CHURCH as we emerge from a PANDEMIC

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought many challenges and changes to our world and to the church.  It was hard to give up activities that brought us connection and fulfilment.  It was painful to experience and witness grief and losses.  So much of daily life was different and stressful.  And we certainly never experienced anything like the many months of virtual-only worship that began in March 2020.  Although the members of our congregation remained committed and connected to one another throughout, it was a joy for many of us to be able to return to worship in our sanctuary in the summer of 2021.  But it was also good for us, during this time, to learn how beneficial live-streaming technology can be, providing a way to include 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 many of us have been pleasantly surprised at how beneficial virtual worship participation has been.  So we to continue to livestream our services, and expect to go on doing so.  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.  

If you are fully vaccinated, you are not required to wear a mask inside our building (including during Worship). Masks are optional - but of course, if you feel more comfortable wearing one, then please do so. If you are unvaccinated, or have had exposure, please continue to wear a mask while at Westminster. We suggest that you continue to worship virtually if you are in a high-risk group because of age or health conditions, or if you aren’t vaccinated, or if you are not feeling well

 

Our Pandemic Response Team continues to paying close attention to Covid-19 transmission rates in our community. Local data indicates that the transmission rate and number of cases are still higher than we would like to see; this means that the need for care and caution remains. If the Covid numbers in Kalamazoo County increase significantly (if we have another surge), we will change our policy accordingly.

We will continue to have masks available at church. We will continue to run the fans and open the sanctuary doors.  This is because we understand that indoor, large-group gatherings can be situations of greater risk.  If you would like to socially distance during worship, please feel free to do so (again, this is optional for the fully vaccinated). Coffee Plus will continue outdoors as long as weather permits. 

 

The fact that our congregation has a high vaccination/booster rate goes a long way to making everyone safer, and is enabling us to continue, with care, many of our activities.  But it’s also good that we have a variety of ways to stay connected (like meetings by Zoom and, while weather permits, some outdoor fellowship opportunities. Please take part in some of them!  And do talk with one of your deacons or a member of the Session is you need help.

 

We strongly encourage vaccination for everyone who is eligible and able!!

Vaccination is the most important factor in keeping ourselves and each other safe and making in-person activities possible.

Session's Pandemic Response Team continues to evaluate the situation and advise the Session about best practices.  If you have any questions, please get in touch with a member of Session.

These have been challenging times for everyone, in so many ways.  But as a congregation, we have remained committed to following Jesus, worshiping God together, 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 are now able hold many of our meetings, small groups, and Adult Education programs virtually via Zoom.  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 a member of our staff, a Deacon, or a member of the Session.  

Our current office hours  :   Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays,  9 am - 4:30 pm

 

Faith, prayer, and care for one another have seen us through 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.

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We are so grateful for our tech crew and music team, who have dedicated not only an immense amount of time, but also their energy, passion, and skills to enable us to worship "together" virtually.
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And it's also great to be able to gather in our sanctuary again!