It has been a joy and an encouragement to see so many of you streaming our services on Sunday mornings and even during the week for Morning Prayer. Our worship will continue to be live-streamed at 7:30am every Sunday. In addition, we are hoping to regather for services starting this Sunday, June 21. The service will be outside and there are several conditions that will need to be followed in order for this to be successful. The following lays out a lengthy list of conditions and concerns that I hope each of you will take some intentional and prayerful time to reflect and decide as to what is right for you in terms of worship on Sunday mornings.
A message to the parish as we begin to regather and worship together in person:
- There is no judgment by anyone regarding whether or not you come back to church to worship at this time. We are a people of love who walk a way of love and we will act in love as we navigate these unknown waters. For those who do not want to return to church at this time, for whatever reason, can still worship with us online as our service will continue to be streamed starting at 7:30am on Sunday mornings.
- We will begin offering an outdoor service at 9am on Sunday mornings on the front lawn. There are a few things you must agree to in order to worship with us:
- You must RESERVE YOUR SPOT.
- There are 60 household units available. A household unit is defined by CoA as 1-4 persons. If your household has more than 4 persons, you will need to reserve two units.
- Of the 60 units available, five will be reserved for members of our congregation who do not have internet access and five will be reserved for visitors.
- Reservations will be taken on a first come, first serve basis. You may reserve your spot by calling the church office 263-5529 or emailing email@example.com.
- Though you are reserving a spot, you are not reserving a particular spot. Ushers will direct you to your unit upon your arrival. At the dismissal, we will explain how you are to leave. this is to help us physically distance and minimize aerosol risk.
- Bring your own chair should you choose. We will not provide them. All members of your household must have some part of their physical body in the pre-drawn unit. Please keep this in mind as you decide whether or not to bring a chair.
- Dress casually and cooly--t-shirts and shorts are fine. We will try to limit the services to no longer than 35 minutes--but it'll still be Alabama hot. You might sweat a little on the lawn, but it'll be better than sweating in the other place! 🙂 You may also want to bring a fan to help keep cool.
- FACE MASKS ARE REQUIRED FOR EVERYONE. This is by order of the bishop. He has given us permission to begin regathering but is requiring the use of face masks by everyone who attends even if outside and physically distanced. You must provide your own face mask and wear it over your nose and mouth even if you have the antibodies.
- You must maintain physical distancing guidelines of six feet at all times. Your household unit is 12 feet apart--this should help during the service to maintain safe physical distancing. However, upon arrival and dismissal it is still important to be aware of your space. You may not mind someone getting close to you, but the other person does mind--so stay away. And...
- NO TOUCHING. I feel like my father--"There will be no touching of anyone by anyone else in this car for the rest of the trip!" Who knew how useful it would be forty years later to have gotten in trouble for touching my sister, or even not touching her? "I'm not touching you. I'm not touching you." Air hugs, air high fives, and Mr. Spock's greetings are all appropriate from six feet apart.
- The church will not be open--which means no bathrooms. Sorry. Go potty before you come just like you make your children do before a road trip.
- Bulletins will remain on-line. It is helpful for you to download one before you arrive. There will only be one printed bulletin available per household unit.
- There will be no congregational singing. Singing is one of the ways in which the virus is spread significantly. Consider humming--its soothing, can be meditative, and you keep your lips closed.
- You will have your temperature checked upon arrival. If you think you may be running a fever, please check your temperature before you come and stay home if it is high.
- Hand sanitizer will be available upon arrival and dismissal. Please use appropriately--especially if you touch a bulletin.
- Offertory baskets will not be passed around the congregation. Instead ushers will have the baskets placed on stands at specific locations around the worship area when you arrive. We are delighted for you to continue to give online, by text-to-give, bank draft, or the USPS. We will continue to place your cards and envelopes from the preceding week in the offertory baskets to be prayerfully offered to God in the course of our worship.
- Our primary service for the time being will be Morning Prayer. We will celebrate Communion on the second Sundays of the month. This will require a different set of instructions that you will receive in July.
In case of inclement weather—bring an umbrella. If it is too stormy, we will not meet together and will have to worship on-line. There is no good way of communicating whether or not we will gather. I’m not sweet enough to melt or smart enough to get out of the rain but if you don’t see anyone standing outside at 9am, chances are we’ve tucked tail and run.
A few things to consider:
- If you are 60 years of age or older, are diabetic or immuno-compromised, suffer from any lung issues, or are at greater risk of dying from the disease you may want to continue to worship with us on-line. That is a smart and safe choice. The Old Testament speaks of plagues that lasted for years and the people of God continued to be faithful, loving the Lord and the Lord loving them. They were able to make it through those times--we will make it through these.
- If you have small children: Those under three should not wear a face mask. Those over three should do so during the service for limited amounts of time. Please check with your pediatrician regarding what is safe for them. There will not be a nursery--so you will be responsible for your child the entire time. Children should not run freely on the grounds when we are gathered for two reasons--this is sacred space for us to worship together and they need to remain distanced especially from older folks who are more susceptible to the illness. And don't forget--the church will not be open so there are no bathrooms.
- Please do not bring pets. Church dog, aka Banshee, is very upset by this rule but she understands the need and has agreed to comply on Sunday mornings.
- Please be flexible. Things may change in the coming weeks. The way we are regathering now may look very different in a couple of weeks or months. This situation is fluid and it is completely unknown. We will make mistakes. Our goal is to offer a time to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ together with as minimal a risk as possible. If this becomes too risky, we will need to step back and start anew. That is the essence of the church--renewal--and we get to practice it together in a loving and compassionate way.
I am grateful for each of you. Your prayers and words of encouragement have given me and the staff the strength to endure through this time of transformation in almost every aspect of how we "do church". We've learned a lot and we have a lot more to learn. Thank you for sticking with us.
May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your heart and mind in the knowledge and love of God. Amen.
Light and Life,
Due to COVID-19, our worship hours will change.
Sunday service at 7:30am
We will stream on our website and Facebook page. The video will be available to watch any time after 7:30 AM through the links below:
The website stream is available HERE.
The Facebook stream can be found HERE.
YouTube can be found HERE.
The service bulletin can be found HERE and you can print this for your convenience.
Sunday service at 9:00am
We will have an outdoor service on the front lawn. Reservations are required by calling the church or HERE. See more details in the From the Rector section to the left.
Stay tuned to the website and Facebook page for further updates as we work through this together.