Blue Oaks Response to Covid-19

Blue Oaks Response to Covid-19

News and Updates related to Blue Oaks Church and COVID-19

With recent announcements by the Alameda County Public Health department regarding reopening the economy, I wanted to update you about the status of in-person gatherings at Blue Oaks Church. 

This documents let’s you know:

  • What Alameda County has announced
  • What Pleasanton Unified has announced
  • What we learned from you in our survey
  • What our current plans are

What has the County of Alameda announced?

You can read the press release here, but the summary is that churches are allowed to resume in-person gatherings consistent with the State standard of 25% of room capacity or 100 people, whichever is smaller. The county recommends a more stringent standard of gatherings not greater than 25 and not indoors. In addition to those size limits, a plan is required that describes individual control measures and screenings, physical distancing, disinfecting and cleaning protocols, and employee and volunteer training. Church services will require physical distancing in the room, face coverings, no-touch procedures, no singing, and no food or coffee service. Additionally, children will be required to stay in the care of those in their household. In short, church services will not resemble what we experienced before the pandemic. 

What will Pleasanton Unified allow?

The short answer is we don’t yet know the details yet. We rent space from the school district for our services, and we have been informed that rentals can resume in July. However, we do not yet know the costs or protocols they will require of facility renters. Nor do we know if they will let us rent the individual classrooms that are essential to providing Kids ministries or if they will limit us to the Multipurpose room.

What did we hear from you?

In late May, we asked you to complete a lengthy survey about the Summer, current online services,  Kids and Students ministries, and resuming in-person gatherings. Thank you to the 200+ people who provided us input.

Regarding reopening, only 32% wanted in-person services to resume immediately. 35% wanted all activities to remain online-only, and the remainder were undecided. Of those who wanted to open immediately, only half were willing to serve on Sundays to make that a reality.

Regarding summer activities for kids and students, the vast majority are interested in outdoor activities that are social or service in nature. For Middle School or High School aged kids, parents want small group gatherings as well, as long as they remain small.

What is our plan?

As we plan to move forward, we will seek God’s guidance, always remembering our first duty is to Love God and Love Others. In 1 Corinthians 13:7, we read that love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. These ideas are central to the three parts of our plan:  

  • Continue with online church;
  • Create opportunities for people to gather together in-person on Sundays and throughout the week;
  • Resume in-person services when the experience is equal to the online experience.

Continue with online church

In the pre-COVID days, we designed our worship service primarily for an in-person experience and broadcast it as an afterthought. Since COVID began we’ve only been able to deliver services online and have striven to make that experience better and more meaningful each week. We will continue to do this for the foreseeable future.

Create opportunities for people to gather together in-person on Sundays and throughout the week.

Even though we are all eager to reconvene in person, most of us are not yet comfortable doing so in larger groups.  Throughout the summer, we will create opportunities for midweek gatherings for fellowship or for serving others.  We also intend to pilot Sunday watch parties where people can gather in homes or other places throughout the Tri-Valley to watch services with others in smaller groups. 

Resume in-person services when the experience is equal to the online experience.

Blue Oaks creates experiences for people to connect in community, to hear relevant, engaging teaching, and to partner with parents in leading their children into Christ-centered living. While we hope we are providing an engaging online service during this season, our desire is to resume in-person services just as soon as the experience can more closely resemble what we’ve come to love about worshipping together in person. Until then, we are doing everything possible to coordinate with local governments and the school district to make in-person gatherings a meaningful reality.

Dear Blue Oaks,

Things are changing dramatically and rapidly. Even as the County imposes a “shelter in place” order, we are committed to pastoring to our church and community.

A driving vision for Blue Oaks is that everyone is connected and building relationships. We want the Blue Oaks community to grow, learn, serve, and laugh with each other. We want to remove barriers to relational connections at Blue Oaks.

Our traditional means of facilitating connections will be different until this crisis is over. Still, just as companies and schools are learning how to work and learn remotely, Blue Oaks will too. We are rolling out new features in our Blue Oaks app, such as a member directory and the ability to sign up for text communications based on interest.  We are rolling out the ability to host small groups via Google Hangouts and/or teleconference. We will also be sharing opportunities to serve others even as we shelter in place. Finally, we will remind you how to gain access to RightNow Media, which is the Netflix of Bible studies.  We’re creating age-specific playlists for Kids and Students.

Google Hangouts & Audio Conferencing for Small Groups

All existing small groups will be assigned a Google Hangout code and a telephone number that you can use to facilitate virtual small group meetings. You will receive an email when the group is created with your group’s specific instructions.

New Virtual Small Groups

If you are interested in participating in or leading a virtual group using the Google Hangouts video and audio conferencing technology, please email groups@blueoakschurch.org. When combined with the content from RightNow Media, a virtual small group can be an easy way to connect. 

Right Now Media for Individuals & Families

RightNow Media is the Netflix of Bible studies.  The studies are for all ages and every topic under the sun. RightNow has an app that runs on your phone as well as TV and is free to use as an attendee of Blue Oaks, but registration is required. Sign up for a free account here.

