The morning after President Trump declared churches to be essential, and that governors should allow them to open, I received a text message asking if there would be “in house worship” the next day. Sadly, I had to say we’d just be online.
Being able to worship online has been a blessing, and I’m very grateful to every-one who has made it possible. However, we are all anxious to get back to church, and I read just this morning that nearly half of regular churchgoers are apparently tired of online worship because they haven’t done so in the past four weeks.
No one thought the restrictions would last this long, and we’re all ready for things to get back to normal. But, as we’re being told, the best we can expect in the near future is a “new normal.” The elders pondered what that might look like at Tuesday’s meeting.
Once the decision is made to resume corporate worship, we’ll begin gradually, and with several changes to assure the safety of those gathering. To comply with guidelines, we will tape off every other pew, and encourage families to sit together. For the first week or so, the nurseries will be closed, and no children’s worship or Sunday School will be offered. To avoid contamination, no bulletins will be passed out, and outlines and manuscripts will be available on tables to be personally picked up. Offering trays will also be on the tables, and communion will already be in the receptacles on the back of pews. We will probably reduce the number of songs we sing, and remain seated while doing so. We will offer no refreshments in the fellowship hall, and those who wish to visit will be encouraged to do so in the parking lot.
I know all this sounds draconian, but we don’t want to appear rebellious against those in authority over us, and we do want everyone to be as safe as possible. When we determine we can worship together again, services will be live-streamed online as well as recorded for later viewing, and no one will be expected to come if they are at high risk or are uncomfortable doing so.
God Bless, Rick