by Pastor John Sproul
Worship will resume in our sanctuary on Sunday, June 14. I invite you to rejoice with profound gratitude to the Lord for bringing us to this moment!
What follows will help you know how we will celebrate, and help you decide if you want to worship in the sanctuary on our first Sunday back. Our plan and the date of our first worship service in the sanctuary has been approved by our SLC and Elders, with the advice of our staff.
June 14 has been chosen as our first Sunday in the sanctuary because at the beginning of the pandemic, your leaders had agreed to be led by the guidelines produced by the State of Michigan and the CDC. As of June 8, our area of the state will be in Phase 4 of our recovery from the pandemic, which we had decided would serve as the indicator that it’s safe to begin to worship in the sanctuary again.
There is no pressure to worship in the sanctuary on that Sunday, or Sundays to come. Some will choose, for all kinds of reasons, not to be present, and that’s fine. Please plan prayerfully and act according to your best judgment.
Worship online, as we’ve been celebrating it on YouTube, will continue. Our plan is not to stop, but to continue and enhance our online worship option. We plan to record worship in the sanctuary and make it available. Another worship option is to gather with your home group or a special small group, observing State guidelines, using the “order of worship” for that Sunday to be found on our YouTube link.
Safe worship is the worship we’ll celebrate in the sanctuary. Our facility will be sanitized. Everyone will be asked to wear a mask. Trained volunteers will meet you outside to direct you to the right door and to give you a mask if you need one, and gloves, if you want them. Once inside, our Elders will direct you about safe, socially-distanced seating and how to exit our facility.
We will hold one service at 10:00 a.m. on that first Sunday. The style will be a blend of our two morning services.
We will celebrate Holy Communion using pre-packaged, individually-sealed packets that contain the host and a small cup of wine or grape juice. The common cup will not be used (for now, not for forever). Communicants will commune themselves using the individual packets while sitting in a pew, so that the only hand that touches what they receive is their own.
We will forgo the use of offering plates, bulletins, or any handouts to maximize safety.
We will have instrumental music, but no one will sing, as the best evidence indicates that singing causes airborne particles to travel significant distances.
We will learn from our first experience. Our leaders will meet after our first service so we can share what worked and what didn’t. At that time, we will discuss other worship options – such as holding worship outside, multiple worship services on a Sunday with thorough cleaning in-between, and so forth – so that we continually offer safer and more meaningful worship.
We encourage caution at this time: Parents will want to pray about bringing their children, and we encourage those who are in the high-risk category – those age 60 and older and those with underlying health conditions – to do the same. If you are sick in any way, please wait until you are well to attend.
Worshipers will be limited to 75 people this first week, so that we can test our procedures for safety and determine if we need to adjust our plan.
We ask that you make reservations for you/your family so that we can know beforehand that worshipers will not number more than 75. Make your reservations by going to: Worship Reservations. If you are reading this via US Mail, please make a reservation by calling David Nelson at (734) 971-0550, Ext. 109.
Attendance will be recorded so that if a worshiper later tests positive for the virus, we can alert everyone who attended that (an anonymous) someone has tested positive, and advise those who were in worship to take appropriate steps.
The nursery will be closed for the protection of our little ones; no Sunday School, Youth, or Adult Discipleship Bible studies will be offered.
We will anticipate a BIG celebration some day, when the time is right and we can host a large crowd. Until that day, please thank God with me for our leaders – our SLC, Elders, and staff – who have demonstrated their dedication once again by planning for our worship.
Questions, clarifications, and concerns are welcome! Please connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314.795.9539
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’” – Psalm 122:1