WORSHIP EXPERIENCE TIMES Sunday 8:30 | 10:00 | 11:30

COVID-19 UPDATE

* New Update - May 15, 2021 *

- May 15, 2021 -


E-mail from Pastor Scott Feather on behalf of Gateway Leadership:


Love of neighbor and respect for authority are two Biblical principles that have helped guide God’s people for centuries and have certainly helped us navigate the last 15 months with COVID. Thank you again for your patience with us, your leadership at GTWY Church, as we have sought to honor God through this challenging time. We know you have made sacrifices, and those do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. It is an honor to be a part of this family.


Just a few days ago you received communication from me saying: 


“We are asking that you continue to wear a mask (medical exemptions honored) while at 160 Cowan Road; however, beginning this weekend, they can be removed in The Main during the Conversation (our fancy word for the sermon). We will continue to wear masks while walking around in the building interacting with each other and while worshipping through song.”


We sent that communication on Wednesday, and the following day the CDC released new guidance related to people who have been vaccinated. A synopsis of the CDC’s guidance states that “fully vaccinated people (two weeks after the second doses for vaccines that require two doses or two weeks after single-dose vaccines) can resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic without wearing a mask.”


GTWY Church does not desire to see division in the church; division breaks the heart of God. Nor do we wish to legislate personal convictions related to getting or abstaining from a vaccine. Nor do we wish for judgments to be made, one to another, on matters of conviction. Therefore, starting May 23rd (a week from this Sunday), we encourage you and your family to make personal, God-honoring decisions related to how you will move forward related to the recent CDC recommendations. 


Masks will not be required or even asked to be worn, in the building, but we still wish to honor the idea of “what does love require of us?” during a time when so many are still being affected by COVID-19. If you and your family desire to wear a mask, that will be honored and respected. If you and your family decide, based on CDC recommendations or other factors, that you can, will, or should not wear a mask, that too will be honored and respected.


This will not go into effect this weekend (May 16th) out of respect for volunteers already committed to serving you and your family well this weekend. So, we ask for your patience just one more weekend before this new change takes place. To some, this email will be received with applause and a hearty, “Amen.” To others, this will bring sadness and maybe even some confusion. We want to recognize both and let you know we hear you, we see you, we understand.


As before, if you have children or GSM students, you will be receiving another communication regarding steps we are taking with those ages specifically. Please look for that communication on Monday.


If you have any questions, concerns, or objections, please direct them to me; I would be happy to listen and have a conversation with you.


Thank you. You are loved. You are prayed for. You are seen.


(On a personal level, I wanted you to know how I will be responding to this decision. I will be wearing a mask for the next two Sundays, but starting May 30th I will not be wearing a mask while in the building. I will have been vaccinated for longer than two weeks by that time. I will carry a mask with me and will choose to “mirror” those that I have contact with. So, if wearing a mask is something you choose to do, I will mask during my interaction with you. If you do not wear a mask, I will remain maskless. To me, this is what “love requires of me,” and I do that with joy. If you have questions about my personal policy, please contact me and we can talk.)

*************************

Archived Communication

- May 12, 2021 -


E-mail from Pastor Scott Feather on behalf of Gateway Leadership:


Thank you for your patience and respect as we have tried to navigate masks on our campus during COVID-19. We are seeking to honor God and love our neighbor well. We know this has not been easy and just wanted to say "Thank You".


The Elders and COVID Task Force are constantly monitoring where numbers are at in Chester County in order to determine the best direction for our church family.


We are asking that you continue to wear a mask (medical exemptions honored) while at 160 Cowan Road; however, beginning this weekend, they can be removed in the Main during the Conversation (our fancy word for the sermon). We will continue to wear masks while walking around the building, interacting with each other, and while worshipping through song.


Again, thank you for your patience as we navigate this season - you have gone above and beyond. Thank you.


More information will be coming if you have a child in KidMin or a student in GSM.


