by: Christian Ilten
Grace and Peace in the Name of Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
It has been a great blessing to be back inside for worship the last few Sundays, hasn't it? The weather has been quite beautiful for our outdoor contemporary services as well! God has been with us in His Word and through the Sacrament of the Altar whether inside or outside, and we have drawn strength from one another by gathering together as His people for our time of worship. Regardless of what service you are able to attend, rest assured that God's Word will be preached clearly and truthfully and Holy Communion will be celebrated joyfully!
We will again gather for both indoor and outdoor worship this Sunday!
Although we have been cleared to once again worship indoors, there are still guidelines that must be followed; also, simply because we CAN gather for worship indoors does not mean everyone MUST gather for worship indoors. We will continue to deliver the livestream broadcasts of both the 8 am and 9:15 am services, so if any of the following circumstances exists, please stay home and join us from the comfort of your living room:
1. If you or anyone in your family has been exposed to someone with COVID-19;
2. If you are not feeling well (cough, chest congestion, fever, etc.);
3. If you have a pre-existing condition that might put you at risk for contracting COVID-19 (compromised immune system, cardio-pulmonary condition, etc.);
4. If you are simply fearful or apprehensive of the risk involved.
We will again have three worship services as follows:
- 8 am, in the sanctuary (this service will be livestreamed on the Internet and Facebook). Traditional setting with Holy Communion served in the pews
- 9:15 am, on the front lawn under a canopy. (this service will also be livestreamed on the Internet and Facebook). Contemporary setting with Holy Communion served to the congregation in their seats
- 10:30 am, in the sanctuary. Traditional setting with Holy Communion served in the pews
We are continuing the outdoor 9:15 am service as an option for those who might not yet feel comfortable worshipping indoors.
There will custodial staff in place to disinfect the sanctuary and restrooms between services. There will also be signage in place, as there was when we were first allowed to return o indoor worship, so please follow the directions of the signs, caution tape, and Elders or ushers that may be present.
In order to abide with the guidelines established by the CDC and local officials, we have to place certain limits on worship, including but not limited to the following considerations:
1. Face coverings must be worn for INSIDE services, and are strongly recommended but not required for the outdoor service;
2. Social distancing protocol must be followed; to accomplish this we will only occupy every other pew in the sanctuary and must maintain 6 ft. distancing between individuals and/or family units;
3. For the time being, the nursery will be closed – there will be no child care available during worship and there will be no "in-person" Sunday School;
4. Although we continue to be forced to limit the numbers of those in attendance due to CDC and local guidelines, we feel comfortable adding a few more to indoor worship services at this time. Those attendance limitations are now as follows:
· 8 am Sanctuary Worship – 80 attendees allowed
· 9 :15 am Outdoor Worship – 100 attendees allowed
· 10:30 am Sanctuary Worship – 80 attendees allowed
Due to attendance limitations, advance sign-ups for specific services will be required. The sign-up link for this coming Sunday can be found here:
SPECIAL NOTE: This Sunday, October 25th our 8th grade Confirmation students will be confirmed at the 10:30 am service. In order to accommodate the confirmands and their families at this service, we have to reduce the number of slots available to sign up from 80 to 25. We greatly appreciate your flexibility in order for us to enable the families of our confirmands to share this special day with them in worship. This change in capacity is for Sunday October 25th only, and next Sunday November 1st we will return to our typical sign-up protocol.
Please be sure to sign up only one person/family per space, and to follow the specific directions given at the sign up link for listing the names of those who will be in attendance. Please do not bring additional worshipers with you that have not signed up to attend; once we reach the limit of attendees at each service we cannot allow any additional people into the worship space.
We are, as always, moving forward with an abundance of caution, patience and love. We are also asking all of you to be gracious and understanding toward one another, since many of us may hold differing views regarding some of the guidelines we must follow. If we are to err, let's always err on the side of grace.
His perfect peace be with you today and always. See you in church this Sunday!
In Christ's Love,
Pastor Eric and Pastor Pat