More Opportunities for In-Person Ministry Return in March

Church leaders and the Smart Team are encouraged by the latest guidance provided by a variety of public health officials serving our community. At the same time, we’re coming to terms with how this particular virus continues to present certain risks for many in our midst. As such, we are moving some of our safety protocols in a decidedly hopeful direction, allowing for expanded opportunities for in-person ministry. We are hopeful because:

  • Vaccination rates continue to rise, including among many of our youngest. Indeed, the ready embrace of vaccination within our community suggests a deep commitment to love of neighbor that is offering protection to us all.
  • Deliberate masking in confined, indoor settings offers strong protection. This remains true even as we raise our voices together in song and in prayer.
  • Attentiveness to sanitary conditions, social distancing, exposure limits and other safe practices have become familiar habits.

Coinciding with the start of Lent, we are encouraging members of our community to consider how our variety of ministry activities might become enriched through their physical presence. While we will continue to offer online connectivity for many of our larger gatherings and occasional meetings, we will once again be giving preference to in-person settings. Beginning in March:

  • Sunday mornings will feature two in-person worship services in our sanctuary at 8:30am and 10:30am. Services will continue to be about 45 minutes in length. The 8:30am service will be live-streamed.
  • Choirs and ensembles will not be limited in size. Full rehearsals will resume with some continuing adaptations.
  • Sunday Faith Formation activities at 9:30am will take place in-person. This includes PoP Kids Sunday School and Foundations for Middle & High School Youth. The Sunday Forum will take place in the sanctuary and will be broadcast on Zoom, though interactivity for those online will be limited.
  • Lent Wednesday services (at 7pm), featuring Holden Evening Prayer, will take place in the sanctuary.
  • Ministry Groups are encouraged to resume activity as opportunities present.

Recognizing that we cannot eliminate all risk, we will continue to maintain some of the safety practices that will keep risk to a minimum:

  • Masking while indoors is required.
  • Food & Beverage service will continue to be suspended. Those who chose to bring their own are encouraged to keep a mask on between sips/bites while in the presence of others.
  • Room capacity limits may return to pre-Covid standards but a continuing emphasis for social distancing is still expected and desirable whenever possible.

We will be monitoring these protocols and anticipate with additional hope that we might relax our reliance on these measures in the near future. We give thanks for the patience and resiliency by which this community continues to operate as we cautiously reunite. We also want to reassure those whose distance remains central to their safety the we remain, as ever, one Body of Christ.