Update on In-person Worship Services

July 14, 2021 – NOTES FROM CALLED SESSION MEETING ON JULY 13, 2021

The Sign-Up Genius has been suspended at least for the rest of the summer, and the friendship pads will be put back in the pews for record of attendance.

The ushers will return to  passing the offering plates.

We will begin having communion again the first Sunday of each month starting  in August using individual communion packets.

April 14, 2021 – REOPENING COMMITTEE REPORT TO SESSION

In our October meeting it was approved to allow our committee the latitude to determine dates for safe indoor, outdoor and alternative services of worship when the local data indicated it was safe to do so. Thankfully, I am here to report, we are now at that point.

We want to preface the following announcements with this statement: we all know things can change and as we move forward, we will continue tracking local data and adjust things, when and if necessary.

As you know the campus has been open for small groups and First Kids since the Fall. With all the proper safety measures in place.

Today we report the approval of adding food & drink to such gatherings. Boxed or pre-made foods to start and phasing into buffet style etc. as we see how trends go.

With this news, we are giving the OK to several organized events that are to take place later this Spring and into the Summer. These will all be scheduled for the front lawn of the Fellowship House.

OUTDOORS IS THE GOAL FOR ALL EVENTS.

FINALLY, In Person Worship. As soon as we begin in person worship, we will begin live streaming to our YouTube channel.

Fortunately, there is a detailed plan in place to safely to do this. It has been on the shelf since October. We have followed the local data and trends and are confident in the ability for our church family to do this in a safe way, just as private and public schools have been able to open for students……and that means adhering to these previously set forth guidelines:

  1. If you have not been on campus, there is a mask and social distancing policy –  with posted notices throughout. This applies to the Sanctuary, too.
  2. The pews have been roped off to allow for social distancing and ushers will seat you
  3. You will need to sign up in order to attend worship on Sunday mornings (and at this time we will only have one service at 11am)….there is a limit of 70 people inside the Sanctuary (this includes the specially trained ushers). There will be an additional 40 seats available, outside, that can also be signed up for weekly.
  4. There will be no collection of offering (we will continue to text to give) and there will be no communion.
  5. The choir will sing (masked in choir loft) but at this time the congregation will not
  6. The Minister (s) will not exit down the aisle at the end of service to greet parishioners
  7. PLEASE use the same acts of respect and safety you have used all these months as we begin to reopen for worship….MASKS are a must.

We anticipate being able to begin in person worship on May 16th (with the sign up genius going live a week before), as long as there is not an Easter spike of Covid-19.

We will continue to monitor local data and trends and loosen or tighten restrictions as that data directs. Session will be updated accordingly and NEWS updates for the congregation can be found on the home page of the church website under the “NEWS” tab, beginning this week. So, if you are asked you can direct folks to the website for information and up-to-date protocols.

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April 5, 2021

Hello and Happy Easter to you all. It is amazing to think it has been over a year since we were worshiping, together, in the Sanctuary! During the time away from in person worship, we have formed new ways to communicate and fellowship and simply be a church family. Since last Fall, a group of Session members and medical volunteers from the congregation have been working, together, on a reopening plan for in person worship. We have tracked data and listened to scientific facts, all in an attempt to make the safest decisions for us all!

The work that was put in toward that goal, produced a detailed plan for reopening the Sanctuary! Session approved the campus for reopening to small groups back in the Fall with the same safety considerations in place. Since then, some Adult SS classes have been meeting, the Youth had a successful mission weekend, the Scouting programs have been meeting as well as a circle or two…and we must mention our partnering with the Academic Learning Center to provide a place for after school (and in person!) tutoring to kids since no one has been permitted to be inside school buildings! Lastly, First Kids pre-school re-opened in August and have had a very successful – although different – year.

We are pleased to report that these successful times of in-person learning and being together in person would not have been possible without the commitment to safety and the respect of others that was put into place  and acted out perfectly by children, women and men alike.

It is with excitement that we report to you all that our time of coming together for in-person worship on the church campus is near. While we are not ready to share an exact date, we did want to let you know that it has remained top of mind. The final details are being ironed out now. In the meantime, here is a list of some of the measures that have been and are being taken to do this the safest way and do it only one time:

  1. If you have not been on campus, there is a mask and social distancing policy –  with posted notices throughout. This applies to the Sanctuary, too.
  2. The pews have been roped off to allow for social distancing
  3. You will need to sign up in order to attend worship on Sunday mornings (and at this time we will only have one service at 11am)….there is a limit of 70 people (this includes specially trained ushers).
  4. There will be no collection of offering (we will continue to text to give) and there will be no communion.
  5. The Minister (s) will not exit down the aisle at the end of service to greet parishioners
  6. PLEASE use the same acts of respect and safety you have used all these months as we begin to reopen for worship….MASKS are a must.

Please note that these in-person services will be Livestreamed on YouTube. If you can’t get a spot “inside” on Sunday the service experience will be LIVE for you at home. The ability to offer this is really exciting. It is a technology we will be able to use as we come out of the pandemic and beyond!

Thank you, all, for the amazing patience you have sustained this last year. It has not been easy for anyone. We look forward to announcing this date soon and hope you will be as excited (and cautious) as we are to begin this safe return to Sunday morning, in-person worship!

Grateful,

Amy Woolwine, Carol Hovey, Wade Holland and Hunter Morrison