- December 11, 2020 -


Yesterday our Governor and Secretary of Health laid out new mitigation orders in our state's battle with COVID-19. Though many of our families have been impacted by COVID-19, none have traced their infection back to 160 Cowan Road and the Worship Experiences of GTWY Church. God’s hand of protection has been on us. We are thankful that under Section 3 Paragraph B our government understands what we have known all along - that the Church is important and essential, not only in times like this, but always.

 

After prayerful consideration, the Elders of GTWY Church have made the decision to continue as we have been since November 22nd; We will continue to gather for Worship Experiences and GSM will meet at their regularly scheduled times.


Freedom of religion is a blessing in America, however, it is not freedom from responsibility. Masks will remain required (medical exemptions will be honored and respected) at all times while in the building. We will continue streaming the Worship Experience as we have been - so if you are not feeling well, have been around someone who has tested positive, or have any symptoms, please join us online. We have removed chairs and spaced out rows in The Main and continue with our new cleaning/sanitizing protocols. We would still love for you to RVSP before attending so we can be prepared for you, your family and your guests. Until January 4th, all other meetings/events in the church building will be capped at 10 people.



- November 19, 2020 -


One of our GTWY staff members has recently tested positive for COVID-19. They are doing well with very mild symptoms. We are following CDC guidelines related to contact tracing and have already contacted the individuals that fit within the parameters for contact tracing protocols. We are doing all we can to contain this spread and with God's protection that will happen. We are still proceeding this weekend with in-person worship. The staff member affected will be joining us online until CDC guidelines allow otherwise. We ask for your prayers for not only this staff member, and their quick and full recovery, but our church and community.


- November 18, 2020 -


Thank you for the sacrifices you have made these last nine months here at GTWY with the desire to love our community well and putting others' needs above your own. Those sacrifices do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. 


We are once again pivoting to help keep 160 Cowan Road a safe place for people to Encounter Jesus, Experience Community, and Embrace Mission.


Starting this weekend (November 22nd), we will be requiring masks at all times while you and your guests are on the campus (medical exemptions will be honored and respected). 


This is a change from the present "wear a mask until seated" (restaurant-style) paradigm that we have been under the last few weeks. Our desire is to keep the doors of 160 Cowan open as long as possible and this is a proactive step in that direction.


We have consulted with government officials, medical professionals, and people in our church family, young and old, and the best path forward is to continue to wear masks, distance yourselves while on campus, and to stay home when you are feeling ill. Again, this requirement does not apply to those in our church family who have a medical condition prohibiting them from wearing a mask.


Thank you for your patience and for putting people above preference. 


Thank you for adjusting for the good of others, even at a personal inconvenience. 


The Gospel has taught us well. Thank you for modeling God’s sacrifice on our behalf in this way.




- September 24, 2020 -


We're looking forward to reopening the campus for our worship experiences on Sunday, October 4th! 


The health and safety of those that walk through our doors is so important as we continue to navigate through this pandemic. But we also know and recognize that meeting as a church family is just as important! We ask that you continue to wear your mask anytime you are inside and unable to be socially distanced.  If you are an adult joining us for the Worship Experience in the Main, we will be mirroring current restaurant guidelines and allowing people to remove masks once they are seated. Please be mindful of those around you and be understanding when someone chooses to remove their mask or to keep it on for the entire experience. 


Our KidMin areas will continue to wear masks as social distancing with our kids is quite the challenge. If you are a parent or guardian please help our teams out by continuing to send your kids with a mask. Their teachers will be wearing masks at all times unless they are leading a lesson and communicating to an entire group. 


As always, if you have a medical condition prohibiting your ability to wear a mask, you are welcome here! Thank you for keeping yourself as safe as possible, and thank you to everyone else for being gracious and understanding for those who have a medical condition. 


Masks will continue to be available at the front doors for anyone that would like one.  


Please continue to RSVP for our worship experiences. Indoor attendance will be limited to 50% capacity for each room.


- September 5, 2020 -


Dear GTWY Family, 


Since July, we have been blessed by being able to meet at the pavilion at Cowan Park for our worship experiences. I continue to be amazed that God knew we would need the pavilion long before we did, and how it has become our “new home” on the weekends during this unprecedented time. 


