Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Communion Sunday
From Pastor Pat Kriss
“Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.” ---Thomas Merton
We have some good news and a challenge for all of you this week. Our Church Council has decided that, since we’ve been working hard to create a safe environment to bring people back to worship in the Sanctuary, we will be ready by Sunday, September 13, to gather again inside the Church building. I am creating a list of guidelines of what to expect when you and your family return to the Sanctuary that will be sent separately from this week’s bulletin.
The upcoming Sunday (September 6) service will still be completely online via Zoom and Facebook Live. But the Sunday after this we will be back in the Sanctuary. We have been using the guidelines furnished to us by the United Church of Christ to make the safest possible church environment for you to return. However, I think we all know that reconvening is not without risk of coming in contact with someone who may be carrying the virus. As Pastor, I am acutely aware of my responsibility to keep “our flock” safe. And those who are still uneasy will be able to continue to worship with us live via Facebook Live, indefinitely.
For now and until there is a vaccine, I believe at this time we have created the best possible situation for us all. However, I will underscore that, at any time there is a major spike in cases in Danbury this fall, or if anyone among our congregation becomes ill with the virus, we will return fully to online worship only.
So what is the challenge I have for you these next two weeks and beyond? I ask you to read and really absorb the quote above about what compassion really is as it relates to your fellow church members. What it means when we return is that for compassion’s sake we will be offering up small portions of our usual Sanctuary “liberties” in order to provide safety to our church family. These are a few highlights of what we will expect when we return on September 13:
What to Expect When You Return to Church on September 13
- Masks will be required of everyone while in the church building. (Soloists and speakers will be able to remove theirs while presenting.) We will provide masks if you forgot to bring yours.
- Provide your name to the deacons when you enter the church.
- Your temperature will be taken by the deacons.
- Please use hand sanitizer before you enter the sanctuary.
- The deacons will seat you at a specific location in the Sanctuary.The seating plan is designed to provide safe “social distancing” from your fellow worshipers.
- Children should stay with their parents in their pew for the first few weeks.(No running around, please.) Church school is scheduled to open in Annie Orr Hall at the beginning of October. Annie Orr Hall will be used exclusively for church school. We think that Bible Magic may be in this space, too.
- Coffee Hour is suspended for the immediate future.
- "Sing in your hearts," not out loud. All hymns will be sung out loud by our soloists and musicians. Experience in churches shows that the virus spreads more vigorously when groups of people sing.
- Modified Communion: The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated, but in a modified manner.
- Modified Collections: We will not pass the collection plates, but we will place a plate for donations in the main aisle. Please place your doantions in this plate as you enter or leave the service.
- Exiting the building: At the conclusion of the service, please exit the building in the order you are directed to use.
- Socialize only outside the building, while maintaining safe distances from each other. We cannot linger in the building because it must be cleaned and sanitized after we leave.
- Read the posted signs and adhere to the safety directions.
- The service will be livestreamed from the sanctuary. If you are not feeling well, or if you prefer to stay home, you may view our services on Facebook live at www.Facebook.com/DanburyChurch/videos/. You may view our services in real time, or you may watch a replay at a time more suited to your convenience.
We will share more information in the coming weeks. For now, this is a preview of “how Church will be done” in this age of pandemic. Thank you for your flexibility and, above all, compassion for your fellow church members as well as the volunteers and staff who have worked hard to reopen our doors. --- Pastor Pat Kriss