Greetings Messiah Family –
As Palm Sunday approaches, it’s hard to believe that it has been over a year since we worshiped together in the sanctuary or Galli Hall. I have been so grateful to our amazing staff who have kept us connected online. I cherish that time in front of the screen each week when I can worship with my wonderful friends and family.
I recognize my privilege that comes from being able to worship this way. Not everyone has access to a computer or to broadband internet service. And with drops in COVID numbers and more and more people receiving the vaccine, it’s time to begin to plan for our return to being in person together. This last Thursday evening, the council spent time reviewing a plan that the staff presented to us on how this return to worship could work.
Together we talked about the risks and the rewards of being together. After much discussion, we unanimously approved the proposed plan. So what does that mean?
- During the month of April: small groups of up to 12 will be invited to gather in Galli Hall. This could include Bible study groups, service groups, and others. Each group will appoint a COVID-19 supervisor who will be trained by a staff member to understand the rules and procedures. That person will be responsible for making sure that group members follow the procedures while they are in the building.
- During the month of May: we will continue to train people who will help serve as COVID-19 supervisors during worship. Small groups will be invited to come test worship including AOB Families and Friends (May 16), High School Seniors and their families (May 23), and ministry partners and friends of Savannah Phelan on her last Sunday (May 30). We will learn from these times together and continue to refine our processes.
- During the month of June: we will begin to regather for in-person worship. Right now, it appears that this could include 57 people including the worship leaders and trained volunteers. Volunteers will guide the entry, seating, and exits of worshipers. We will not be able to have in-person, indoor fellowship during this time. And worship will look different – there will be no congregational singing and the sacraments will likely also look different. But starting in June, we will gather best practice experience and begin to shape what worship, education, and fellowship will look like in the fall.
This time will be very different for all of us. We are a warm, welcoming community that loves to hug and be together. We are also going to be very limited on numbers. We want to make sure that those who have not had the opportunity to worship online have the opportunity to rejoin worship. And we will need helpers – at least 6 volunteers each Sunday morning to help with COVID processes and procedures.
Together, we will venture through this as we have made it through this past year. Thank you for all you do, Messiah Family.
Warmest wishes –
Anne Baunach, Council Secretary