The GTWY Elder Team has made the decision to extend our worship time in the Pavilion through the end of October unless new information emerges from the Governor's Office making it possible for us to move back inside sooner. 


We plan to begin meeting inside the building again on Sunday, November 1st. If stricter measures are mandated from the Governor’s Office, the Elders will reconvene to discuss. When we do gather inside, we will take every precaution necessary to ensure your safety to the best of our ability. 


If you have not joined us on Sundays yet, please know you are still thought of and loved! Our online experiences will remain the same at 9:00 and 10:45 on Sundays for those who wish to worship at home or in Worship Huddles. We hope you'll continue to join us there until you are comfortable returning to the campus. 


Thank you for your patience! Thank you for continuing to be the church even though the building is “closed”. God is moving in our midst; lives are being changed as they encounter the power of the Gospel. 



- JULY 16, 2020 -


Dear GTWY Family, 

We write this with excitement as we continue our steady diet of CHANGE! Someone once said that, “All things are difficult before they are easy,” and we are going to keep putting that to the test!


As most of you have probably seen, the Governor and Health Secretary of PA have put forth some new restrictions that they are asking the state to follow to help in this pandemic time. We are thankful for the grace you have shown as we try our best to make informed decisions, and would ask for an extra measure of that grace as our Elders and Staff work tirelessly to adapt and find new ways to continue to be the Church for you and our community.

 

We did not feel as if we had adequate time before Sunday to provide long-term solutions to these new orders that would keep our people safe and honor our authorities best, so we have come up with an interim plan that we are beyond excited to share with you and to experiment with together! 

 

This Sunday, July 19th, we will be meeting on campus at the PAVILION for our 9AM worship experience. You will be able to RSVP HERE to let us know you are coming: www.gtwy.life/RSVP

 

The governor has approved gatherings of 250 people or less in outside spaces and we will be able to handle that amount of people based on our attendance the last 2 weeks on campus. We will be social distancing through the pavilion and outside spaces throughout the morning.


When you arrive, we ask that you park in the normal parking lot and walk to the pavilion (maybe a 2 minute walk). If you have a special need to park closer, we will be glad to accommodate you as well; just wave down one of our volunteers or staff when you pull in and they will direct you on where to park closer. 

 

We have picnic tables ready for most of you, but if you are able and willing to bring a lawn chair and fill in around those tables, please do so. We will have spaces under the pavilion to put your own chair, or you will have all the space you can imagine outside to sit and enjoy! 


We are excited to have live worship and a live conversation from Pastor Jon this Sunday, and after our worship time we will be dismissing kids to their own classes. Preschool, KidMin, and 56 will have their own classes outside throughout the property. Some might head down toward the pond, some might find a new home on the 5th green of the disc golf course, but they will adventure together and spend some time learning in their own groups while the rest of us hop into the book of Micah.


We will not be providing nursery, so if you have a little one please keep them with you for the morning.


If you are able to bring your own device we will make sure that our notes and even some song lyrics will be available for you on the website, the app, or on YouVersion like always.

 

We cannot imagine being a part of a church family as awesome as you all have been. Thank you for your patience, for trusting us, and for being willing to experiment as a group. Your support has been invaluable. 

 

For those of you that are not able to join us in person at the Pavilion on Sunday, we have a very talented and quick moving team ready this weekend to wrap up at the pavilion and head back up to the church building to livestream the service for you all to enjoy from your living room or wherever you will be this Sunday! So, at 10:45 please tune in on Facebook or on live.gtwy.church.


We can’t wait to worship with you there as well!!

 

We love you. We are proud of how you are being the hands and feet of Jesus in this time of uncertainty. Thanks.



- JULY 2, 2020 -


In compliance with the Governor’s Mandate on July 1st, masks will now be required for those attending all GTWY Worship Experiences,  Discovery and Life Group events, GSM events, and any other activities inside our campus. This requirement is for pre-school age and above. We strongly encourage masks be worn at indoor activities off-campus as well. Please make yourself aware of the exemptions for wearing a mask based on the current guidelines from the PA Department of Health (7.1.2020). Also, masks are not required outside if social distancing of six feet or more is being observed. [PA Dept of Health Official Update on Masks]


As the situation changes, we will communicate accordingly, trying our best to keep you as informed as possible. 


