I have decided to move forward and open our church back up for public worship again starting June 7! I will be preaching at all three churches on that Sunday. I’m excited, and looking forward to seeing many of you again!
John Wesley gave three rules to the early Methodists to guide them when they were together or apart – and the first one is, “Do no harm.” I think that is a rule we can all eagerly adopt. Therefore, we need to set some safety guidelines for coming back together. These are all based on recommendations from our Conference:
- Please wear a mask if you are able, and practice social distancing. Remain at least six feet away from anyone who did not come to church with you. Please sanitize your hands and of course, refrain from shaking hands, hugging, etc.
- We will not be using any paper resources – no bulletins, hymnals, pew Bibles, etc.
- We will not be passing the offering plates. Instructions will be given.
- Communion will not be served by intinction (dipping). We will have (safely prepared) juice cups and bread cubes. We will invite people to come forward and receive the elements from the communion servers.
- This is a tough one, but we will not be singing or doing responsive readings at this time. We can still have special and instrumental music. And as we have been doing with the online services, we will enjoy recordings of music from the past.
- Without hymns the worship service will be much shorter than usual, but that is also recommended.
- We will still have greeters – practicing social distancing.
- I’m sure it goes without saying, but please don’t come to church if you are showing any possible symptoms of COVID 19.
Above all, please use your own judgment on whether or not to attend. We understand that there are some of you who fall into at-risk categories, or simply don’t feel ready yet. We totally support anyone’s choice to stay home and we know that you will be with us in spirit. We will, as always, be recording the services and posting them online, usually by Sunday evening.
This all feels very strange. But keep in mind that none of this is permanent. We will get back to “normal” slowly but surely. And sometimes it’s good for us to have to do things a bit differently – it gets us out of our ruts! This is one situation where I would rather be accused of being too cautious than not cautious enough.
Please join me in praying for safety, wisdom, and renewed ministry!
You are blessed, and you are a blessing!
Pastor Mike Raypholtz