Dear Members of St. John’s,
It is our joy and privilege to belong to a God whose care for His children is perfect in every way.
Since my last email, churches are now free to hold in-person worship. So we will start in-person worship services again at St. John’s this Sunday, May 17. Our goal is to ensure a safe worship environment by minimizing touchpoints along with proper spacing and masks. And if you feel sick or feel more vulnerable due to age or an underlying condition, please stay home. We are providing both in-person and virtual worship options. Here are the details:
First, for those that can’t attend or not ready to attend in-person, we will provide the following:
- Walk-In Family-Isolated (WiFi) Communion in the narthex between services from 9:15 – 10:00 a.m. This will operate as we have been doing the past several weeks. Elders will be in the parking lot to help direct traffic.
- We will livestream the 10:30 service and tape it for viewing. It will be posted after the 10:30 service.
Second, for those attending one of the in-person services, we will have two services (which include Holy Communion) at 8:00 and 10:30 a.m. Please be aware of the following guidelines:
- Wear a Mask – We strongly encourage you to wear a mask through the entire service. Please bring your own. If you don’t have one or forget, we will have some available. For some who may disagree with the need for wearing masks in public, we want to be respectful of others around us while we’re speaking and singing. So please wear your mask. We want everyone to feel comfortable in the sanctuary so we can focus on worship and not each other. The combination of masks and proper spacing in the sanctuary are designed to mitigate the risk of in-person worship.
- Thorough Cleaning – The areas on the pews where touching may happen will be disinfected before the 8:00 service and before the 10:30 service. Other areas will be cleaned as part of our regular weekly cleaning service.
- Controlled Entry in the Narthex – The greeters will ask you to put your mask on when you enter the narthex and direct you to follow the floor markings to maintain proper spacing and avoid gathering in the narthex. You may pick up a bulletin as you enter the sanctuary. Please avoid handshakes and hugs.
- Proper Spacing in the Sanctuary – Since we need to spread out in the sanctuary, you will see that we have marked the pews with floor signs showing the preferred seating for that pew so we maintain proper spacing in front, behind, and diagonally. The ushers will help direct you to the proper pew for your family size. Shorter pews towards the front will be reserved for family units of 1 or 2 people. Longer pews towards the back will be reserved for family units of 3 or 4 people. Please be sure to sit at the end of the pew where the sign is. If you have more than 4 in your group, the ushers will help to keep you close together. Also, note that the cards and pens in the pews will be removed to avoid multiple people touching them. Instead, the attendance and prayer cards will be inserted in your bulletin. You may drop these in the basket when you take communion or at the rear of the sanctuary. Remember to bring your own pen.
- Singing with Masks On – We will sing a few hymns during the service. Again, to mitigate the risk and be respectful of your neighbor when singing, we will wear masks and be properly spaced in the sanctuary.
- Family-Isolated Communion – We will distribute communion one family unit at a time. When the ushers release your family unit from the pew, you will proceed to the floor marking at the end of the aisle and then the altar to receive the bread and wine. To minimize touch points, you will be able to pick the individual cup from the tray and the wafer from the paper plate without touching other cups or wafers. You will return to your seat through the center aisle as we have always done.
- Controlled Exit from the Sanctuary – For the 8:00 service, we will exit the sanctuary through the side door and the rear door closest to the bathrooms. We ask that you follow the floor signage to exit the building through the office doors to your car. Do not exit through the narthex as we will be setting up for WiFi communion at that time. For the 10:30 service, you may exit through any door. In all cases, please maintain your distance from each other and avoid gathering. Also note that I will not be visiting after the service to prevent gathering or waiting lines in the sanctuary.
- Bathrooms and Water Fountains – We need to maintain spacing and good hygiene in the bathrooms. We will have hand sanitizer there to eliminate the touchpoint with faucet handles. Also, please refrain from using the water fountains to eliminate that touchpoint.
Soon we will be together again. What a gift that will be to be reunited with our brothers and sisters in Christ! As we reflect on this period of separation, let’s not forget how difficult it has been being isolated, how we have felt being alone. Some of us may not be able to return to worship in-person, at least not for a while. We need to stay connected to reassure each other of our hope in Jesus. Our Care Team is looking for volunteers willing to visit or call members and do simple shopping tasks for those unable to do so. If you are interested in volunteering, please let Lisa Walraven know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, remember that all that we have comes from God. I want to thank you for how you have continued to honor God with your faithful contributions to St. John’s. Your gifts are enabling us to meet our financial obligations and outreach support. We truly appreciate your continued support whether you are dropping off your offering at the in-person service, WiFi communion, mailing your check directly to St. John’s, or giving online through the electronic giving section of our website at https://stjohnslexington.org/worship/electronic-giving/. Praise God for how He is working in your lives!
I am looking forward to seeing many of you as we are blessed to worship together again.
Living in Jesus with you,