March 11, 2022
- Wearing masks in worship, while singing, and at all church functions is now optional.
- All pews are reopened.
- Physical distancing is not required.
- There are no restrictions on food service.
- Hand sanitizer will continue to be available for use before communion.
- The common cup for Holy Communion will be reinstated at the Maundy Thursday service (April 14, 7PM).
- The greeting of peace will be reintroduced on Easter Sunday. Participation will be optional and greetings may be exchanged as desired (shaking hands, fist bumps, elbow bumps, etc.)
- The gathering of our offerings by passing offering plates will resume after Easter.
We will continue to be vigilant and make adjustments as seems prudent based on the situation. Thank you for the incredible display of love, patience, and flexibility as we have moved through each stage of this pandemic!
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” -1 Thessalonians 5:11
These guidelines have been developed with thought and prayer by our Board of Elders, in consultation with licensed physicians in the congregation. We realize that we are imperfect and these procedures are imperfect and not everybody will be pleased with these decisions. We ask for your grace and patience as this is uncharted territory for all of us. These have been some of the principles that have guided us throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic:
- We want to love our neighbors. The fifth commandment compels us not to hurt or harm our neighbors but to help and support them in every physical need. Jesus also affirmed the two great commandments, namely that we are to love the Lord our God and love our neighbors as ourselves. By taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we show love not only for those who come to worship but for the greater community, as we minimize the risk of community spread. Even as restrictions loosen, we seek to be mindful of those who are still vulnerable and those who, although “safe”, are still uncomfortable with the sudden change after months of exercising extreme caution. We have tried to be mindful of both the scientific evidence and the very real experiences and traumas that many have been enduring.
- We need what God offers in worship. The third commandment compels us to keep the Sabbath day holy. While our own safety and concern for others are very important, they do not negate our need for the gifts God gives in worship. We need the forgiveness of sins. We need Christian community. We need the nourishment of Christ’s body and blood in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. We can minimize risk but we must also realize that we need to be okay with a certain level of bodily risk in order to continue receiving that which is most important.
- We are not afraid. We do not take precautions because we are afraid or wish to promote fear. Jesus tells us, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear [God] who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Even if we were to catch a virus and die from it, we need not fear. We know that in Christ we have “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). Love for others, not fear for ourselves, is what drives us to be cautious.