As we continue to make our way through the fall season, I want to note a couple of transitions with you. First, this Sunday will be the last for Pastor Bryant & Jennifer with us! He will be opening God’s Word to Philippians 1:3-11. There is a light refreshment time scheduled for following the 10:30 service. I know that you will want to share your well wishes with them and commemorate this transition together.
Second, as the weather transitions and our beloved outdoor services become more unstable, indoor services will resume in the evening (6:00pm) on Sept. 27 and then in the morning of October 4 with a full slate of four services that day (8:30AM, 10:00AM, 11:30AM and 6:00PM). These services--all the same--will be by registration. While we are excited to return indoors, it has been good to have been reminded that church is more than a building and worship happens in many different forms. We have also been reminded that loving our neighbor means to seek their physical safety as well as to pursue their psychological, relational, and emotional well being. Worship and continuing to come together are important parts of loving one another.
So how do we do this? Currently the best practices to maintain a healthy environment are to wear masks indoors and maintain social distancing. Borrowing from regulations being used in higher education we have determined that the square footage of our sanctuary allows for around 120 worshippers with appropriate distancing. In order to continue to be welcoming for visitors we will be reserving seats for visitors and for CC folks who forgot to register or had a change of plans. People will be strategically seated to maintain distancing, and ushers will be available to assist with seating needs. You are encouraged to bring your own PPE – there will also be face masks available at the door. We are designating our 8:30AM service as especially appropriate for immunocompromised and/or vulnerable individuals and ask that everyone who attends that service to be particularly conscientious about mask wearing. As noted above, these "best practices" are currently being followed by other congregations and higher education institutions gathering large groups.
While we are confident in our ability to worship safely, we understand that not everyone has the same needs. To accommodate as many as possible, we will continue to prepare and post the Home Worship Guide on the website. In addition, we are also planning to transmit a worship service that is being conducted inside the building to the parking lot via FM 90.1 for those who wish to remain in their cars. The Session encourages everyone to follow their conscience, respect the consciences of others, and take responsibility for your own health needs. As we move forward, we will continually assess how best to call the congregation to worship and provide the means for us all to respond to that call.
Transitions are not always easy. I am grateful for the numbers of people that have contributed to thinking this particular transition through. You can find a whole list of Q&A here. I encourage you to check it out.