes and other applicable laws. When the state passes laws or regulations that require disobedience to God, the church will disobey such laws recognizing that there may be consequences as a result. This has been the consistent stance of Biblical churches down through the ages. It is what we have believed, taught and continue to assert even in our present crisis.
The current face covering order for public gatherings, while uncomfortable and inconvenient, does not compel disobedience to the commands of God to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. It is NOT aimed specifically at churches and has specific exceptions for the officiant at a religious assembly. We understand then (a) the state is not forbidding our assembling together and (b) they recognize that since assembling will take place, there is an exception for the person leading the gathering.
We understand that it is controversial and many deny it is actually useful in limiting the spread of disease. We as elders have been charged with the responsibility and the authority to wisely plan, schedule and regulate the public gatherings of the church. We set the service times, format, form, singing and preaching plan and what you can and cannot do in our gatherings. We make these wisdom decisions taking into consideration many different viewpoints. Even when we closed public gatherings on our campus we did NOT do so in submission to government mandates. Given what we knew at the time, we thought a temporary closing of in-person gatherings was wise. We are now, given what we know, believe that it is wise and best to have in-person gatherings. We want to stress again, that those decisions took government and medical guidelines into account, but we did not do them in submission to the state.
Because we believe that it is wise, the Elders have revised our guidelines to include the following statement: As we do with other government regulations and laws and as long as the government's guidelines or orders do not compel direct disobedience to God, for our public gatherings, the Chapel will ask our church family to comply with public orders not specifically singling out churches.
Please read this carefully. This is what it means for our public gatherings:
- The Elders ask our church family to wear a face coverings when attending our public gatherings. We have face coverings available if you need them.
- The Elders do not mandate that our church family wear a face covering when attending our public gatherings. We will not turn you away.
- We are asking you to submit to the elders in this matter.
- If you are opposed to wearing them and refuse to do so, please examine your own heart as to why.
Wearing a face covering does not prevent you from gathering to worship. For the present, the Elders are asking you to wear a face covering while attending our public gatherings. Please wear your face covering during the whole gathering. The exemptions we recognize are for children under 10 years old, those having a health condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering and the leaders who are upfront leading the service itself.
Please do not allow this to deter you from coming to and participating in our gatherings Sunday or any others as scheduled. We should so crave being together that inconvenience and hindrances are overcome for our spiritual good.