Healthy at Church on 7/5

From the Pastor

I have exciting news to share!  We’re going to resume in-person worship AND continue to have an online presence.  We will begin in-person worship on Sunday, July 5th.  We are also opening the church to groups that have not been able to meet in recent months.

Below is some information about what worship will be like.  Somethings will be different.  I want to make sure that we do everything we can to ensure you have a clean and safe sanctuary for worship.  Please read the information below in its entirety.  I know you have lots of questions and I’ve tried to give you as much instruction as possible.

ENTERING
You will be able to enter one set of the front double wood doors and the glass door.  All other doors will be locked.  You may use the elevator or stairs to go up to the sanctuary.  Please go straight up to the sanctuary.  Please do not go anywhere else in the church.

GATHERING
When the Elders surveyed the congregation, those who are ready to come to church would like us to wear masks and practice social distancing.  Please wear a mask to church when you come.  We will have some extra masks in case you forget one or don’t have one.

We will have a touchless hand sanitizer dispenser installed before 7/12.  Please bring hand sanitizer with you on 7/5 if you feel you will need it.  We have some jugs of hand sanitizer if you’d like to fill your bottle up.

SEATING

In order to practice social distancing, it will be impossible for everyone to stand and chat with our friends whom we have dearly missed.  Please go directly to your seat when you arrive.  If we’re standing in the open spaces chatting, others may not be able to get to their seats.

Every other pew will be closed so that we can have some space between the people in front and behind us.  Each pew that is closed will have a sign on it indicating that it is closed.  I will stagger the closing so that there is room for one family per pew and there won’t be another family at the other end of the same pew.

There will be no hymnals, Bibles, envelopes, or cards in the pew pockets.     

GREETING

For many of us, our favorite part of worship is our greeting time.  We will have a greeting time.  You may greet one another in many ways while practicing social distancing.  I will give you instructions before our greeting time.  We can bow, wave, give the peace sign or offer the Vulcan salute. 

If you absolutely must hug someone, please don’t assume that everyone will feel comfortable hugging.  Please ask someone before offering a hug.  Please don’t be offended if someone says no to your offer to hug.  The safest way to hug is the Christian side hug.  This is not permission to hug.  You must negotiate that with your friends.

MUSIC

We are so glad that we will be able to hear live music and Randy play the organ.  All the reports I read do not advise congregational singing.  I will find creative ways to incorporate music into the worship service like musical interludes from soloists, music videos and guest musicians.  I hope to have the projectors running again so we can have more options.

COMMUNION

We are Disciples and we have communion when we gather.  That’s who we are.  We will be having communion when we resume in-person worship.  We will not be passing the trays.  You may bring your own communion elements from home or we will also have communion kits available.  A deacon wearing gloves will give you a communion kit if you choose a communion kit.  I will give you instructions for opening the kit during communion time.

CHILDREN

We will not be offering nursery care, Sunday school or Worship & Wonder.  Children will receive a paper bag with a color/activity page and a few crayons that they are welcome to work on during worship and take with them when they leave.

SUNDAY SCHOOL

We will not be offering Sunday school classes or donut / coffee time.

BATHROOMS

The bathroom in the sanctuary will be available for your use.  Please only use that bathroom.  There will be bleach wipes available for you to use to clean up before or after your use.

ONLINE WORSHIP

Our online worship service will take on a new format.  We will begin recording and uploading the entire worship service as one video.  This will not be livestreamed.  The video will be available on YouTube.  You will receive a link to the video on Sunday afternoon.

GROUP GATHERINGS

The Mary and Martha Sunday school class will begin offering in-person study on Tuesday afternoons at 2 pm.  They will meet beginning next week.  The online Zoom / phone in option will also be available.

One of our recovery groups has begun meeting on Tuesday nights.  I have given permission to the other 3 groups to start meeting.  I have place a limit to 50 people per meeting.  I have asked the leaders to ensure that no one goes upstairs for any reason. 

Community meals will continue to be served as carry out.

QUESTIONS

I hope I was able to answer all your questions.  An Elder will be calling you soon to review this information and answer any questions you still have.  If you would like to talk to me, please call me next week.  As I receive feedback from the Elders about your questions, I will put out another communication so that everyone has as much information as possible.

Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should do something.  We have been allowed to meet since May, but the Elders have held off.  We were uncertain that it was safe to gather in June.  Just because we’re resuming in-person worship, doesn’t mean you have to come.  Please make the best decision for your health.  We will be offering an online option so you can still participate.  For those who do not have internet, they will continue to receive a copy of the Scripture, newsletter and sermon.

I look forward to seeing you soon,

Pastor T

Healthy At Church…not quite yet

Many Kentuckians are eager to get out of their homes, to return to the way things were. We want to go back to work. We want to go to restaurants to eat with our families. We want to get our hair and nails done. We want to go to the gym and the mall. But, not all of us.

Many still fear getting sick or getting others sick. Many are still staying home unless they’re getting essentials. We’re wearing masks and practicing social distancing to protect ourselves and others. But, that doesn’t seem enough protection to make us feel at ease going back to life as we knew it.

The Elders of the church reached out to our members to gauge their comfort level with resuming in-person worship. Many churches are returning in May or June. The Elders deliberated and decided it was too soon for us to return. We have many people considered vulnerable because of age or chronic illness. We feel it is most compassionate to wait to return and not risk the health of our fellowship. The Elders will revisit this topic at their June meeting.

In the meantime, many are enjoying our online worship experience. I hope you will avail yourself of the opportunity to worship with us. Please use the Online Worship Resources tab on the banner on the main page to access this week’s worship service.

God be with you until we meet again,
Pastor T

Healthy at Church

We have been living within the Healthy at Home program for 7 weeks.  We are living in a liminal space between what used to be comfortable and normal and whatever new normal life we will build.  During this time, we have moved online with everything we do except our community meals.  We are getting more comfortable with the technology and improving the online worship experience every week.

Now, we have a glimmer of hope that we may soon emerge from our homes.  We are tempted to say we are returning to work and church and shopping and such, but we’re not really returning to what used to be.  We will develop new ways of working, going to church, and shopping in the coming weeks, but it may be longer before we are able to return to other activities.

The Governor made recommendations for a phased re-opening of the commonwealth.  Within those recommendations, houses of worship may open soon.  I have received communications from regional and general church leaders of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  I have reviewed plans by other pastors, regions and councils.  I have considered what the Governor and White House have advised.  With all this information, I submitted to the church leaders a phased plan for re-opening the church.  I will communicate plans to you as soon as the Elders agree on all the details.

If you have any questions about any of the worship, recovery groups, or meals, please do contact me.  If you are feeling isolated or anxious, please do contact me.  My cell phone number is (217) 710-9292.  I am here to help you.

God be with you,
Pastor T

Healthy At Home

We are living in uncertain times.  We are wandering in a wilderness carving paths through the unknown, unfamiliar terrain.  We don’t know when we will come through on the other side or what awaits us on the other side.  During this time, we have canceled face-to-face gatherings until further notice.  Our Scouts meetings, recovery groups and Bible studies are canceled.  Our worship service, one recovery group, the women’s Sunday school class and young adult gatherings have moved online.  Our community meals are being served as carry out.

Please use the banners above to access updated information about worship, recovery groups and community meals.  Please use the Young Adults link on the menu for a link to the online gatherings for young adults.

If you have any questions about any of the worship, recovery groups, or meals, please do contact me.  If you are feeling isolated or anxious, please do contact me.  My cell phone number is (217) 710-9292.  I am here to help you.

Pastor Tracy