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 June 2021, while continuing to live-stream our service on our church Facebook page. It has also been a joy to be able to share in worship virtually with those who cannot participate in person, members staying home because of weather or sickness, and folks who are travelling, as well as family and friends in other places. It's not quite the same as being together, but we have found unexpected blessings in this opportunity. And we've been pleasantly surprised at how many people do feel connected and engaged in worship when participating virtually. So it's our intention to continue livestreaming 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.
At the present time, we are cautiously optimistic about the improving Covid-19 situation in our area. We are hopeful that as we move into spring, we will be able to have more activities and fewer infection precautions. But we also understand that we aren't quite there yet, and that indoor group settings (such as a worship service) require the most caution. For now, we are encouraging anyone who has particular health risks or is unvaccinated (young children excepted) to continue to worship virtually (young children excepted). And we ask those attending worship in person to continue precautions (masking, physical distancing, and avoiding hand-shaking and the like). We are attempting to keep our service time on the shorter side and are using fans in the sanctuary for air movement.
We anticipate resuming Coffee Plus on Easter - outdoors, weather permitting. At this time, we do not have a date for choir rehearsals to resume, but that may happen this spring also.
Any time you come into the church building please have a mask and be prepared to wear it in the presence of others. We have masks on hand, if you don't have one with you. It's permissible for small groups, if all are vaccinated, to meet unmasked if in a space that allows for some ventilation and distancing. Groups of 10 or more are asked to mask.
The Session continues to feel that, with these limitations, it is reasonably safe for us to continue to gather in the sanctuary for worship because:
- Our vaccination rate in our worshipping community is very high. Vaccination is key to safely resuming activities!
We strongly encourage vaccination (including a booster) for everyone who is eligible and able!!
- We can practice physical distancing in our seating, refrain from passing the peace, etc.
- We are committed to protecting one another and reducing the risk of transmission by wearing masks.
We remain committed to caring for the health of our church members and friends. 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, as well as recommendations from public health experts, and advising the Session about best practices. 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!
We have learned to use Zoom, so we're able to hold many of our meetings, small groups, and Adult Education programs virtually. Our very dedicated tech team has 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. We've made more use of email and Facebook communication. And we've saved a lot of paper!
If you have any questions, or need help connecting and getting involved, or could use some support and encouragement, please get in touch with the pastors, one of our staff, a Deacon, or a member of the Session.
Our current office hours : Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 9 am - 4:30 pm
You can also contact Pastor Jerry or Pastor Janet at home on other days.
Faith, prayer, and care for one another have seen us through these many difficult 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.