A Soft Reopening

May 13, 2021

Saints of Trinity,

First, I just want to say what a gift it was to be in worship with you on Sunday morning. I was overwhelmed, as was Dorothy, with being with you, and then even more overwhelmed by the gift. You really are an amazing bunch. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for all you do.

Now, I want to thank the Ad Council who met last Monday. The singular item on the agenda was about reopening. Let me offer you a bit of background, and then I will go into a lot more detail about what it means for us, particularly on Sunday mornings. On May 5, our Bishop came out with a full-on revision of the rules and regulations for individual churches regarding reopening our doors. As many are aware, there were those among us who serve as clergy in pushing both the Bishop and the COVID Task Force toward a more individualized set of standards. Her letter was a confirmation of that; where she and the task force are now allowing local churches to make their own decisions around the protocols of reopening. We were given two options. The first was a basic set of practices that any church could utilize. The second is titled, “Safe Local Practices” and is more about recommendations than requirements. The Ad Council has decided to adopt the second, but we’re tweaking it a bit.

We are calling this a kind of “soft reopening” as we continue to try and figure out what works best for Trinity. Here’s what I mean. As you may have already seen, we are no longer requiring you to be vaccinated to attend worship. We are continuing to require the wearing of masks and six feet as we continue to do social distancing. The sanctuary has been marked out to make it easier to see what that means. Those coming to church on Sundays will still be greeted at the door, be asked to sign in or check-in. Greeters will ask that you read the placard that has the COVID questions, and then answer the questions about potential symptoms. They will also check to make sure you have a mask. If you don’t, one will be provided for you. From there, an usher will greet you and escort you to the sanctuary. The role of the ushers is to assist those attending worship to be seated safely and according to the six-foot standards. The fellowship hall will also be available if you find that more comfortable or feel safer in there. As worship begins I will go over some reminders about protocols with you.

It may surprise you, once you arrive for worship, to find exterior doors opened to the outside in both the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. You will see (hopefully not hear) fans as they seek to add ventilation to both locations. Given the fans, you might think about bringing an extra blanket or sweater with you to worship. Again, the doors will be open to assist in providing a safe environment for worship.

While in worship we’re now, at least for the time being, asking that worshippers not sing. I’m going to suggest humming along with the hymns. We will have an octet leading us in the hymns. They will be singing. The words will still be on the screens, but those not in the octet need to refrain from singing. Again, this may change as things continue to be explored and we are able to open up more fully, but at this point, no singing, other than those leading music in worship.

One final thing I noticed last Sunday. Once worship was over, we had a tendency to clump in the center aisle. This Sunday you’ll hear me ask us not to do that. I’ll be encouraging folks to head outside the front doors, keep socially distancing, but have a fellowship time outside rather than inside. We’re exploring providing coffee out there. Again, things will continue to emerge as we walk through this. We will be presenting all of this to our District Superintendent for final approval, but wanted you to be aware as things progress. The point is, they are progressing.

This Sunday we are opening up to a whole lot more folks. It is our hope that the whole process of coming to worship will be, on one hand, less restrictive, and on the other, safe. It’s a delicate balance and it will take some time to figure out. So, I continue to ask for your patience. If you have questions, let any of us know.

Pastor Brad

Some Concerns that we have:

  • Pastor Brad and Dorothy for healing following Pastor Brad’s heart attack.
  • For those who continue to go through physical struggles, those who are dealing with cancer, or other health situations. Prayers for those who are emotionally feeling lost and alone.
  • For those who consider COVID-19 to be a conspiracy theory even as people are dying from this terrible disease.
  • For peace in our country.
  • For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal.