We Meet At Last
At long last, we'll be assembling all together to worship God. If you are like me, I expect the time apart has made all of us more appreciative of our worship time together. I look forward to seeing your faces--well, half your faces--with the masks and all.
As you have no doubt heard by now, the authorities have announced that it is reasonably safe for us to gather provided we heed some limitations and follow some guidelines. Most of you are familiar with some of these because they are the same for all public places, and businesses. As a church, we are allowed to have up to 25% of our auditorium capacity, or 100 people whichever is fewer. No problem for our congregation. We must maintain social distancing, also no problem. We are also advised to limit our time together inside the building.
This Sunday (May 31), we'll meet for worship at our regular time: 10:30AM. In the near future, we'll add our Bible classes at the usual time (9:30AM), but for now, let's just worship together, and take some time to visit afterward.
To insure that everyone in the congregation is comfortable (health concerns minimized) while we assemble, please heed the following:
Respect social distance (6 feet).
Arriving: Wear your mask from your vehicle at least until you are seated in the auditorium. The mask is not so much to protect you, as it is to protect others: Love your neighbor! Do unto others.... Some don't mind if you don't wear a mask, others do.
Seating: Alternate rows will be available for seating; other rows will be closed with a ribbon. Please find a seat at the end of an available row, that is, on the inside or outside aisle of each row. Of course, those in the same household may sit together, otherwise, be sure we are at least six feet apart.
Communion elements: Before you take you seat, pick up your individual communion "set." These are bread and fruit of the vine sealed in separated compartments. The top seal provides easy access to the bread. Flip it over and the second seal reveals the fruit of the vine. This in not a government requirement, but again, we want to be sure everyone can participate in all parts of our worship and focus on the Lord with a minimum of concern/distraction.
Contribution: The contribution plate will be located near the back of the auditorium. You may place your contribution there as you arrive, or as you are leaving the auditorium. We will, as usual, have a prayer for the offering, after we have communion. This approach is to avoid passing the germs along with the plate.
Singing: The authorities would rather we not sing, to minimize possible spread of the virus. However, we are commanded to sing praises to God and to sing to one another in the assembly. At a minimum, we'll have a song before communion, and an invitation song after the lesson.
After the closing prayer: Let's exit the auditorium fairly quickly. (Don't forget to leave your contribution if you haven't already.) We can visit outside for as long as anyone pleases. Please remember to wear your mask and keep the proper distance from others as you exit the building. Be mindful of the concerns of others as we visit outdoors.
For this first week back, we'll follow the above. As weeks pass, we will adjust according to the concerns and comfort levels of all our church family, until we are able to worship according to God's commands in our customary way.
See you Sunday!
Grace and Peace,