CHURCH as we emerge from a PANDEMIC
It has been a joy for many of us to be able to worship together in our sanctuary, after many months of virtual-only worship. We made the transition to in-person worship in mid-June, while continuing to live-stream our service on our church Facebook page.
While we did not require masks for in-person attendees this summer, we are concerned about the recent increased spread of the virus in our area. Until the situation improves, we will be asking everyone to wear a mask indoors when with any group of more than 10 people (ie worship). Masks are encouraged indoors at any time, but it's permissible for small groups, if all are vaccinated, to meet unmasked if in a space that allows for some ventilation and distancing. We are urging anyone who is not vaccinated (children excepted) or who is immunocompromised to continue to worship virtually for now.
We will continue to encourage physical distancing (especially indoors) and to discourage hand-shaking and the like.
We’ll are attempting to keep our service time relatively short and are having after-church fellowship time outdoors as long as the weather permits. At this time, we do not have a date for choir rehearsals to resume.
The Session continues to feel that this is reasonable and safe because:
- Our vaccination rate in our worshipping community is very high. Vaccination is key to safely resuming activities!
- We can practice physical distancing in our seating, by having fellowship time outdoors, not passing the peace, etc.
In addition, while warmer weather lasts, we can have good ventilation and air movement in the sanctuary.
We want everyone to be aware that the Session's Pandemic Response Team continues to evaluate the situation, looking at local case numbers and test positivity rates each week. When those numbers look good, we may resume more indoor activities. If the pandemic worsens as colder weather arrives, it is possible that our practices may need to change, and additional restrictions on activities may return. Of course, we hope that won’t happen, but we will adapt.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with us or with a member of Session.
These many months of the Covid-19 pandemic have been challenging times for everyone, in so many ways. They've been challenging for the church, as well! But we as a congregation have remained committed to continued faithfulness to Jesus Christ, to worshiping God, and to caring for one another and our neighbors. While we experienced a lot of uncertainty about both present and future, and have had to make many adjustments (sometimes feeling we didn't know what we were doing!) we have tried to trust God to lead and sustain us. We have learned a lot through this time!
Our primary concern was (and remains) the safety of the members and friends of our faith community, and so our Session has chosen to act with an abundance of caution. We paid close attention to advice from health experts, and to guidance from our Presbytery of Lake Michigan and the State of Michigan. Knowing that indoor gatherings and especially worship posed a high risk for transmission of Covid-19, we began to hold worship virtually only, and limited other activities in our building. We learned to use Zoom, and were able to hold meetings, small groups, and Adult Education programs virtually.
Our very dedicated tech team worked hard to make the sound and video for our livestreamed worship service as good as possible. Our equally dedicated music and worship team worked hard to make each service meaningful. And we found that most people did, indeed, feel connected to one another and engaged in worship virtually, although we missed being together. We were pleasantly surprised to find that livestreaming reached many who had not been able to participate regularly in worship. So it's our intention to continue to livestream our services. We hope that any time you aren't able to come in person, you'll join us virtually. You do not need to have a Facebook account to watch.
Some in-person activities have resumed, and we hope that it will be possible to resume other activities soon.
We are allowing groups with a church connection to use our facilities, providing that participants are vaccinated.
Our current office hours : Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Thursdays, 9:30 am - 1 pm
Faith, prayer, and care for one another have seen us through these months. Our sense of community remains strong, and we have learned some things about flexibility, patience, and resilience (not to mention technology!) As we go forward, some things will be different than before, and much about the future is still unknown to us, but ...
God is good. All the time.