May 15, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ:
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
We again remind ourselves as we look at our version of ‘Phase Two’ that we are keeping our hearts and minds focused on God’s provision for our salvation through the work and the merit of Jesus Christ alone. That He is the stronghold of our lives and that nothing in this world can separate us from the will of God which is ours in Christ. And that none of this waiting we are doing is outside the will or sovereign providence of our Father God.
In ‘Phase Two’ of our coming again to the sanctuary to worship, with your input, we’re waiting to return to ‘Worship on Wednesday’ till at least June. We’ll make a further determination at that point. Again, according to a careful review of the documents from the state, county, and city, we can worship in the sanctuary while maintaining prescribed precautions. These include, the current practice of physical or ‘social’ distancing of 6 feet between family groups or individual persons, and the use of masks or full-face shields until seated in the sanctuary. Please do not ignore this, this applies to everyone as coming in and out of the sanctuary we will likely be closer than 6 feet at times and wearing a mask will contribute to everyone’s safety. Again, out of love for God and neighbor we wish to practice these safety measures.
Now as for the nuts and bolts of how Phase Two, receiving Holy Communion will work. All that follows has been discussed by the Pastor and Elders along with contributions from guidelines given by both the Synod and District.
First, just a reminder in the first section of how to enter and exit the sanctuary.
- Please be comfortable in either coming to the sanctuary or staying home to worship.
- Please be sure you are not symptomatic of Covid-19. According to CDC those symptoms may include, cough, fever, shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, headache/muscle pain, fatigue, loss of smell/taste
- There will be no shaking of hands, no hugs, no fist, elbow or knee ‘bumps’; basically, no touching!
- There will be no hymnals in the pews.
- The entire service will be on paper bulletins on a table in the narthex. (We will be projecting the service on the screens on the walls as we usually do as well)
- The offering plate is on the piano as you enter the sanctuary. Please use that for the act of worship of returning to God your tithes and offerings as you enter or exit. We will not be ‘passing the plate’.
- We will not be using the red sign-in booklets.
- Please leave all doors open. Please use only the restrooms across from Sonya’s office and leave those entrance doors open. There are disinfectant wipes on the counter to use on the stall doors.
- There are cones on the floor and bean bags or bricks on the pews to guide your six-foot spacing. Do not sit directly behind or in front of someone if they are not a family member. Allow that six-foot margin of space.
Now as to Holy Communion. We will do as we did when I had my hip problems and use a ‘walk-through’ format with these changes:
- We will commune first the lectern side then the pulpit side.
- Come forward in your family group making sure to remain 6 ft apart using the pew markers and the floor cones.
- The pastor, wearing gloves, will deposit the Host in your cupped hands without touching you.
- The wine is only in trays. You take one cup while the elder speaks the distribution words. Then you deposit the cup in the basket and return directly to your seat.
- There will be only one dismissal for all tables.
This reset and restart of worship in the sanctuary is a ‘work-in-progress’. If you have a suggestion for improvement of how to protect each other, please contact the church office or pastor.
Soli Deo Gloria – All Glory to God!
Pastor Tom Rhodes