Following sincere prayer and deliberation, with the intent of caring for all who attend St Luke and concern for everyone’s health and wellbeing, the Elders have agreed that it is safe for worshipers to start singing again during our live services in the sanctuary beginning this Sunday, Sep. 27. We will continue to wear masks and maintain social distancing of 6 feet during worship and at all times while we are in our building (with the exception of the reserved area described in the first bullet point below).
Our Elders met on Sunday, Sep. 20 to discuss this topic, and we agreed to take this action because we have not found significant evidence that worshipers singing with masks while socially distanced has resulted in an outbreak of COVID-19.
I had asked each of our Elders to conduct research and arrive at the meeting ready to give medical evidence as to our situation, and we are grateful to our Lord that our findings indicate we can begin to sing again.
We will take these precautions and steps:
- A section in the sanctuary will be reserved for those who do not wish to sing (the rear section on the worship team side of the sanctuary). We desire to care for our high-risk population, and we will offer this seating area for them and for anyone else who does not wish to sing at this time. We will ask everyone who desires to sit in that non-singing section to “double” socially-distance, 12 feet apart, for the sake of our high-risk people.
- We will sing softly. Robust singing, as we know, projects particles a greater distance. We will begin gently and increase our volume as time shows this is a wise move.
- We will continue to wear masks. Mask must be worn properly, covering the nose as well as the mouth.
- Please do not wear neck-gaiters as they have proved to be insufficient protection.
- Face-shields have been proven to be inadequate in lessening the projection of particles. You may of course wear one, but please wear a mask underneath as well.
- We will continue to limit worship time to under an hour, as the less exposure time, the less the risk.
- We will enable everyone to use either door to enter or exit; this will be a help to those who have the physical need to walk shorter distances from the car to our doors. The handicapped area nearest our western door (nearest the nursery) will now be open for both entry and exit.
- We will continue to ask people to sign in and will do so at both doors now, so we can send out alerts if we discover that someone who worshiped tests positive and we need to contact all who were in worship that day.
- Our Elders and other leaders will continue to monitor our situation closely and take steps as appropriate if our situation changes.
- We cannot guarantee that these measures will prevent people from contracting COVID, so continued prayer is vital.
- Online worship will continue to be celebrated and, we hope, will continue to grow in excellence. I affirm that for many, online worship is a viable and wise choice.
I believe we took the right course of action when we decided to pause the worship act of singing until sufficient time had passed for studies to be conducted and analyzed. I would lead us to take the same steps again, for the sake of keeping all of us safe, and with the goal of acting carefully and prudently. It is a pleasure to make such deliberations with our Elders, whose function is to serve as an extension of the pastoral ministry, most especially in the area of worship and care.
“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving, and enter his courts with praise!” – Psalm 100