We are sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we try to do our best to keep not just our church family, but our entire community safe at this time.  We ask that you please give grace to those who are not wearing a mask due to an exemption. All of the communication below dates June 28th is still in effect with this exception.

- JUNE 28, 2020 -


GTWY FAMILY, 


We are beyond excited about gathering together as Gateway Church again at 160 Cowan Road. Thank you again for your patience during this time and the patience you will show as we move forward.


Before each and every Sunday for the foreseeable future, please visit www.gtwy.life/rsvp to reserve a spot for you, your family, co-workers, neighbors and friends.


We have and will continue to voluntarily honor our governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7 683 NLT / 796 NVI) as they lead us through this pandemic known as COVID-19. We believe this response is God-honoring and the best way to love each other and our community during this time, thus glorifying Christ our Savior.


We (Jonny and Scott) along with the Elders, Staff, and COVID-19 Task Force at GTWY realize that churches receive a special exemption in following state and federal guidelines. However, we are choosing not to utilize that exemption, but instead to prioritize safety and respect. We will limit, through the RSVP system (www.gtwy.life/rsvp) our gatherings on Sundays to the requested limit of 250.


As was announced online on Sunday, June 28th, we will only gather in person on Sundays at 9am and 10:45am. We will not have Saturday Evening Worship Experiences for the time being. As soon as we are able to resume a 3rd Worship Experience, we will do so. Our volunteer pool at this present time limits what we are able to do.


We have loved seeing our church grow and flex different muscles during this time - muscles that we believe make us look more like what God intended when He sent His Son to die for us, conquering sin and death through His resurrection.


We have developed this plan with much prayer and discussion. We have also consulted with governing authorities at the state and local levels - including health professionals and our local police. 


At the present time, our Governor has declared Chester County to be in the Green Phase starting June 26th. On Sunday, July 5th, GTWY will resume gathering at 160 Cowan Road. We will voluntarily follow the guidelines set for both our state and/or federal authorities and the CDC. This means that we will gather at 160 Cowan Road in groups of less than 250 with children’s programming (Nursery, PreSchool, KidMin, 56). For more info about KidMin changes click HERE.  


The team will set up The Main (Gym) very much like you are accustomed to, but with wider aisles and rows. We will continue to provide a quality online experience for anyone unable to attend or for anyone who feels it best to stay at home.


Due to guidelines, our plan at this time is for our staff and volunteers to wear masks for the safety of others. This will not be required for anyone except for staff and volunteers, though we strongly encourage everyone to wear masks for the protection of others. Masks will be available for anyone who does not have one and would like to wear one in the building.


We will be performing temperature checks for children entering one of our designated children’s areas. If a child has a temperature of 100.4 or above, we will ask you to take them home and care for them there. 


WHY? 


We see this reopening and regathering strategy as a perfect opportunity to continue to remind ourselves that we are the church, not a building on 160 Cowan Road. We also desire to be a good example of love to our community, never seeking to create a barrier that the Gospel itself does not create. We have never been more proud of you, our church, and what God is doing in and through us during this time. We (Jonny and Scott) are honored and humbled to be part of you - to be known and loved by you. If you have any questions that are not addressed above or through the FAQ below - please contact us directly (scottf@gtwy.church or jonnyd@gtwy.church). If and when the state changes their guidelines, we will adjust - but this is where we stand as of June 28th.


