It was very exciting to get the news from President Ramaphosa that the faithful may gather under strict guidelines. It was exciting to think about The Gathering getting together again from June 7th, but as pastors we also have a duty of care of our church members and we need to be leading by example in how we navigate our way out of the current crisis.

For The Gathering it feels right that we remain in exile for just a little longer.

There are some practical reasons, not least that we have no wish to expose our more vulnerable members to unnecessary health risks. And the fact that The Gathering simply doesn't have the resources to clean and sanitise to the level we would be expected to. We're working on that, but we're a while away from being ready.

Also, we've prayed it through and chatted with other Pastor friends and we seem to be of a like mind in remaining in exile for a little while longer.

The fact remains that infection rates are very likely to rise once the lockdown is eased to Level 3, and there have been clearly documented cases of church gatherings being responsible for spreading the coronavirus. Firgrove is geographically very close to one of the Western Cape's worst Covid-19 hotspots, and that hotspot is suddenly going to disappear on June 1st when the lockdown eases, quite the contrary. It is quite likely that Macassar will become a hotspot given it's proximity to Khayelitsha, and that would make life very difficult for Firgrove.

So for now we need to be responsible, see what happens with infection rates in June, watch what happens with the local hotspots and then revisit this issue again towards the end of the month.

Regardless of what we decide about The Gathering's exile, church continues on WhatsApp, we will continue feeding those who are in need, and there is a Praise Party coming!

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