St. John's News

A Message About Church Worship in the Upcoming Weeks

Dear People of St. John’s,

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization naming COVID-19 an international pandemic. What followed was the shutdown of life as we had known it, including our community life as a parish.

This note is about how we will slowly begin to regather as a community, beginning with worship. The way to think of this is not as a light switch we flip, where everything at St. John’s is back to where it was, but a dimmer knob being slowly turned, adding more and more light. As we adjust to slowly regathering, we will continue to evaluate how things are going with the community spread of the virus, and the percentage of our people vaccinated, alongside with how well we believe we are safely handling more people at the church.

Here is a timeline of changes for the next month:

  1. Starting this Sunday, March 21, we will double the amount of people who may sign up and attend in-person worship to 50. The weekly registration will be emailed on Mondays at noon.
    1. We will continue to live stream our 10am service every Sunday going forward, even when we are able to fully regather. Offering a live stream of our Sunday worship will be a permanent change.

 

  1. Palm Sunday, March 28, and Holy Week (each will have a live stream option)
    1. Palm Sunday: 10am service with up to 50 persons in attendance.
    2. Maundy Thursday, April 1: 6pm service with 50 persons in attendance.
    3. Good Friday, April 2: Noon and 6pm services with 50 persons in attendance at each.

 

  1.  Easter Sunday, April 4
    1. We will pre-record the Easter service and it will be available for streaming all day Easter Sunday. We cannot easily control how many people come, including visitors, on Easter Sunday and really do not want to turn people away at the door. This is the only way we could safely figure out how to offer this service.
    2. EASTER SUNDAY EUCHARISTS. Since the main service needs to be pre-recorded, we invite everyone to come to receive communion in the Garden on Easter Sunday. The thought is you can watch the service at home and then come to receive communion.
      1. We will have 30-minute shifts starting at 9am and going through 12pm to come and receive communion. Please be sure to sign up with the registration we will send out during Holy Week. We want you to come and, after a year, be able to receive communion at your church.

 

  1. Starting the Sunday after Easter, April 11, we will add back the 8am Rite I Eucharist. We will begin with the same capacity as the 10am services of 50 people and ask everyone to register to come.
    1. The reason we are regathering the 8am service is our awareness that many of our people who generally attend that service have had the opportunity to be vaccinated. Our hope is that as people are fully inoculated, they will feel safe to come back to worship.

This is the beginning of our regathering as a community and not the destination. As you can see above, this is complicated, so please reach out to us with questions. While I know there will be inquiries into why we decided to do things in this way and not another, the reality is we are trying our best to make the right, early decisions in a safe enough way that we will not be forced to shut things back down.

The Gathering service will be returning as quickly as possible, but it will take a bit more time. The musicians who help lead the service must be reestablished as a team and feel safe about doing so. Also, many people who come to The Gathering have not yet been able to receive vaccinations. These two complications accompanied by the seasonality of participation in The Gathering have us initially starting with the Sunday morning offerings.

Similar planning is occurring regarding programming within the church. While we are beginning with worship and need to see how well it goes, please know that we are actively considering how to move toward using our church facilities once again.

This as a hopeful step in the right direction. It coincides with the season of Easter, a season when we are reminded of the hope that sustains us all. Let us continue to be a people of hope.

 

                                                                                                                                                                God’s Peace,

 

Eric

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