Jonny Damon, Director of Operations (jonnyd@gtwy.church

Scott Feather, Lead Pastor (scottf@gtwy.church)    

FAQ 


  1. Starting July 5th, what changes will there be? We will continue to encourage online giving, but there will be new boxes installed in the building for those that wish to give in person. We will not be passing the offering baskets as we did in the past. At this point, programs will not be handed out, but a limited number will be available at the café if you would like. The café will not be offering items right away. (This will change in August.) Also, the Worship Experience will be in the 60 minutes range, as opposed to the usual 70 minutes. This will give us enough time in between 9:00 am and 10:45 am experiences to clean, as well as reduce overlap in the Atrium. Child Check-in and pick up will be different as well. Volunteers will help you check-in your child and pick-up will be behind the building. Parents will drive around and kids will be dismissed from there. (Click here for more info on KidMin procedures.) Remember, for the time being there will be no Saturday Evening Worship Experiences.
  2. Can we meet in the building during the “green phase” for Life Groups or Discovery Groups? Yes, the building will be available for group use, as well as the Pavilion, through reservation (rentals@gtwy.church).
  3. Does GTWY Leadership know that churches are exempt? Yes, but we are voluntarily abiding by the guidelines out of respect for our Governor and love of our neighbors. 
  4. What will cleaning look like during the “Green Phase”? Our cleaning routines will continue. We will add new measures to ensure that all surfaces in our building are clean for every single person that comes through our doors. There will be an active team of volunteers cleaning high-traffic areas throughout the Weekend Experience. 
  5. What if I do not feel safe or right coming back to the campus right away? We understand this. Take your time, do what is best for you and your family. We will continue to provide resources for you to worship at home or in a Worship Huddle.



- JUNE 3, 2020 -


GTWY Family,


We have and will continue to voluntarily honor our governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7 683 NLT / 796 NVI) as they lead us through this pandemic known as COVID-19. We believe this response is God-honoring and the best way to love each other and our community during this time, thus glorifying Christ our Savior.


We (Jonny and Scott) along with the Elders, Staff, and COVID-19 Task Force at GTWY realize that churches receive a special exemption in following state and federal guidelines. However, we are choosing not to utilize that exemption, but instead to prioritize safety and respect.


We have loved seeing our church grow and flex different muscles during this time - muscles that we believe make us look more like what God intended when He sent His Son to die for us, conquering sin and death through His resurrection.


We have developed this plan with much prayer and discussion. We have also consulted with governing authorities at the state and local levels - including health professionals and our local police. 


OUR PLAN FOR YELLOW PHASE: Starting June 5, 2020.


GTWY Church will continue to be the church by “fulfilling our mission every day.” We will continue to gather online for our weekly celebration and challenge that we affectionately call our Worship Experience, but with one special addition.


Starting June 5, we strongly encourage groups to gather on Sundays in “Worship Huddles” (Hebrews 10:23-25 731 NLT / 848 NVI) in homes, parks, parking lots, and patios in groups of 25 or less, practicing social distancing. Worship Huddles are groups of families, friends, neighbors, or co-workers that intentionally choose to gather together weekly to watch and engage in the online Worship Experience that we presently provide. These are organic groups with a leader or host home taking the initiative to reach out to others and invite them to gather and worship together. For those willing to host a Worship Huddle, could you please let us know (www.gtwy.life/worship-huddle)?


Anyone needing a place to gather can contact us at info@gtwy.church and we will do all that we can to get you connected to a leader/home near you.


More information about GSM will be coming soon from our Director of Students, Tony Villafane, but the principles all remain the same; GSM will not be gathering at 160 Cowan Road (though GSM may be using the Pavilion at Cowan Park).


KidMin will be offering small group Zoom opportunities for K-4th Grade Students. There will be more details to come.


No activities will take place on the campus, with the exception of our Food Pantry, which is serving our community in a life-sustaining way. The Pavilion at Cowan Park will be available through reservations for Worship Huddles, Discovery Groups and Life Groups if they would like to gather there. For a reservation, please contact rentals@gtwy.church. We also encourage Life and Discovery Groups to make wise and respectful decisions about gathering.


If you are in an “at-risk” category for this virus, though we love you dearly, we love you enough to encourage you to continue worship from home during this time. If you have had contact with anyone testing positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or if you have a fever, cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath we also strongly encourage you to stay home. Please let us know so we can be praying for you. (www.gtwy.life/connect)


OUR PLAN FOR GREEN PHASE: Starting _____________.


