Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace and peace be with you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! This coming Sunday, June 21, we will resume public worship at Christ the King. The format will be the same as when we worshipped on May 31 (see below). We will still livestream our worship for those who choose to stay home.
As a reminder, here are the guidelines, which were established by a Diocesan Task Force who has worked very hard on this challenging issue. Their faithful work has been grounded in much prayer, research, crowd-sourcing, and more prayer.
As I mentioned last time we resumed public worship, I think that our operative words need to be gratitude and grace. I am deeply grateful that we are able to return to public worship! It is a sign of hope. I am also grateful for our bishop and the task force who has tirelessly been working on this initiative. With so many differing opinions, as well as relying on data that changes daily, there are no easy answers, and this is not an easy task. They have consulted medical professionals, public health officials, CDC guidelines, state law, our diocesan chancellors, other bishops, clergy, and dioceses, and through it all, they have grounded their tireless work in humble prayer. So I commend their work to you, and ask that first and foremost we remember to be grateful for the hard, faithful work of others.
- There will be a 50 person limit in the church. Overflow seating will be available in Sandefur Hall, where you will be able to watch the livestream in real time.
- We will have a total of 12 people serving (Rector, LEM, lector, musicians, livestream engineer, and ushers). That means there will be room for 38 additional people in the church. So you might choose to arrive early to get a seat.
- Overflow seating in Sandefur Hall will accommodate approximately 25 people. Those who are seated in Sandefur Hall will receive communion there.
- There will be no nursery, children’s chapel, Sunday School, or coffee hour.
- An usher will walk you to your seat upon arrival. We have designated seating spaces that ensure safe distancing between people. There will be a worship bulletin in each seat, as well as a 4x6 notecard. You will be asked to write your name on the card and leave it in your pew. We will collect these cards each week as a means of tracking “who sat where and when” in the event that we are notified that somebody has contracted the virus. This proved to be very helpful last time!
- Everyone will be required to wear a mask, so please bring one. We have a limited number of masks available for those who forget to bring theirs.
- There will be limited music, no choir, and no singing. Communion will be served in one kind only (bread), and it will be brought to you in your pew.
- Keeping in mind the importance of duration (as well as distance), we are hoping to keep the service to 45 minutes long.
- The Task Force encourages all of those who are considered to be in the vulnerable population – either due to their age, health condition, or compromised immune system, to please wait a while longer before returning to worship. The livestream will continue every Sunday going forward.
Second, I think we need to be graceful with one another. Some are overjoyed with this decision, and will be at the church doors waiting for us to unlock them on Sunday morning. Some are not ready to return to public worship yet. This diversity of opinion, reaction, and feeling is ok. Our entire country has a diversity of opinion over how soon (and how) we resume our public life together. Through it all, we need to be graceful to one another. As Christians, we have an opportunity to model how we love one another in the midst of our differences. Please respect others’ decisions as to how they are choosing to navigate this challenging time.
The vestry has been hard at work ensuring that all of our i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. I am grateful for them, and all of their hard work in helping us get ready to return, as well as the implementation of the plan.
With gratitude and grace,