Praise the Lord! I am happy to let you know that the time has finally arrived that the Session feels comfortable with opening the building and worship on June 13 with certain protocols in place. It will be so good to see everyone face to face, to visit in person and to worship in the community of our family of faith! I want to thank everyone who responded to the survey and shared your ideas about meeting in person again. There was an overwhelming indication that it is time! A majority of respondents favored meeting in person with certain protocols in place. Even though we all have a strong desire to ‘get back to normal,’ our ‘normal’ will look and feel different for some time. The Session appointed a ‘Re-opening’ committee to discuss and present a ‘best practice’ scenario for meeting in person. With the guidelines the Session has approved, we are inviting those who feel comfortable doing so, to come to worship in person with the knowledge that it will be a different experience from that which you are accustomed. The first major change you need to be aware of is that Worship will be held at 9:30 a.m. until further notice. We will not be using fans and the earlier time will hopefully be a ‘cooler’ experience! Zoom will continue for those who choose not to attend in person so one difference for the person in the sanctuary is that I will not be at the pulpit. I will continue to conduct the service sitting on a stool in front of my computer on the floor level. We will not have a microphone in use because it will interfere with the Zoom. I will speak up and for you back pew dwellers….you may want to find a space closer to the front! The protocols for attending in person are listed below. We are required to abide by any State or Federal mandates and we will require that members and guests abide by the guidelines determined by the Session for our particular needs.
We will return to church mindful that the needs of each person differ. Some are more vulnerable than others. Some are less comfortable than others re-entering public life, and may be for some time. Some will have different viewpoints than others about protocols. And, that is O.K. The Session made faithful and prayerful decisions to reflect the needs of especially the more vulnerable among us. We will look to the guidance of our Lord as we navigate this return to ‘normalcy.’ I am confident we will have many opportunities to exercise our spiritual gifts of patience, kindness, gentleness, humility and self-control.
I am also confident that any awkward moments, struggles and bumps along the way will be off-set by the blessings of being re-united with friends, the peace of being in God’s house again, the opportunities to celebrate life’s events together, and thanksgiving that we have remained faithful and are reunited.
Let us be faithful to God and to one another during this transition. Let us be guided by the Word, responsive to the Spirit and open to the grace of God. In all things let us remember that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus.
Welcome Home! Blessings to you and yours!
In-Person Worship Protocols
- Only the Main Street Entrances and Ramp door will be open for entry and exit.
- The Narthex will be closed except access to the restrooms.
- Please respect the signage concerning protocols at all entrances
- Hand sanitizer will be at all entrances
- Masks for everyone are mandatory throughout June. This will be re-evaluated for July
- Distancing in every other pew
- Sit in family groups only
- Dismiss 1 pew at a time
- NO sharing of the peace
- NO passing offering plates, they will be placed at the doors
- Bulletins will be printed and available for self-service at the door or projected
- All Hymnals, Bibles, envelopes etc. will be removed from the pews
- NO congregational singing, Carl and I will work out alternatives!
- Communion: One pew/family at a time will come forward for self-contained communion elements.
- NO fans….windows will be open
- Zoom will continue as always; however that means NO sound system, people need to move up if possible and I will speak up.
- Fellowship will be outside if people would like to gather and visit, no lingering inside and no refreshments
- The Sanctuary will be sanitized every Monday
- Small groups of 25 or less may meet for meetings with distancing and masks
- Contact Tracing—We need volunteers to write down names of in person attendees in the event an issue arises. In the unfortunate occasion that there would be an exposure situation, we will decide appropriate action on a case by case basis. If there are changes in MI or National stats we will re-evaluate if necessary.
- NURSERY: There will be no attendant at this time; however, if a parent wants to take their child to the nursery, they may do so and Zoom the service. The toys will be sanitized prior to and after opening. In July we will reassess nursery protocol.
- WORSHIP WILL BE VERY DIFFERENT BUT WELCOME HOME!
- Please feel free to call Brenda if you have any questions!