“Nope, We’re Not.”
Central Church Family,
Back in May I started my blog with the question: “Are we there yet?” Well, two months later and that question is still nagging at us. The COVID pandemic hasn’t gone away and we’re still navigating our path through the strange new reality we’ve been left with.
Two months ago, I was hoping that we could offer a Church-in-the-Park experience this summer. But, sad to say, that’s not going to happen this year. The reasons we outlined for delaying CIP in a congregational letter last month are still very real concerns today. CLICK HERE TO READ THE LETTER
So, where do we go from here? Our Re-Gathering Task Force is working on a plan to offer safe in-person Sunday morning sanctuary worship starting on August 23rd. This date allows us adequate time to put the necessary safety protocols in place and train our leaders in those practices. Also, we anticipate that many of you will choose to continue to worship online or by radio. For that reason, we have upgraded our worship audio/video equipment and are creating an improved remote worship experience. There is a bit of a learning curve and this gives us time to get where we want to be.
Here’s an outline of what you can expect when we return to in-person sanctuary worship:
- Two services: 9 am The Well and 11 am Traditional.
- Clearly marked limited seating to allow for social distancing with overflow in the Fellowship Hall. An additional service added if necessary. Possible “sign-up” to better organize seating.
- Health safety protocols including:
- Self monitor health screening questions and safety practices posted at the entrance.
- Face masks required.
- No contact welcoming. Greeters and ushers help with questions.
- Foot traffic flow pattern that allows for distancing.
- Attendance taken in-case infection follow up is needed.
- Worship outline with video monitors, no bulletins.
- No contact passing the peace.
- No Chancel Choir at the 11 a.m. service; special music and vocalists instead. We are determining if congregational singing with masks might be allowed.
- No organized fellowship time following the service.
- No in-person Sunday School.
- Fresh activity bags for children.
- Building sanitized before, between and after services.
- At-risk individuals invited to worship online or with our radio broadcast.
I know this all sounds so stifling and counter to what we love about in-person worship. We Methodists enjoy being able to express ourselves with heart, hands and voices! That day will come again; but for now this is the best way to uphold the importance of in-person worship and do it safely.
For the time being, our building will remain locked, but there is limited accessibility for those who have church business. We continue to follow state and local Health Department safety protocols in our building. And our church committees and groups continue to meet online unless in-person work is necessary.
Thankfully, with all these restrictions, the church is still doing good work! Vital worship is happening. The homeless and hurting are being fed and helped. Our adults, youth and child are meeting to learn and share the love of Christ. And we are praying hard for you and for the day when our land will be healed.
So, in this meantime, keep looking for those daily “silver linings.” God’s love and grace is all around us and we are still the church together. Enjoy July, be with family and friends safely, and practice gratitude for our Lord Jesus Christ who is still our way, truth and life.
Grace and Peace,