On March 21st we made the difficult decision to suspend in-person worship services at Trinity Lutheran Church due to the Coronavirus and COVID-19. Since then all worship services have been held online via Facebook live. Over the past several weeks many of us have become accustomed to worshiping in our living rooms, receiving communion around the dining room table, and attending church services in our pajamas. Pastor Bob and I have become accustomed to leading worship in an empty church and preaching to a camera.
For those of us who prefer or need to worship in-person, Trinity will soon resume in-person services. Beginning on June 7th, we feel that we will be able to begin offering Sunday morning services at 9:15 a.m. At this time we are not able to resume our Saturday evening service. However, a Saturday service is planned to resume in the future as needed and when arrangements are made for extra cleaning and sanitation between the services.
As we move forward, I want to assure you that our online services will continue. I realize that as our country and communities re-open a vaccine is not yet available, and the Coronavirus is still a very real and dangerous threat. Trinity’s safest venue for worship at this time is our online, streaming service.
When in-person services resume, there will be some changes to help ensure the health and safety of all who choose to attend in-person services. Below is a list of things we are asking you to graciously adjust to if you attend our in-person service:
- Face coverings (masks) are to be worn while in the building.
- Only sit in the pews that are not roped off. Every other pew will be closed to assist with social distancing.
- Sit at least six feet from others who do not live in your home.
- Sanctuary windows will be open and ceiling fans will be used to provide ventilation and air circulation during services. While this may seem wasteful when the heat or air conditioning is in use, it is necessary.
- Heavenly Happenings and Word, Prayer and Care will be emailed each week. A limited number of printed copies will be available in the planter by the church doors. They will also be mailed as we have done in recent weeks.
- Printed orders of service will not be distributed. The order of service will be emailed earlier in the week and will be available on our website for at-home printing and/or viewing on phones and tablets. All worship items will be on-screen.
- Physical contact such as handshakes, hugs, etc. is discouraged. While you may be comfortable with this, please be respectful of others.
- Hymnals, Bibles, and song books have been removed from the pews to limit the amount of cleaning and sterilization that is now required.
- Communion will be celebrated in the pews. Pre-packaged elements will be available on a table in the narthex.
- Nursery services will not be available.
- Offering plates will be located in the narthex. They will not be passed in the service.
- Dismissal – Ushers will dismiss worshipers pew-by-pew beginning with the pews at the back of the sanctuary.
- Pastor Bob and I will not be in the narthex following the service. If you would like to speak with either of us after worship, we will be outside on the lawn next to the church or in the pavilion, depending on the weather.
There are no plans to check temperatures when worshipers arrive. We are trusting you to make the right decision whether to attend the in-person service. If you are not feeling well, please worship from the comfort of your own home until you feel better. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 self-quarantine as directed – do not come to church until after your quarantine.
It goes without saying that life at churches in a world with COVID-19 is different. However, by making these adjustments we are working together for the health and safety of others so people can worship together in the sanctuary of Trinity Lutheran Church if they desire.
Until a vaccine is found or something else changes, our on-line option is the safest way for each of us to worship. However, please choose to worship where you feel the most comfortable and where you feel that your spiritual needs are best met.
Thank you for your patience as your church tries to adapt to this new normal. As I look back over the past several weeks it is evident that God has built a faithful family of believers at Trinity Lutheran Church. In a world with COVID-19 some of Trinity’s ministries have adapted and continue in a safe and healthy way; more of us gather for an online Bible study than were gathering in-person; meetings have been held on-schedule even though they are online; we have continued to gather (virtually) for worship; and through your generous support we have not experienced a financial crisis as some of us feared. Thank you.