I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
To be reminded that God is always doing a new thing that brings life out of death, that brings hope out of despair, that brings light out of darkness makes for a joyful occasion.
While we have a few months to go before we can safely say the pandemic is behind us, we can be cautiously optimistic given the declining statistics, the additional knowledge of the virus, the availability of vaccines and the leadership of our Bishop. In conversations with Bishop G, with her knowledge of the most recent Covid data and her knowledge of the characteristics and traits of this virus, I am comfortable moving toward a new set of worship guidelines. To eliminate with all precautions would be premature and unwise. Yet, there are a few adjustments that we can make without increasing the risk to anyone attending church.
- For Holy Week, we will continue with the current guidelines.
- For Easter we will enjoy fellowship safely together, continuing to maintain the following precautions:
- Masks must be worn
- Social distancing maintained in the pews and inside the building
- Live stream on Facebook and YouTube available at 9am.
Here are the new guidelines for Easter Sunday:
- We will administer communion from the rail with the clergy standing and families receiving while standing. We will not use the chalice at this point. The ushers will continue to regulate the flow of people in the aisle.
- We will sing an opening hymn and a closing hymn (masks must be worn) increasing the ventilation and fresh air during these times.
- The clergy and acolytes will process with limited participants while wearing masks.
- The Peace will be exchanged with a holy wave or nod.
- The offering plates will not be passed but made available at all the entrances to the church.
- At the 9am service, the children will process for the flowering of the cross to drop off the mite boxes and flowers.
I understand that some dear friends are not yet ready to resume in person worship. I, and all of us at St. John’s appreciate and respect individual autonomy in making the best decision given each person’s circumstances. We are all adjusting to new ways of comprehending our vulnerabilities and those of others.
One of the best ways to ensure that we can transition to a more normal schedule in the coming months is to get the vaccine as soon as possible. Each week they are becoming more and more available, and if you cannot find an appointment locally, there are usually open appointments in the neighboring counties.
God is doing a new thing, and with patience and compassion, we can begin a slow transition into a life at St. John’s that feels more familiar.