As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts
and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. (Psalm 42:1-4)
The Church is defined as the people of God gathered around God’s Word and Sacraments. It’s time for God’s people to gather again. Rejoice and be glad!
The elders met yesterday to discuss re-opening the church for in-person worship. The date that we plan on re-opening is June 7th.
However, we wish to proceed with an abundance of caution, so we will observe the following social distancing measures:
- At this time we will not celebrate communion in the Sunday worship services; communion will still be offered during the week to family groups as before. With the church office opening up again you may call the church to reserve a time.
- We will limit the seating in the sanctuary to 50 again. With that in mind we will have overflow available in the narthex with a live-stream. Ushers/elders will escort you to a seat that is a minimum 6 ft apart from other families; they will also try to dismiss people so that distancing is kept as well. There will be no receiving line after service obviously: I plan on going outside and greeting people from a distance.
- We will utilize the 3-service protocol we developed in March. The 8:30 (Traditional) service is for elderly members; the 9:45 service will repeat the 8:30 service and be encouraged for younger member and members with children. The 11:00 (Blended) service will use the same order of service but have CCM songs instead of hymns.
- Both the 8:30 and 11:00 services will still be live-streamed Sunday morning. For those with underlying health concerns staying home and live-streaming is still the safest option.
- The worship bulletins will still be made available in a waterproof box outside the church doors Saturday afternoons for those who are uncomfortable or unable to attend in person and still live-streaming. If you can not come get a bulletin, call your elder to make arrangements for us to deliver one to you.
- Masks are recommended and encouraged.
- Coffee will not available at this time to prevent people from congregating in the narthex; again, ushers/elders will usher you to a seat to maintain social distancing. We would like to see coffee available outside after services, but not at this time.
- We will print all music so that the hymnal is not necessary; therefore all hymnals will be removed from the sanctuary. However, if someone wishes to borrow a hymnal to take home and back each week we will make them available.
These precautions are only temporary; we will return to our normal schedule as soon as it is reasonable to do so. In the meantime, let me remind you to be wise: if you have underlying health issues (or live/interact with someone who does) it is safer to worship at home via live-stream. In due time we will all be able to safely gather again.