Our Response To COVID-19



September 30, 2020

 

Dearest Siblings in Christ,

 

Wow!  September is coming to a close; leaves are starting to change, and the weather is taking a turn for the 50s.  Confirmation and our children’s ministry are up and running.  Soon, we will be thinking about Thanksgiving and – gulp! – Christmas.  While the past six months have been incredibly challenging, we have much to be thankful for.  We continue to worship in two different ways every weekend.  With the dedication and hard work of a number of key volunteers, our parking lot is transformed into a worship space each and every Saturday.  A huge thank you goes out to Vicar Sue, the McManis family, Jerry and Carol Liston, David Rhodes, Sonya Pedersen, and Dan Gaddis who consistently show up to set up and tear down our equipment.  If I were going to start a rock band and needed roadies . . . . . Thank you.  

 

Our online services continue.  Here Vicar Sue does yeoman’s work, contacting and videoing all of the people whose faces you see every weekend.  The music that you hear each week is due to the hard work of Ellen Schroll, David Rhodes, Bob Barwa, and a faithful quartet of singers (Judy Matarelli, Harold Sager, David Helfert, and Jan Rauworth).  Every Tuesday they gather to record the music.  David Rhodes takes the recordings home to edit the sound and then he passes them to Vicar Sue, who then adds lyrics.  For any piece that comes from our Praise Band, Bob Barwa and David Rhodes lay the music tracks and pass them to Sonya who adds her voice.  We are blessed by very capable musicians and techies whom God uses to make worship possible.  Thanks also go out to Audrey Bjerum, who creates our children’s messages.

 

Many continue to ask when we will be able to move indoors.  Needless to say, moving our worship indoors safely is a complicated endeavor. We have tentatively set a start date for indoor worship at Sunday, October 11th at 10:00 a.m.  In order to make our worship experience as safe as possible, we will observe the following protocol:

 

Masks will be worn correctly (over both the mouth and nose) while we are in the building.

We will limit the amount of people in the sanctuary to 50.  Therefore, an RSVP will be required for each worship service.  If we have responses from more than 50 people, we will open a second indoor service.  We will tell you how to RSVP next week.

If you have a cough, fever, diarrhea, shortness of breath, or exposure to anyone diagnosed with COVID in the last 14 days, please take care of yourself and others and stay home. 

We will use only the outside doors (in front of the office and choir room) to enter the church building.  The middle doors will remain locked. 

Upon entering the building, everyone’s temperature will be taken.  

After your temperature is taken, you will be escorted to your seat by an usher.  We will fill the sanctuary from the front to the back.  When we dismiss, the ushers will dismiss you from the back to the front.

We will observe proper social distancing when we worship.  The pews will be clearly marked to help you know where to sit.  

While bathrooms will be open, the narthex will be closed to avoid the gathering of people.  After dismissal, please proceed directly to the parking lot.  

We will celebrate Holy Communion from our seats.  

Offering plates will not be passed.  Offering boxes will be placed at each door of the sanctuary.  

Yellow Pages will be made available following the service.  

 

In order to provide the safest possible worship experience, we need to have six volunteers per worship service: two to take temperatures, three to serve as ushers, and one to operate the A/V equipment.  We will provide the proper personal protection equipment and training for these volunteers.  Let me be clear, without these volunteers, we cannot worship indoors safely.  Ushers are desperately needed.  

Ushers:  We need three – one for each aisle of the sanctuary. Please come 20 minutes before worship.  Your job will be to escort people from the door of the narthex to their seats, filling the church from front to back.  Following the worship service, you will dismiss the participants beginning from the back to the front.  You will not have to hand out bulletins, collect offering, or help with communion.

 

Temperature takers:  We need two – one for each side door of the church.  Please come 20 minutes before worship.  Your job will be to take the temperature of each worship participant using the no-touch thermometer.  You will be provided the correct personal protection equipment for your safety.  

 

Our ability to maintain a safe space for us to worship will depend upon you, the participant.  If, for whatever reason, you cannot comply with our safety protocols, please stay home and take advantage of our online worship services.  Our online services will continue for the foreseeable future.  We will also continue our outdoor services for as long as weather permits.  Once again, we will not be able to have indoor worship without at least six volunteers per service.  We cannot proceed without ushers.  Please tell us if you are willing to help in these important positions.  

 

We live in extraordinary times.  However, God can use these times to help us practice our love for each other.  Thank you for your cooperation.    

 

With Great Love,


Pastor Jon Pedersen

Steve Kirk, Council President