Our Response to the Face Mask Mandate
Last Thursday, the Panhandle Health District voted 4-2 in favor of requiring everyone in a public place in Kootenai County to wear a face mask. You can read the official order here. As a 501c3 within county limits, we recognize ourselves as included in that mandate.
We are the Body of Christ in Bayview. We seek to reach the lost by displaying Christlikeness in our community. This includes providing for people in need, offering services via livestream and audio, and being good neighbors. One of the main ways we wish to be a good neighbor is by following Christ’s example to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.”
Because of this, we believe we have the responsibility to do the following:
1. Communicate the Mandate:
We will work to communicate the new rule as much as possible, including on our website, Facebook page, e-newsletters, blogs, and on Sunday mornings. Contact us with questions.
2. Accommodate the Mandate
We will have face masks available on Sunday mornings for those who forget or were unaware of the new restriction. We will also continue to practice social distancing in the same ways we did when we returned in June. If you are in need of extra masks, contact us.
3. Model the Mandate:
Pastor Stephen, the elders, and their wives will be wearing face masks at all future Sunday services until further notice. We hope to do this in an effort to lead by example.
However, while we feel obligated to communicate, accommodate, and model this rule, we currently do not believe we have the authority to enforce it. This being an individual mandate, it is the person, not the organization, that will be held liable for noncompliance.
Those arriving on Sunday without masks will not be asked to leave. All church attenders will be treated equally in love despite their stance on the issue. Any physical or verbal attacks in church against those not wearing masks will not be tolerated.
With all this in mind, we want to implore our congregation to approach this new mandate on Sunday, not through the lens of personal preference, but through the lens of Christ. Onlookers were astonished when Jesus told Jews to pay taxes (Matt. 22:15-22). They gasped when He restored a Roman soldier’s ear (John 18:10-11). Christ led a life of radical faith that repeatedly broke religious traditions yet complied with foreign laws.
It was Him who said to walk an extra mile in service of a foreign soldier, to provide the tunic off our back, and to turn the other cheek (Matt. 5:38-42). This did not reveal His weakness. It showed His strength.
We ask that everyone who comes on Sunday be willing to show a similar strength.
This Sunday, leave “self” at the door. Leave the news and the vitriol and the frustrations on the curb and put on the mind of Christ, who took on the form of a servant and became obedient to death, even death on the Cross (Phil. 2:1-11).
Resting in Him,
Stephen Angliss, Pastor Donald Gardner, Chairman
Terry Auten, Secretary
Alvin Wilkie, Elder
Scott Currie, Elder
Ken Fry, Elder
Frank Thomas, Elder