Hey Abiding Presence! I’m excited to announce that your leadership is making final plans for a return to gathered worship on the weekend of September 19-20th.
Since the spike we saw in July changed our initial plan, a Return to Worship Planning Committee, Executive Council and your staff have been prayerfully watching the now significant downturn in COVID statistics. Yes the virus remains among us, so as we move forward we will follow strict guidelines to help us coexist with COVID as safely as possible.
On the weekend of September 19-20, we will resume our normal worship service schedule: Saturday at 5:30, Sunday at 8:30 and 11:00 at a maximum 25% capacity in the sanctuary.
Worship will look and feel quite different as we begin gathering in person again:
- Reservations are required. This is the best possible way for us to plan ahead for the number of worshipers each week. This also serves as a guide for the sanctuary’s 25% capacity limit. There will be a reservation link on our website each week.
- Face masks are required as you enter the building and for the duration of the worship service. If you arrive without a face mask, a disposable mask will be provided. Children 10 and under are excused from face mask use.
- All worshipers will enter through the double wooden doors. Please maintain 6′ distancing as you wait to enter.
- Family units will be ushered to available seats on arrival. There will be no saving of seats for later arrivals.
- Worship bulletins and communion wafers will be in the seats prior to seating.
- All children are welcome in the sanctuary. A take home bag with children’s worship materials will be available as you enter the building. Booster seats will not be used. The nursery will not be open.
- The worship service will include congregational singing and prayers. It is suggested that soft singing or humming with a face mask on is generally safe.
- Family units will be ushered to approved exit doors following worship.
- Restrooms will be open and will be cleaned following each worship service. All other areas of the building will be closed.
- There will not be Sunday School. We are not serving breakfast.
- The sanctuary, entry, and exit paths will be professionally cleaned following each worship service.
- All are asked to maintain 6′ distancing as you enter and exit the building. We ask that groups not congregate in the courtyard or on sidewalks.
- The outdoor chapel area is open for social distant gatherings.
- If you are feeling ill or have had fever in the last 72 hours, please stay at home.
- All are welcome to worship and we will not turn away anyone based on age or supposed vulnerabilities.
This is the same plan we announced back in July and there are several videos available on our YouTube channel that explain what to expect as we gather differently in the coming weeks.
We cannot contemplate returning to in-person worship without adequate volunteer help. If you are planning to return, I ask you to also consider serving in some capacity on our new Worship Support Team – different from what you remember as Welcome Teams, there are substantially different roles to play as we all work together to return to worship safely. Training is being provided at APLC on Wednesday, Sept 2 at 7:00 pm and Saturday, Sept 5 at 10:00 am. Please call the church office to RSVP.
Abiding Presence will continue to offer online worship each weekend for those who are not ready to return. The online experience will change, too, as we transition to recording one of our in-person services.
I invite you to pray for your leadership as they continue to listen to God’s voice in making decisions and providing direction. I invite you to pray for your staff as they continue to go above and beyond job descriptions and expectations to bring worship, learning, and community to you every day. I invite you to pray for each other as we seek God and serve others in new ways.
I look forward to seeing you all in the days ahead.
God is with us!