"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the
habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see
the Day approaching."
“So, when are we getting back together?” That’s a question I have been asked a lot lately. But there is a lot more that goes into answering that question than most people realize. First, we want to provide as safe an environment as possible for you to worship. We also need to be in a position to truly engage in worship. It’s pretty tough to sing hymns and songs if everyone has to wear a mask. And we need dozens of support details and people in place to make it happen, which is overlooked by many but cannot be overlooked by leadership in order for any restart to happen. Its far easier to shut things down than to start them up.
I have been seeking input on this subject from many different people in our congregation before coming to a solution. One thing is sure: there is no consensus. There are a lot of different opinions on this subject - some very strong. And the situation remains very fluid. A decision made one day can be rendered obsolete by new information the next day. Any plan must remain flexible.
So, here is the plan (stay tuned for updates as the situation demands):
The church office and building
The church office and building will reopen on Monday, June 1st with regular staffed office hours from 9 - 5, M- F.
Phase I of the plan is to begin welcoming worshipers at 10:30 am Saturday mornings beginning Saturday, May 30th.
Two options available during the June transition:
- Live Taping of Worship Service Saturday mornings at 10:30am
- Live Services on Sundays at 11:00AM through June 20/21
No limit. No sign ups required. Social distancing will be observed. Communion will be available in “contactless” cups. Childcare is available but you must notify the office if you need childcare.
Note: we have fogged the sanctuary with a powerful virus-killing fogging agent! This provides 6 months of virus protection and prevention so you can rest assured that you and your family will be protected. The product is called "BioShield 75". It is an antimicrobial protectant used in food service facilities as well as public spaces such as ours. It is water based, odorless and colorless. It is non-toxic and approved by the EPA.
Phase 2 of the plan is for regular worship at 5:30, 9:00 and 11:00 to resume on June 27th/28th. We have also rescheduled our congregational meeting from May to June 28th following the 11:00 worship service. We will be practicing social distancing at worship, with ushers dismissing people by rows so that there isn’t any bunching up in the aisles. At worship services where communion will be celebrated, elements will be distributed as you enter the sanctuary. The offering will be received at the door when you leave. We also plan on offering Nursery and Children’s Church at the Sunday morning worship services beginning that weekend. People in a vulnerable capacity are urged to exercise caution and good judgment about attending at this point.
Virtual Church: Virtual church on our website and youtube will continue as it has been until we restart the three worship services at the end of June. At that time we will return to simulcasting the 11:00 worship service as we did prior to the shut-down and then posting a library of past sermons online. In this way those who do not feel that it is safe yet to return may continue to worship with us online.
Special Event: Finally, Mark Ponder’s group will lead either worship or a Christian music concert on our north lawn hopefully in June, weather permitting. We don’t have the luxury of a rainout, so we will have to announce this about a week in advance once a clear weather forecast is determined. This setting will allow both limited seating in spaced chairs on the lawn as well as the ability to watch and participate from your car in the parking lot.
Other Groups and Activities: Small groups and small activities can resume June 1st with scheduling to be done through the church office. The meetings must practice safe distancing, which means that occupancy will be restricted to no more than 25% of the room’s capacity.
Please continue to pray for our country, community, and church. My desire is that these steps are seen as a sign of hope and resumption of a more normal schedule.
Welcome back to live worship!
In Jesus’ name and service,