I am pleased to share the news that the Council has voted to open the Sanctuary to worship beginning April 11. There will, of course, be new protocols to follow as we ease our way out of the pandemic, but we feel that things have improved enough to allow for this step. God has protected us during this time and taught us a great deal about what it means to follow Him in times of hardship. I pray we will return stronger in our faith, more committed to one another and more agile in our discipleship.
Here is the plan for resuming worship in the Sanctuary:
Schedule: Sundays, 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., worship only.
Rationale – We aren’t sure how many people will take advantage of worship or how the size of our congregation has changed during the pandemic. If we find that demand is more than capacity, we will add a service. We won’t have education in person as it puts people in the building longer, and children and their parents are less likely to have received the vaccine. Sunday School and the Adult Seminar will continue online. We will also continue Wednesday Night LIGHT worship at 7 p.m. outdoors when weather allows and indoors otherwise. We will continue to provide online worship.
Protocols: Masks are required, 45-minute service, communion in seats, reservations required, coffee served outside. Cleaning between services. Singing is allowed. Bathroom use is allowed, but only one person at a time. We’ll have a simplified bulletin, a smaller cadre of volunteers and use the hymnal. Nursery will be staffed and held in the Gathering Place.
Capacity: Approximately 100. We’ll do reservations by pews. We have 34 pews and are planning to do staggered seating. So, individuals and couples can be on either end of every other pew and larger families can be in the center of the other pews. No one will be seated directly in front or behind anyone else so that most people are properly distanced. Reservations are required, but if someone shows up without a reservation, and we have room, they will be allowed.
Rationale – Many of our members have received vaccination, and a majority will have access by the middle of April. We chose the week after Easter since we typically have lower attendance that Sunday and likely won’t be put in a situation of turning people away. We recognize that this will be a learning experience, and we will likely have to make several adjustments. It’s also probably likely that at the point we figure it out, we won’t need to have any restrictions and can set a new regular schedule of worship. 😊
Reservations: We will begin taking reservations next Wednesday, March 17. Reservations can be made using the form that will be emailed to the congregation that day or by calling the church office.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience. We are in this together and will figure it out together. I’m so proud of this congregation for holding together and weathering this storm in unity. The end is in sight. May God bless and guide us through this next chapter and transition.