Soft Reopening Scheduled for July 5
We are tentatively planning a very limited reopening of St. John’s to in-person worship beginning July 5. It is important for us all to recognize that this plan is still a tentative one and may need to be changed to a later date. It is also important that we acknowledge how very different things will be as we slowly open to groups gathering for worship. This will not be a grand re-opening, by any means, but we are eager to take the first step toward being together fully and completely. That will take some months to accomplish and this is just the first step. Over the coming months we hope to dial things up, like a dimmer switch. We will start with many limitations and expand in a responsible way.
Please know that, as we take this first little step, we are not asking you to take any health risks you are not comfortable taking. We are not actually going to encourage you to come back to church just yet but we want to invite a few people at a time to join here for in-person worship. Be assured that we will take every precaution we can, that you will be asked to take every precaution, and that our Sunday services will continue to be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube and will be recorded so that you may view them when you are not able to be here in person.
Here’s how things will look on July 5 or whenever we are able to have our first service with people in the pews:
- We will have only one service – at 10:30
- Only 56 family units will be able to attend. Every other half-pew will be open to allow seating for between 1 and 5 people. No one will be seated in the half pew beside you, in front of you, or behind you. You will be asked to sit only with the people you have been with in your home during social-distancing. The pew you are used to sitting in may well not be available.
- Since seating is so very limited, you will be asked to register by email or telephone prior to attending. When the 56 slots are full, we will begin a list for the next week’s service.
- Masks will be required for all those attending. The clergy will wear masks except when speaking.
- There will be no Communion served. Worship will be Morning Prayer with Sermon.
- There will be no acolytes, no lay readers, no procession in and out.
- There will be no congregational singing and no choir. A vocalist and our organist will provide music.
- There will be no prayer books or hymnals in the pews. Printed bulletins will be provided. You are encouraged to bring your own prayer books.
- Collection plates will be on stands and will not be passed down the pews.
- There will be no nursery, no Children’s Chapel, no Sunday School, no breakfast.
- There will be no receiving line after the service.
- You will be asked to keep distance between yourselves and other family units before and after worship.
- The church will be thoroughly disinfected following every service.
As you can tell, these restrictions will drastically affect the atmosphere of our worship. Your patience may well be tested and your kindness and cooperation will be necessary and most appreciated. You may well prefer to stay home and watch on-line and that will actually be helpful and is encouraged. Eventually things will be less restricted but these are necessary precautions for our beginning.
Making a reservation to attend is not something we want to impose on you but it will be necessary since our seating is so very limited. To reserve a spot, please email Anne Tippett (email@example.com) or call me on my cell phone (334-312-0347). At least that way, this will all be a little more personal.
I am proud of our congregation for the manner in which we have all handled things so far these past few months. I look forward to these restrictions being eased. And I am grateful for your understanding and help as we take this first step.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.