St. Paul’s Re-Entry Updates
March 22, 2021 Re-Entry Update Details
Indoor Small Groups
Beginning Monday, March 29 we will welcome in-person indoor small groups and meetings in addition to the outdoor options we already announced (see announcement below from March 5 ). We are excited to welcome you back to the space! Groups are limited to 15 and will be masked and distanced regardless of vaccination status due to the public nature of our building. You can contact Jackson in the office beginning Wednesday, March 24 for the detailed guidelines, rooms available with proper ventilation and space, and forms for your group’s gatherings.
Outdoor In-Person Worship!!!!
We are THRILLED to announce that beginning Sunday, April 25 we will return to in-person worship beginning outdoors. We have missed you all so much and can’t wait to see you again. We know that not everyone will feel ready to return, and rest assured that there will still be online options for your worship. The worship schedule will return to pre-pandemic times and styles, with a couple of changes:
- 8:15am – Traditional Worship Online Only
- 9:30am – Contemporary Worship Outside Only
- 11:00am – Traditional Worship Outside Only
- 5:00pm – Contemporary Worship Online Only
Outdoor worship will be in the lower parking lot by what we call “the bridge” (the pretty wooden wing of the church, pictured above). We’ll invite you to bring your own chair. We will require masks so that we can gather and sing together safely. You’ll be able to print your bulletin before service or scan a code to follow along on your phone. In case of inclement weather, we’ll be sure to notify everyone in a timely manner that we will be online-only. If severe weather happens unexpectedly, we will take shelter inside.
Outdoor worship will not be forever, but it will be an excellent way to gather as safely as we can with as many people as we can. We can spread out more outdoors and not limit the numbers, whereas returning to the sanctuary first would limit us. Evaluating our air exchange and average capacity % inside helps us know that outside is the best way to return right now in order to welcome the most people. We anticipate returning to in-person indoor worship at a later date as numbers continue to drop and vaccinations continue to increase.
Between Now and Then
- As we gear up for this launch, you will see a few more folks online for in-person worship. Some of our church leaders will be with us as our pastors and staff transition back into in-person mode.
- We’d invite you to pray for our church as we come out of a year of pandemic distancing. We know that some folks are incredibly eager and others will want to wait longer. Pray that God will guide and meet us all where we are in those decisions.
- You can volunteer to serve on the Technical Arts Volunteer team for setup or livestream serve opportunities with David Brown, Technical Arts Director.
- You can volunteer to serve as a greeter or parking attendant with Pam Draper, Connections Ministry Coordinator.
Return Re: Church Gatherings
Our pastors and staff know that coming back to church is a big thing. We want to welcome you back to this holy ground and spend some time together. Beginning Tuesday, April 13, there will be small gatherings on the grounds to spend time in conversation and reflection over the past year, and then to welcome you into the building for time with God. We want you to pray over the building and let your footsteps and presence rededicate our space to God. We have been doing church beyond the walls for a year and love how God has sustained us in that time. This will be a chance to pray, reflect, light a candle, spread out, see some memories of what has been over the last year, and offer our trust in God for what the future will bring. In the coming weeks, you’ll have a chance to sign up for these gatherings hosted by 2-3 pastors and staff each time. We will start outside and distanced, taking our masks off for conversation while seated. Then inside will be masked and distanced with groups of no more than 15 total.
March 5, 2021 Re-entry Update
Re-Entry Team has exciting news! With the COVID-19 numbers down and vaccinations continuing to progress, we are actively working on what gathering will look like again. Masks and distancing will continue to be the standard for all of our gatherings. While we don’t have the dates for when we can expect everything to return like normal, we want to help paint a picture of how gathering will progress as we come back together.
Outdoor Small Groups and Meetings
We are now able to have small groups and meetings (limit 15) meet outside again. With the nicer weather (it’s not -15 degrees anymore!), we encourage groups who choose to do so to bring their chairs and gather outside. For COVID protocol and scheduling, contact the church office.
Indoor Small Groups and Meetings
We anticipate indoor small groups and meetings (limit 15) to be able to return soon. Re-Entry Team meets again on 3/21 to make sure the numbers are continuing to look favorable and to assess the local guidelines at the time.
Outdoor Worship and Serve Opportunities
After a YEAR of not worshiping together in-person, we are looking forward to the chance to be together again. Re-Entry Team is continuing to monitor numbers and the staff are working on logistics (like weather, sound, and spacing) to be able to offer in-person, outdoor worship in late spring! We know some of you CAN’T WAIT to be there and others of you will continue to worship online. We are working so that both our in-person and online experiences will be excellent. Stay tuned for a start date!
We are still not ready to bring back our indoor worship experience. We know that many folks are getting vaccines and are ready to start again. We continue to ask questions about who has yet to receive vaccines? How do our children factor into our decisions? What is in line with local and state guidelines? The intimate size of our sanctuary for the size of congregation we are is SUCH a gift in non-pandemic times! It poses some difficulty for us compared to many of our area churches for safety in large numbers. We’ll get there! It will start with smaller numbers and work our way up.
Bonus: Easter Sunrise Service
While we won’t be ready for regular Sunday services yet, we are excited to announce that we WILL have an outdoor, distanced, masked Easter Sunrise Service behind the church on our grounds. It will be simple and short—start in the dark and bring in the light of Easter together. We anticipate many folks will still choose to stay home and know that online Easter worship at 9am and 11am will still be fantastic. However, we also know that many of you will be excited to gather—even briefly—to welcome the sun and new life together. More will be coming!
Over the Rainbow
We trust that God (partnered with science and vaccinations and everyone doing their part to get us there!) will lead us to a day on the other side of this. Then we will anticipate getting to see each other’s faces without masks, singing freely inside, hugs and handshakes, and Holy Communion like we are used to doing. What we know is that God has already helped us through a whole year of making it through—we have just a little bit more work to do to get to make it over the rainbow.