Our Session met this past Tuesday, May 26, to review final preparations for resuming “in-person” worship. The Session, after much discussion and prayerful consideration, confirmed our decision to resume “in-person” worship this Lord’s Day, May 31 2020. We wanted to let you know what to expect as we resume.
Please note that we will begin worship at 10:30 am. This is earlier than our 10:45 am start time before we moved to live stream only. Announcements will start at 10:20 am and the service will begin at 10:30 am. We will NOT meet for Bible Study before worship until at least September 2020.
Some of you expressed through our survey that you are not comfortable resuming. For some this was because of restrictions related to your work. For others it was due to your own health vulnerabilities or those of loved ones to whom you provide care. The Session wants to stress that, while gathering with others for worship is fundamental to Christian discipleship, there are times when this must be balanced by our duties and responsibilities to others.
If you must be more cautious about returning, do not feel anxious about that decision. You may continue to gather with the congregation for worship via the live stream. We have invested in the technology necessary to continue live streaming from now on. Going forward, this will be an option for those unable to attend in-person.
Let me say the same thing for those who have been sick. If you have had a fever within the last 48 hours, or have had symptoms of any respiratory illness, or have had contact with someone COVID-19 positive within the last two weeks, please stay home and join us via live stream. Furthermore, if you have experienced any type of contagious illness and have been recently symptomatic, please stay home.
Just as those who must stay home are exercising caution and concern for others, those who return must also exercise caution and concern for others. As we gather, we will practice social distancing and we must not express judgment toward others. Just as we are warned in regards to the Lord’s Table to examine ourselves, let us restrict our examination regarding resuming and social distancing to ourselves as well.
Below are a few things you need to know about social distancing for those who resume.
- As you arrive, please enter in an orderly and distanced fashion. Parents take care to keep your children with you as you enter and exit and as you find a seat. Someone will be at the door to greet you and assist you with a low-touch entry.
- We will have hand-sanitizer available at every entry and in the restrooms.
- If you feel comfortable wearing a mask, please do so. The use of cloth masks is a courtesy and benefit to others. While they may not protect you from illness, they will protect others from illnesses you may have, even if you are not showing symptoms. Most of you indicated that wearing a mask was an important factor in your comfort in returning. So, let me encourage you to wear a mask as much as you are able.
- We will not be able to provide masks. If you do not have a mask, please contact me and I will find one for you.
- We ask that families to sit together.
- Please try to maintain a distance of 6 ft between family groups. This can be accomplished by keeping one row of seating between you and others.
- Orders of service, containing everything you need to participate in the liturgy, will be placed on each end of alternating rows of seats in order to limit “touch.” These will also continue to be available online.
- You may continue to give your tithes and offerings by mail or online. We will also have a secure offering box by the door as you enter and exit. Thank you for your faithful giving.
- Our service will include singing, but it will be more limited than usual. Each service will include two hymns and we will conclude the service with the doxology. It is more difficult to sing in a mask, but also more important. You are not required to wear a mask. But if you are unable to wear a mask while singing, please sit so that no one is closer than 16 feet directly in front of you.
- Pastor Wheeler will wear a mask while outside of the pulpit, but will not wear it while leading the service. For this reason, everyone will be asked to sit at least 16 feet from the pulpit.
- Please avoid all physical contact with others. You can greet each other with smiles and warm words, but not with a hug or a handshake.
- You may enjoy in person fellowship outside before and after the gathering. But even outside please limit contact and maintain distancing.
- Refreshments and fellowship meals will not resume at present for our corporate gatherings.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.