Blue Oaks Directory

There is a new feature we will add to the Blue Oaks app which is downloadable from your favorite phone app store. The purpose of the directory is to let others who attend Blue Oaks know how to contact you.  In the app, the information that you choose to share such as name, email or phone number is up to you to decide. You don’t have to share your contact information at all if you don’t want to.  Only people for whom we have some record of attending Blue Oaks will be approved to see the directory. We know that privacy is important but so is connection. You decide how much to share.  Look for a separate invitation to this new service.

Church-Wide Texting

If we have your cell phone number in our system, you will be invited to opt-in to our new church-wide texting system. When this feature is turned on, you will receive a text inviting you in.  If you choose to accept, you will be given the opportunity to select the types of messages you receive such as kids, students, daily devotionals, etc. At any time, you can opt-out by texting “stop” to the number.

Prayer Requests

We have a dedicated prayer team who continues to pray for you every​ week. We have an online prayer request capability here. If you need to talk to a pastor, pray in real-time or receive a counseling referral, please email care@blueoakschurch.org.

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We have made the difficult decision to move to online services for the next few weeks as the COVID-19 situation unfolds. The safety and well-being of our guests and volunteers is our top priority so there will be no live gatherings at Foothill High School starting this Sunday, March 15th. We invite you to join us online across several different platforms that accommodate the entire family. Beginning this Sunday we are adding a Kids Ministry broadcast and a Middle School Ministry broadcast to our regular Sunday online service.

Broadcast Schedule

  • 9:30 am  Kids Ministry
  • 10:00 am  Adults & High School Students
  • 11:00 am  Middle School Ministry

Kids Ministry

The typical format for Kids ministry on Sunday is a game, a video lesson, craft, and worship. At 9:30 am, Nancy McMillin, our Family Ministry Director, will get things started and transition to the video lesson. Look for an email from our Kids Ministry with some activities that parents can do with their kids at home from 9:45 until 10:00 am.  

Adults & High School Students Ministry

Our 10:00 am service will remain the same with worship and teaching.  Matt VanCleave will continue with part three of the Love series.

Middle School Ministry

We invite middle school students to participate at 11:00 am, when Kylie McCormick, our Student Ministry Pastor, will teach the next segment in the Lead Like Jesus series.

How to Watch On-Line

We will broadcast through our church appour websiteYouTube and Facebook

Small Groups

Given that small groups are small, we are recommending that these gatherings continue, but we recommend you follow the same rules in the small group meetings that you are being advised everywhere else: don’t attend if you’re sick, wash your hands frequently, don’t shake hands, etc. We will continue to have Middle School and High School small group gatherings on Sunday and Wednesday evenings.

Events

Unfortunately, we need to cancel Easter Jam which was scheduled for March 29th. We are planning on having Serve Sunday on April 19th. We expect our summer events such as Hume Lake and the Ecuador mission trip will continue. We will let you know if this changes.

Prayer Requests

We have a dedicated prayer team who continues to pray for you every week. We have an online prayer request capability here. If you need to talk to a pastor, pray in real-time or receive a counseling referral, please email care@blueoakschurch.org.

Please Share this with Others

We want to make sure that we reach every person who attends Blue Oaks, and sometimes we don’t have their emails. If you are talking to friends at Blue Oaks who haven’t heard about these changes, please share this information with them.

Conclusion

The Church has never, and will never, be confined to a building. And our community is not limited to Sunday mornings at Foothill High School. Thank you for your understanding and your participation online this Sunday, and please continue to pray for our city, valley, nation, and world.⁠

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Dear Blue Oaks Family,

We want to care for our church in all respects, including the physical well-being of our community. In light of recent developments with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to let you know how we are responding as a church and how you can respond individually. In situations like this, it’s easy ​to live in fear of the headlines and the unknowns, but we are ​encouraged in 1 Peter 5:7 to “Cast all your anxiety on Him (God) because He cares for you.”

Our Response

We have been taking, and will continue to take, precautionary measures on Sundays and at other group events, guided by local health professionals and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alameda County Public Health Department. ​

What we do to keep our kid’s areas safe and clean:

  • We will sanitize highly touched surfaces before and after every service such as toys, tables, doors, handles and check-in stations.
  • Our staff and volunteer teams will wash their hands frequently and stay home if they are sick.
  • We will provide hand sanitizer in all classrooms and will encourage students to use sanitizer at the beginning of each service and after coughing or sneezing.
  • Toys in the nursery are deep cleaned on a bi-monthly basis.

What we do to keep our common areas safe and clean:

  • We will have hand sanitizer dispensers at the donut tables, the beverage stations and in the foyer leading into the auditorium.
  • We will sanitize highly touched surfaces before and after every service such as door handles, check-in stations and beverage dispenser handles.
  • We are asking our Connection and Café staff and volunteers to wash their hands frequently and stay home if they are sick.

Your Response

Here are every day actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases and the current Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alameda County Public Health Department precautions:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • ​Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

In Psalm 46, we are reminded that it is God who is our refuge and strength, and our ever-present help in trouble. Please join us in praying for those around the world who are affected by this illness, as well as their caregivers and those who are working around the clock to minimize the impact of this virus.

Scott Haus, Associate Pastor

Nancy McMillin, Family Ministry Director

Send this to a friend
Hi, I thought this may interest you: Blue Oaks Response to Covid-19! Here is the link: https://blueoakschurch.org/blue-oaks-response-to-covid-19/