COVID Worship Update September 22, 2020
At its regularly stated meeting last night, your session discussed plans and possibilities for returning to in-person worship.
There's so much we still don't know about the coronavirus, and so much conflicting information that it's hard to know what to believe or do. But whatever else may be true, it's clear that this virus is still a very real threat, and while we might be done with it, it's certainly not done with us. While we all miss worshiping together inside the church building, our highest concern is for the health, safely, wellbeing, and wholeness of our members, families, neighbors, and community.
When the Israelites living in exile mourned the loss of their temple and asked, "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" (Ps. 137:4), the prophet Jeremiah encouraged them to "seek the shalom [peace, health, wholeness] of the city" where they lived (Jer. 29:7). While many churches are interpreting faith in God to mean "we can open up and God will protect us from the virus," to us, trusting God means that we make hard decisions that seek the shalom of our city and trust that Christ's church will survive. The Church, after all, has never been about the building. For these reasons, out of an abundance of love for our members, neighbors, families, and community, we can not in good conscience return to indoor worship yet.
However, we will begin holding outdoor worship in-person beginning on Sunday, October 11, resuming our normal in-person worship time of 10:15 AM. We will worship on the church lawn, in front of the building, socially distanced.
Bring your own chairs and sit with your immediate family.
As long as we are outdoors and socially distanced, masks are optional, but strongly recommended.
Social distancing is required at all times, but if, for some reason, you must be within 6' of someone outside your immediate family, you must have a mask covering your mouth AND nose.
Printed orders of worship with song/hymn lyrics and unison/responsive liturgies will be handed out by an usher. You may bring these home with you or dispose of them in a garbage can as you depart. Please do not leave them lying around for someone else to pick up.
You may sing, read, and pray quietly out loud if you have a mask covering your mouth AND nose. If you are not wearing a mask that covers your mouth AND nose, please pray and sing within your heart.
If you or anyone in your household feels unwell or has a fever, please worship from home; if you or anyone in your household tests positive for COVID-19, you must quarantine for at least two weeks.
For those who can't join us in person, we will offer both a livestream of the outdoor service and a video for virtual worship (which is what we've been doing for the last several months) on our facebook page (www.facebook.com/gracepreswayne).
Because we will be at the mercy of the weather, we will have to decide on a week-by-week basis whether in-person worship is possible. On Friday of each week we will announce via email, Facebook, and website (and text message for those without internet access) whether we will worship in person or only virtually.
We can't wait to see and worship with you outdoors, in person, starting Sunday, October 11!
Andy & the Session