At the present time, our Governor has not indicated when Chester County will move to the Green Phase. When he does, GTWY will resume gathering at 160 Cowan Road two weeks after that announcement or on the date he gives, whichever is longer. We need this time to adequately prepare to open the doors with staff and volunteers needed for an experience we can all enjoy. We will voluntarily follow the guidelines set for both our state and/or federal authorities and the CDC.


Tentatively, that means that we will be gathering at 160 Cowan Road in groups of less than 250 with children’s programming (Nursery, PreSchool, KidMin, 56). We will use a system much like we have used in the past for you to reserve a seat. The team will be setting up The Main (Gym) very much like you are accustomed to, but with wider aisles and rows. We will continue to provide a quality online experience for anyone unable to attend or for anyone who feels it best to stay at home.


Due to guidelines, our plan at this time is for our staff and volunteers to be wearing masks for the safety of others. We will be performing temperature checks for children entering one of our designated children’s areas. If a child has a temperature of 100.4 or above, we will ask you to take them home and care for them there. Masks will be available for anyone who does not have one and would like to wear one in the building, but this will not be required for anyone except for staff and volunteers.


WHY?


We see this reopening and regathering strategy as a perfect opportunity to continue to remind ourselves that we are the church, not a building on 160 Cowan Road. We also desire to be a good example of love to our community, never seeking to create a barrier that the Gospel itself does not create. We have never been more proud of you, our church, and what God is doing in and through us during this time. We (Jonny and Scott) are honored and humbled to be part of you - to be known and loved by you. If you have any questions that are not addressed above or through the FAQ below - please contact us directly (scottf@gtwy.church or jonnyd@gtwy.church). If and when the state changes their guidelines, we will adjust - but this is where we stand as of June 3rd.


Jonny Damon, Director of Operations (jonnyd@gtwy.church)

Scott Feather, Lead Pastor (scottf@gtwy.church)    

FAQ 


  1. Is the church building opening in the “yellow phase”? We will but not have worship experiences at 160 Cowan Road, however they will continue online. We encourage you to start meeting in groups of 25 or less in homes while practicing social distancing. We strongly encourage Worship Huddles (see above) in groups of 25 or less to worship together on the weekends.
  2. When can we expect the church to reopen? 160 Cowan Road will reopen for Worship Experiences when the Governor moves Chester County in the “Green Phase”. We will regather two weeks after the announcement or the date he gives for opening, whichever is later.
  3. Will KidMin and Nursery be open when we reopen? Yes, we plan to be fully operational in the green phase though we will use an online reservation system to stay within the 250 person large group gathering limit requested by our Governor. Also, children will be temperature checked and any child with a temperature over 100.4 will be asked to be cared for at home. We will continue to provide an online Worship Experience for Kids as well. 
  4. When we are back open, what changes will there be? We will continue to encourage online giving, but there will be new boxes installed in the building for those that wish to give in person. We will not be passing the offering baskets as we did in the past. At this point, programs will not be handed out, but a limited number will be available at the cafe if you would like. The cafe will not be offering items right away. Also, the Worship Experience will be in the 60 minutes range as opposed to the usual 70 minutes. This will give us enough time in between 9:00 am and 10:45 am experiences to clean and not have people from both Worship Experiences passing in the Atrium. Child Check-in and pick up will be different as well. Volunteers will help you check-in your child and pick-up will be behind the building. You will drive around and kids will be dismissed from there. 
  5. Can we meet in the building during the “yellow phase” for Life Groups or Discovery Groups? No, the building will remain closed, but the Pavilion will be available through reservation (rentals@gtwy.church) for group use. 
  6. Does GTWY Leadership know that churches are exempt? Yes, but we are voluntarily abiding by the guidelines out of respect for our Governor and love of our neighbors. 
  7. What will cleaning look like during the “Green Phase”? Our cleaning routines will continue. We will add new measures to ensure that all surfaces in our building are clean for every single person that comes through our doors. There will be an active team of volunteers cleaning high-traffic areas throughout the weekend experience. 
  8. What if I do not feel safe or right coming back to the campus right away? We understand this. Take your time, do what is best for you and your family. We will continue to provide resources for you to worship at home or in a Worship Huddle.