May 20, 2020
Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Pastor Dan Vang here writing to share with you all another update.
As you all are probably aware of by now, our State Supreme Court struck down the Safer at Home mandate that was set to expire on May 26th. As a result, the State can no longer enforce the guidelines that were set in place but rather individual cities and counties will set the precedence of what can and cannot be done. That being said businesses and the like, including churches, can seemingly resume as is prior to Covid-19. Another way of saying that is that they’re reopening.
What’s that mean for us? While we could reopen and gather this coming up week—Sunday, May 24th, we won’t. At least, not just yet. We want to approach this carefully acknowledging that while we are no longer enforced to follow the guidelines shared with us from the State, the coronavirus still is present among us, so we must be cautious and plan carefully. This is where you come in: pray for me and our leadership as we plan to work this out. We need God’s insight and wisdom concerning this new situation and our own context.
That being said, and this will be reiterated again, there will be some of you who will probably decide to not return to in-person worship for the sake of your health and safety. That’s understandable and alright, you are still part of the God’s assembled people—His Church. So whether we reconnect in-person, online, or over the phone, you still belong. Now is the time for grace. We will continue to live-stream our services for you.
Down below are the expectations we have concerning in-person worship.
St. John’s Re-Opening Plan
Starting May 31st, 2020
Sundays at 10:15am
Communion 1st and 3rd Sundays
Expectations for In-Person worship service
Attendance: 25% of maximum capacity (240 people) allowed for in-person worship = 60 people
In order to minimize contact, every other pew ought to be occupied leaving one row open. Ushers will help with seating placements, starting with the first row of pews. Larger families will occupy a single row, while singles and couples can occupy a row together by maintaining social distancing of 6 feet. In the occurrence we have an overflow of people, they will be directed to the fellowship hall to participate in worship.
All of the pew items (hymnals, bibles, and papers) will be removed from the pews in order to minimize touch. Families with young children, please bring your own homemade fun bags.
No bulletins will be passed out. The entire service and announcements will be projected onto the screen.
Offering plates will be placed by the door leading into the sanctuary.
We strongly encourage you to wear masks when attending service.
No physical contact with others or “Sharing of the Peace.”
Sanitizers will be available at the points of entry and exit.
When service closes, ushers will lead families out starting from the back row.
After service, we will not gather in the fellowship hall for fellowship.
The format of our in-person worship services will resemble what we’ve been practicing through our online/zoom experience.
Communion Sundays: we will have communion at the close of service in the narthex as people are being led out of the sanctuary. Families will take communion together. Pastor Vang will distribute alone.
Ushers - expectations
Please wear gloves and masks when assisting with worship.
Welcome members and lead them to pews, and out of their pews at the close of service.
Reiterate expectations for in-person worship.
Baptisms and Funerals
Attendance will follow the same standards for in-person worship services.
If you decide to stay home:
If you are considered high-risk for Covid-19 (65 years old+, weak/compromised immune system, respiratory issues, serious heart conditions, etc.), please consider staying home for your health. We don’t want you to be pressured into attending. We will still be here for you and will be intentional about remaining connected. Your membership to the local church will not be in jeopardy because of this virus and you not attending because of it.
Live-streaming service will STILL be available through Facebook and Zoom but will be available at 10:15am when St. John’s will gather for their in-person worship service.
Even though this pandemic has been difficult for all of us and continues to persist, let me share with you all an encounter I had. A couple of weeks ago a young man by the name of Dustin called our church letting me know that he had been let go of his job and was in need of diapers and formula for his two young children. Because of YOU—St. Paul’s—we were able to provide for him the very things he and his wife needed. Although you may not have been present, you took action. I left for them some more information about us as a congregation, online service opportunity, contact info to reach me, and info of Abiding Care in Medford. God had given us an opportunity to bear witness of the risen Christ and reflect His love to a stranger during this trying time. Let us pray that that seed blooms into good fruit which clings to the promises of Jesus.
Stay well and safe. We’re excited to gather again! God’s peace be with you all.
Pastor Daniel Vang
We are remembering God’s promises, reconnecting with one another, and reflecting God’s love—together.