There’s still room for you at the church!
Back in March when we entered the stay-at-home order, it was hard to imagine what church would be like in three months. But here we are and I’m glad to see some of you returning to the sanctuary for Sunday worship. For the first three Sundays in June, at both the 8:30 and 10:45 AM services, there were just under 25 people attending, which is within Phase I guidelines for our county. While it would be nice to see more people come back to in-person worship, the amount we have had has been manageable in that we haven’t had to turn anyone away. That being said, there are still a few open seats in the sanctuary at each service, plus we can seat an additional 25 people in the lower level (basement) with sound and video. You can also listen to the service in your car in the parking lot (87.9 FM radio.) For those of you participating in worship at home, you can come to the church and receive communion on the first and third Sundays of the month. I will remain in the sanctuary until 1 pm to commune one family at a time. So far we’ve had a few takers on this and it’s been good to commune with you after such a long fast from the Lord’s Supper.
So what’s in the future? Well, the earliest things could change would be Sunday, July 12th if governor Brown approves our region for Phase II. If that happens, we will still have the 8:30 AM service with a few more designated seating spaces in the sanctuary. We will still have to practice six feet of physical distancing and wear face masks. But we will also begin our 10:45 outdoor service in the grove. Under Phase II, we will be able to have more than 25 people attend with proper distancing, plus, you can stay in your car and still see and hear the service. There are technology roadblocks to livestreaming the outdoor grove service; so what we’ll probably do is livestream the 8:30 AM service just during the summer, so that we can continue offering worship for those who wish to stay home, or cannot come to church.
This summer is certainly going to be a much less active than what we’re used to. A district youth gathering in Idaho was canceled, Confirmation Camp at Lutherwood was canceled, Robin Hood is canceled, a wedding has been postponed, and Mission Festival is up in the air since we won’t be able to have potlucks even in Phase II.
Some things are continuing however on a limited basis including Vacation Bible School and confirmation for our three confirmands; Ben, David, and J.P. I’m hoping to host a picnic for the other LCMS pastors in our circuit later in August. Some things I sure miss are our time together in Bible study, men’s group on Saturday mornings, and new member classes.
The elders and I wholeheartedly appreciate your patience and flexibility during all this. Trying to figure out how to continue worship services amid ever-changing Covid prevention guidelines has not been easy. I also want to thank Frannie, Chuck, and the Praise Team for their continuing dedication to serve you during worship. And, we must all be grateful for Tim, our president for conducting the business of our church, as well as our financial officer Karen Baldwin; Jill for all the communication to you, Charlie, who’s been key in keeping some of our technology going for the online worship; Jennifer and Ellen, in the office; Kathy for a successful close of the school year and preparation for next year’s class; the volunteers on the Board of Education; and Jen Gatke for carrying on with VBS.
Above all we must thank the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ, for promising never to abandon us, and seeing us through to the end. To Him be all the glory, honor, praise and thanksgiving!