Multiple Services to Resume on May 23 ‘Grand Reopening’
May 23 is shaping up to be a big day in the life of the church. While we may not have a miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit on this Pentecost Sunday, we will have a full slate of worship services for the first time since March 2020, safely served communion in all services, and… wait for it … coffee and donuts! We will even have one of our beautiful courtyards open for outdoor coffee and fellowship if the weather permits us to do that.
And, as if that isn’t enough, after worship you can stay for a light lunch and some lawn games and fellowship as we kick off our monthly “Second Sunday” festivities. You can dress down for worship or bring a change of clothes. Afternoon activities include croquet, other lawn games (bring your favorite), and something for kids. Come to play or just to visit.
As announced previously, the start of the Sanctuary service will be at 10:30 to allow the same pastor to preach in all English services. The day’s schedule looks like this:
- 8:00 a.m. Chapel Service (informal traditional)
- 8:45 Praise Kidz on Zoom
- 8:45–10:15 Fellowship Time, Coffee, Donuts
- 10:15 Maranatha Service (Spanish in Chapel)
- 10:15 Morning Psalm Service (Contemporary in Family Life Center)
- 10:30 Traditional Sanctuary Service
- Noonish Light Lunch Followed by Outdoor Activities
The Sanctuary and Morning Psalm services will be recorded, and edited videos of each will be posted on YouTube by Tuesday evening. Sunday school will resume at a later date.
So, Do I Have to Wear a Mask?
The Worshiping Together Task Team (WTTT) engaged in lengthy and lively conversation about safety protocols at its April 29 meeting. Not surprisingly, a good bit of that conversation focused on masks. Here’s where we ended up on various safety issues:
Community vs. Personal Responsibility: Our safety protocols will continue to be informed by whatever CDC guidelines are in effect as of May 23. While we are encouraged by the increasing number of people receiving vaccinations (and encourage all of our members and friends to be vaccinated for their own and others’ sake), we recognize that the pandemic isn’t over. People in Lancaster County continue to die of Covid-19 and areas of the country and world that have relaxed protocols prematurely have seen increased cases and preventable deaths. Part of loving our neighbor is not spreading a potentially fatal disease. That being said, with the availability of vaccines to all adults, the WTTT believes that some responsibility for protecting health is shifting to individuals. And vaccines provide more freedom, at least allowing vaccinated people to interact freely with other vaccinated people.
Air Quality: Both the Sanctuary and Family Life Center have strong air exchange, circulation, and filtration. The Chapel does not have an exchange of outside air. The Property Ministry Team has ordered ionization units to purify the air in the Chapel, Choir Room, and Room 162–3. We don’t know if those units will be installed prior to May 23.
Eating and Drinking: We will be serving coffee and donuts, observing communion, and eating lunch. We will serve food and communion as safely as possible. Food will be served by gloved and masked servers, we will not pass communion elements (or offering plates for that matter), and we will provide indoor and outdoor seating for the light lunch. Please continue to practice good hand hygiene and use hand sanitizer provided at entrances.
Physical Distancing: We will continue to physically distance. Every other pew will be cordoned off in the Sanctuary and chairs will be spaced appropriately in the Family Life Center. With expected small attendance in the Chapel and Maranatha services, distancing will be handled less formally. Surfaces will be wiped down in the Chapel between the Chapel and Maranatha services. Hand shaking is discouraged.
Masks and Singing: Masks shall be worn when moving about and interacting with others but may be removed for eating and drinking and when seated for worship. The church activity with the greatest probability of spreading a virus is singing. Speakers and music leaders will not be required to wear masks when leading. However, we respectfully request that members of congregation continue to wear masks when singing. We also will respect decisions of those who choose not to sing or to sing without a mask.