As our spiritual attention is focused this week on the great drama of Holy Week, we also find ourselves peeking ahead toward the new resurrection life of Easter.
Similarly, while we’ve spent the last year figuring out how to worship while “physically distant,” we now find ourselves looking at how to safely return to in-person worship in our church sanctuary.
For quite a while to come, re-gathering in-person will feel very different from our pre-pandemic worship experience. It will likely be a long, gradual process of loosening limitations and restrictions; and we ask for your patience as we may need to adjust plans along the way based on the directives of our diocese.
Below is a summary of our current plan. This plan will evolve within parameters provided by our bishops, and as we receive feedback from our parishioners about your interests and concerns. Other factors such as the availability of an organist/director will impact worship options as well.
- Our primary Sunday service will continue to be livestreamed at 9 AM via Zoom and YouTube. At the present time, our Interim Music Director (organist) is not available after 10 am on Sunday mornings so our principal Sunday service needs to conclude near 10 am so we may enjoy live music at worship. Longer-term planning for our music ministry will be underway soon, with input from choir members, parish musicians, and the parish as a whole.
- On April 18, we will begin to welcome a small number of people to worship in-person at the 9 AM service in addition to those worshiping online. At this time, diocesan parameters enable us to have between 25 and 40 people attend each Sunday service (in addition to worship leaders) depending on the number of family units and individuals who sign up. (Family units may sit closer than 6 feet apart, but households need to be seated a minimum of 6 feet apart.)
- Parishioners will sign up to attend via the weekly eNews, a link on our website, or a call to Barb Kwiatek in our Church Office. With the attached survey, we hope to assess how many parishioners are currently interested in attending the 9 AM service in-person so we can then ask you to use the “honor system” to sign up at whatever frequency will result in equitable opportunity for all (e.g. once a month, or once every 2-3 weeks.)
- If there is sufficient interest, we may soon add in-person services either before or after 9 AM on Sundays. These services may be indoors or outdoors and may or may not include music, depending on your interests and available resources.
- No nursery care will be available for any of our on-site services (as per current diocesan guidelines), and Godly Play (Sunday School) will continue to meet online at 10:30 AM each Sunday through the end of May. Longer-term plans for nursery care and Godly Play will be underway soon, and will include opportunity for input from those involved in our children and family ministries.
To help us with these planning efforts, we ask you to please respond to this survey about in-person worship options by Fri, April 9.
We will hold an All-Parish Meeting on Sunday, April 11 immediately after worship to hear from you on this subject, share survey results, and think with you about the future.
One final note:
As we continue to Walk in Love together at St. John’s we are committed to practices of equity. Therefore, participation in worship and other activities at St. John’s will not be based upon vaccination status. Until all ages are eligible for vaccination and universal vaccination is available, and until health experts and our bishops tell us otherwise, it is our sacred duty to protect one another by wearing masks, keeping our distance, and following other practices for containing the spread of Covid. Regardless of vaccination status (because one may still “carry” the virus to others even if vaccinated and without symptoms), ALL PERSONS are expected to wear masks while on the church campus.
Thank you for your time and assistance with this survey.
This comes with Love,
Mo. Sarah+ (and our ad-hoc Re-Gathering Team)