Good Evening, Church!
Have you ever watched a child take those first steps? How exhilarating it is! We get so excited and want to have them practice doing it again and again. We want to show off what they can do…as if this was the first child to ever take a first step. But there is a first time for THIS child…for each child. And each one is unique and special. Every developmental first for each child is a major step to be celebrated. And everyone is different.
We are preparing for the day when we are able to take our first steps toward in person worship. We have waited so long, and I know that many of you are tired and frustrated. As I outline our very first steps below, please be careful to read all the way through and then to ask questions where you have any doubts. This process will be unique for each church…we won’t look exactly like anyone else. And just as it is unhealthy to compare the progress of one child to another, it is also unhealthy to compare one church to another. Each of us has a different congregational make up. We each are planted in a different space. We each have different resources. Some churches will (or have) delayed opening to come back together with fewer restrictions, especially those who were allowed to open back in July and may be just now opening. They are on a different timeline than the one we are walking that still is not permit to open our building. Let’s both celebrate each of our new steps along the way remembering that we hold firmly to the Methodist rule of “do no harm.”
This Sunday, the worship leader and scripture reader will join us in the sanctuary, as long as they are comfortable. There will be restrictions and procedures that we will be learning and working out in preparation for the time when we are able to be more open. We are preparing for a new normal that includes a continued live, online presence. We are preparing for a both/and kind of worship…and it will be different…it will also be good and we will continue to grow. Laura will continue to bring us Sacred Circle remotely and when others are back in the sanctuary, this piece will need to be prerecorded for a while yet. Please understand this as a time of transition and have patience with us as we work out the finer details. Since singing will not immediately be a part of our first phase of return (so that we don’t have to delay any more than absolutely necessary), we are working on how to create virtual choir….I don’t have any idea when we will have a choir in person. Some have asked, can’t they sing with a mask? Even if we waited to open when that was possible, the quality would be lousy. And that brief feel good moment of seeing folks up front (in masks) would leave those who must remain worshiping virtually completely out…just looking at people standing in masks who you can’t even hear beyond a muffle just doesn’t enhance worship. But there are also advantages to a virtual choir. We will be able to see all of our choir…those in the sanctuary and those still at home…on the screen without masks. And we will be able to hear them!
Other gatherings: PLEASE read this carefully!!!!! While some small (no more than 10 people) outdoor gatherings for church events MAY be approved, EACH and EVERY gathering must be approved by the leadership team. You may submit a written request to me and I will take it to the team for consideration. ALL gatherings (no more than 10 people), will be outside ONLY, masks worn at all times, and social distancing of at least 6 feet outside of your family groups at all times. I eagerly look forward to receiving your requests.
We are pulling ourselves up to a standing position in preparation for our first steps toward in person worship. When we are ready to toddle out, I’ll send you more details. Please be aware that our first steps will include only worship inside. Other gatherings inside will move more slowly…we need to be steady on our feet before we try to take off running!
If you have any questions, please either email, text or call me. And I hope you have been praying over your dreams for our future together…because we will one day be ready to run…maybe even a marathon!
Peace be with you,