I have some exciting news to share this week. Tuesday, the session met for their March stated meeting, and I want to share the highlights.
** Revised Guidance May 19, 2021 ** This post was revised to reflect the latest guidance.
- Masks. Per the revised CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated persons do not need to wear masks. So, if you are fully vaccinated, masks are optional in worship. Those who are not vaccinated or have health concerns are encouraged to continue masking. We trust that as brothers and sisters in Christ, we will honor each person’s decision on this matter.
- No singing…yet. The virus is still out there, and it is spread via aerosol, meaning the water droplets that come from our noses, mouths, etc. Even with masks, singing remains a spreader activity. For now, we encourage attendees to speak the words of the songs and hymns we sing. The first moment we can sing without fear of spread, sing we shall! So hang in there, that time is hope-fully coming soon!
- Seating and social distancing. We are still requesting that worshipers sit at least every other pew. When we serve communion, we will be bringing the bread and the cup to each person, not passing it down the pew. We will access by way of the pew in front.
- Offering. We will have offering plates available at the doors, and we ask that everyone drop their gifts into the plates as they enter. This is to limit contact.
- Virtual worship will still stream. We will continue to stream worship services live over Facebook. If you don’t feel well or don’t yet feel safe, worship with us virtually!
** Original CTPress Article resumes below, but In-Worship Guidance information above is more current.
In-Person Worship. The session decided to TENTATIVELY plan for resuming in-person worship on Sunday, May 9. Masks are required, and we will practice social distancing. Advance sign-ups are NOT required. The service will be streamed on Facebook, so that folks who are unable to come or are not comfortable with large-group gatherings can still worship with us.
Sunday School for all ages is set to TENTATIVELY resume Sunday, June 6. Like worship, masks are required, and social distancing will be practiced.
These decisions are dependent on good trends with the vaccine and the virus. Currently, in Jefferson County, the trend is going in the wrong direction. We are “in the red,” according to the state. Hopefully, this is temporary. If this turns out to be a long-term trend, the session may have to reconsider this decision, but we hope that is not the case.
Millie Bush Legacy. We are so blessed to receive this unexpected gift! The session decided that for now, those funds will be placed with the rest of our investments. Ten percent, a tithe, of this gift will be given to community, mission, and benevolence needs. The session created a task force of four elders and the pastor to explore how that ten percent will be used, and they will report back to the session. Kathy Donadio, Diane Mayhew, David Weil, and Patsy White make up that task force, and would love to hear your input. By the end of the year, hopefully, we will have a long-range plan for how we will steward that legacy.
The larger takeaway from these decisions is this: After more than a year of being “on hold” due to the pandemic, we are beginning to move forward. I am so excited for what the future holds for all of us. I doubt we will go completely back to normal. I prefer using the term, “moving forward.” I am reminded of this passage of scripture:
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.
And speaking of moving forward, we are about to begin Holy Week. Even though most of the services are virtual, Holy Week provides a great time to consider all that Christ suffered on our behalf, and to reconnect with God’s matchless grace. I pray this Holy Week is time of great renewal for all of us!