In-Person Worship Starting July 26,2020

Greetings Everyone,

I’m writing to inform everyone about the news that we will start holding in-person worship once more. However, this news might come as both good and hard to take. Let’s start with the “Hard to take” part.

The news will be hard to take for some because in-person worship will not, and I repeat, will not be the same routine that we are accustomed to before the COVID19 pandemic.

The “Return to Worship” plan was created following: State, County, and UM Conference safety and health guidelines. The idea is the culmination of strategies that other UM churches have implemented and have been successful. So with prayer and discernment, we put the plan together.

Some of the concerns that have arisen due to plan are: Why only 24 people in the sanctuary? Why do we need to reserve a spot for worship?
The short and straight answer is for safety. After measuring up the sanctuary, I felt that it is better to be safe than sorry. We cannot fit 50 people in the sanctuary without breaching safety rules. To measure how many people we can safely seat. I decided to start with 24 people. If we find that we can safely accommodate more, we can increase seating. But only if it is safe to do.

Reservation is needed so we can account for spacing. If 24 people end up being too many people to be safe, I have the Eden Cafe as a flex space to accommodate folks who couldn’t fit in the sanctuary.

The key to coming back to worship is safety. I know wearing masks isn’t the greatest thing in the world. These restrictions seem hard to deal with, but the biblical truth behind all of this is – love your neighbor. Going back to church for in-person worship is scary for some folks, even for those deciding to come back for worship in person. I humbly and kindly ask, please don’t make it tenser by not giving this adaption a try until things are safe for everyone once more.

To those who choose not to come back at this time, that is perfectly fine, and I understand. Health and well-being are a priority for everyone, and it is one of mine as we moved forward in this crazy time. We will continue to stream worship every Sunday. We continue to keep things moving with our online community.

I humbly ask that you continue to pray for healing and a vaccine for Covid-19 and other diseases that hold the world captive. Continue to pray for guidance and the prosperity of God’s people everywhere that we can always have on our minds that the people we encounter every day are our neighbors. God loves each person and us; if God can pour his grace on all creation, let us do the same being keep each other healthy by wearing a mask, washing hands, and doing the small adaptions to stay healthy and help others do the same.

God bless you all; please stay safe and stay healthy.

Pastor Eric

Back to Church on Phase 4

In-Person Worship

Ushers & Greeters
Greeters: 1 or 2 Greeters at the front of the building. They are greeting and reminding attendees to wear masks. If someone doesn’t have one, the greeter gives them one.

Ushers: 2 Ushers, one who will lead people to their seats in the sanctuary. The other will line folks up to enter the sanctuary.

Once the Sanctuary has reached capacity, Ushers will seat any remaining visitors in the Eden Cafe.

Visitors in the Cafe will dismiss first, then the people with assistance in the sanctuary, then the remainder of the sanctuary folks.

Those who wish to attend worship on Sunday Morning must call the office during the week, Monday-Friday, from 9-2 pm.

Likewise, please send in Joys and Concerns to the prayer chain to be lifted during Sunday worship. Since we cannot pass the microphone around, I would still like to raise joys and concerns to be prayed over.

Service at 9:30 am – 10:15 am (Live Stream at 9:30 am)
Clean Up: 10:15 -11:00am

Each service we can fit 24 people in the sanctuary and 10 people in the Eden Cafe. Service will be Live Streamed on the TV in Eden Café.

Enter, Seating, Exit
Folks will enter in the center aisle—exit side aisles.
Folks who need assistance can enter and exit the center aisle.

Ushers will seat folks from front to back if someone has a wheelchair, walker, or needs assistance getting in – people in need of assistance are seated first, followed by other visitors.

If a family arrives, the family is to be seated together. That family will then take up the whole pew for themselves.

People arriving alone, in pairs, and trios will be spaced accordingly. (6ft between each person or group)

People will exit the sanctuary back to the front—people who need assistance leave first.

Adjusted Worship Service
Please keep in mind; we will not conduct worship as we are accustomed to it. We have made changes under safety and health requirements from the State, County, and UMC Conference directives. Here are some significant differences:

  1. Face Masks: We are all going to be wearing masks in the church building.
  2. Social Distancing: No physical contact during worship.
  3. No Bulletins, Bibles, or Hymnals: We will be using the overhead projector to show the bulletin for worship service.
  4. No group singing: Because of air particle issues, we will have a single soloist, who is set apart from the crowd who sing the songs during worship.
  5. Usher Seats You: To adequately accommodate people and safe distancing, Ushers will seat you. Seating people front to the back of the church.
  6. No coffee bar
  7. No handshakes or hugging during the passing of the peace.

Again, the service will not be like it was.

The flow of Worship:
• Prelude (Barb)
• Welcome/Announcements (Pastor)
If you need to have something announced, call and let the office know ahead of time. Then Pastor can announce it. I would use the ongoing concerns list from the prayer chain for prayer requests. We cannot pass the microphone around.

• Peace (Turn into Waving to neighbors)
• Opening Prayer (Pastor or Liturgist)
• Call to Worship (Pastor or Liturgist)
• Opening Song (Soloist facing away from the congregation)
• Prayer for God’s People Everywhere (Pastor)
• Scripture Reading (Pastor or Liturgist)
• Sermon (Pastor)
• Offering (Piano Music/Soloist)
• Doxology (Soloist)
• Closing Song (Soloist)
• Benediction (Pastor)
• Postlude

Communion Sunday: We will have the elements placed at the entry of the sanctuary. The communion element is a prepacked wafer and juice cup combo. Attendees will take the element, with them to their seats. After blessings elements both in church and online, we can partake of the elements together.

Offering Box: We will not pass an offering plate. Place any offering in the offering box before entering the church or upon exiting.

No childcare during Worship: The Nursery is closed. We are asking parents to have children sit with during worship.

Washrooms: The washrooms will be open, only on the main floor—one person at a time.

Just the main floor: We will be using only the main floor of the building.

Outdoor Worship
We pick a spot outside with plenty of shade, have people bring their lawn chairs. We space out 8ft apart.

We follow the flow of Worship as we would inside (as above).

Church Through the Week
Office: We will open the office back to regular working hours. If you need to meet with the Pastor, please call ahead and schedule a time to meet with Pastor.

Meetings: Meet in Eden Cafe, safe distance apart with masks. Have Zoom going for those members of committees who don’t want to come in person.

Bathrooms: Washrooms on the main floor only.

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