Public Worship Restart

Psalm 122:1 says “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.” It is a time for rejoicing! We can again gather for worship. The most important things will be the same. You will hear God’s Word, you will receive the Sacrament, and you will do it with other believers.

Many of the procedures will be different, some of them very different. This is for two reasons:

  1. Some are required by law. For example, we cannot have the number of people exceed 25% capacity.
  2. Some we are choosing to do in love for each other. For example, if you sing you are required to wear a mask. God’s Word makes it very clear that we are to show Christian love by caring for each other’s health and well-being. I may not feel I am at risk for COVID-19, but I will also do what I can to prevent me unknowingly spreading the virus.

Encouragements

  • Those who have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home.
  • Those who are at high risk of serious illness are encouraged to stay home.
  • Those who are uncomfortable attending services at this time are encouraged to stay home.
  • You are encouraged to wear a mask for the entire time you are in the building. Some masks are available for you if desire one, but you are encouraged to bring your own.
  • Everyone should practice distancing and good hygiene.

Distancing

  • Two rows will not be used between pews, to help with proper distancing.
  • Six feet of distance between households should be maintained.
  • Families will need to attend the same service every week. If you wish to switch with another family of approximately the same size you may do so but please tell Pastor.
  • Following these guidelines, we will have 3 services a week, Wednesday @ 6:00, Sunday @ 9:00 and Sunday @ 1:00. See the document entitled, “Worship Services” for your service assignment.

Cleanliness

  • High contact surfaces (like pews and door handles) will be disinfected after every service.
  • A deeper cleaning will be done after each weekend.
  • The fellowship hall will not be used.
  • Hymnals and Bibles will be removed from the pews.
  • The entire service will be printed. Worship folders will be placed in pews and discarded after each service.
  • Those who are accustomed to following along in Bibles and hymnals are encouraged to bring their own.
  • Baskets will be available in the narthex for offerings.
  • The elements for Holy Communion will be prepared by someone wearing a mask and gloves.
  • Exterior doors will be propped open before, during, and after the service.

Before the Service

  • Hand sanitizer will be available at the doors.
  • There will be no hand shaking before the service.
  • A pastor or other member will be present in the narthex to guide people in these new procedures.

Communion

  • Those who do not wish to commune or are not comfortable communing at this time will be free not to do so, with absolutely no stigma.
  • Those who are distributing the Sacrament will clean their hands with soap and water immediately before distribution and wear a mask and gloves.
  • The following procedures are very different from what we are used to but are meant to keep everyone as safe as possible. We have some real challenges at Divinity with the physical arrangement of our sanctuary.
  • Communicants will remain in their pews for distribution.
  • Pastor and his assistant will distribute new prepackaged and sealed communion sets that contain both the wine and the bread.
  • If you do not wish to commune please hold up your bulletin in front of your chest so Pastor and the assistant understand.
  • When everything has been distributed Pastor will say “take and eat…” and “take and drink.”
  • Ziplock bags will be in the pews for your empty cup.
  • Place the bag in garbage cans as you exit church.

Singing

  • We will be singing, but it will be limited.
  • Those who sing are asked to wear a mask. This will not sound like what we are used to, but it will help protect others.

After the Service

  • Pastor will not shake hands with people as they exit the sanctuary.
  • There will be no ushering out. Back rows exit first, maintaining social distancing at all times.
  • Members are encouraged not to stay and socialize in the narthex or church. This is something that can be done more safely outside, if desired.

Other Items

  • Regular Bible studies and Sunday school classes will not resume at this time.
  • We will continue to record a service for viewing online.