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Gathering Again

I am excited to be able to worship together in person again on May 31. It has been a long time. 

Before we discuss the service itself, let me thank the team that has worked so hard to develop our worship service. The team includes Luke Kunefke, Bill Russell, Henry Covert, Karen Henson, Justin Harris, Rita Lanham, and Martin Agbasonu. A special thanks to Dr. Joey Alge who advised us on safe practices for gathering. As you can imagine, there has been much to discuss and many decisions to be made. Because so much is new and rapidly changing, we might tweak this or that going forward. Regardless, our ongoing goal is have a service that is as rich and as safe as possible.

Here are things to know concerning our services.

  • We ask everyone to self-screen before coming for worship. Specifically, we urge anyone with these COVID-19 symptoms to watch our live stream service. Cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit, known close contact with a person who is lab confirmed to have COVID-19.

  • There will be services at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. 

    • The early service is intended for people deemed “at risk” by health authorities, i.e., over age 65 or with health issues. Of course, no one is required to come to this service. But it is offered as an option for “at risk” people.

    • The 10:30 a.m. service will be live streamed.

    • The 10:30 a.m. service will also set aside space in the living room where any “at risk” people may watch the service as it is live streamed, if they wish. Anyone choosing this option may come into the worship space to receive communion.

    • Both services will be liturgically the same. Specifically:

      • Less singing.

      • Fewer readings and prayers.

      • The peace will be exchanged by waves or other expressions of affirmation, without touching one another.

      • An offering basket will be located by the exit door. Offerings will be dropped in upon leaving the service.

      • A symbolic offering basket will be raised to God during singing of Doxology.

      • Communion will be given by masked and gloved clergy.

      • Communion wine will be given by means of disposable plastic cups.

      • Children will not be touched at their blessing.

      • Social distancing will be needed during communion and at the dismissal.

  • Along with these liturgical practices, we will also have these safety measures in place.

    • The front doors will remain open throughout the service. No touch.

    • Everyone over the age of two is urged to wear a mask. Children under the age of two may shelter in place in a stroller or car seat with a covering.

    • Everyone is encouraged to use hand sanitizer found in the foyer.

    • No Name Tags.

    • No Bulletins, Pens or Envelopes.

    • Water Fountain is not to be used.

    • No Childcare. Nursery Area closed and Locked.

    • No Children’s Program.

    • No Hospitality. Snack Area Closed.

    • No Adult Forum.

    • Anything touched during the 8:30 am service will be cleaned (music stands, microphones, A/V equipment, restroom doors, etc.)

    • Chairs will be white, plastic (readily cleaned) and will be spaced similar to the photo below.

As you can see, things will be different than when we were together earlier in the year. It might take some getting used to. But the inconveniences are ways of living into God’s mandate to love him and our neighbor. That is, we are worshiping God together and we are caring for our neighbor through distancing and sanitizing. I have no doubt that God will honor our efforts and will pour out his grace and blessing on us. After a while, it will become natural.

See you May 31 in person or online. Until then…

Stay safe,