Dear Members of St. John’s,
Trusting our Lord for His protection and care we are, step by step, moving back toward our regular life together as a fellowship of faith.
It was such a blessing to finally worship in-person again last Sunday even though it looked a little different due to the safety precautions we’ve put in place. I expect we will continue these precautions for the next several months across both in-person services and WiFi communion. For those that missed last week’s email, let me review our in-person and virtual worship options. Remember, our goal is to ensure a safe worship environment by minimizing touchpoints along with proper spacing and masks. Remember, we want to spread the Gospel, not the germs 🙂 And if you feel sick or feel more vulnerable due to age or an underlying condition, please stay home. 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 live stream 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 – Surface 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. Doors will all be propped open to eliminate those touchpoints.
- Maintain Proper Spacing as you Enter 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.
- Maintain 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 have been removed to avoid multiple people touching them. The attendance and prayer cards are now 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.
- Sing With Your Mask 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 to 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.
- Maintain Proper Spacing as you Exit 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. After 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.
- Use Good Hygiene and Spacing in the Bathrooms, But Don’t Use the 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.
Remember that some of us may not be able to return to worship in-person, at least not for a while. So it’s important that we 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.
Praise God for your faithful contributions to St. John’s. With multiple options to worship, we’re also offering multiple options to give. You may drop off your offering at the in-person service, at WiFi communion, mail your check directly to St. John’s, or give online through the electronic giving section of our website at https://stjohnslexington.org/worship/electronic-giving/. Thank you for your support!
As always we rest in and rely upon the kindness of our loving Lord. He is and remains our constant hope and refuge.
Living in Jesus with you,