Dear Siblings in Christ,
At long last, on Sunday, October 18, in-person worship will resume in our sanctuary. It is very important that everyone who chooses to attend worship in the sanctuary understand what they can expect. At this point, much of it will sound like common sense: the Session has determined that everyone who attends worship must wear a mask at all times. You may enter the building either by the southeast entrance closest to the church library, or by the northwest entrance via the handicapped ramp. Pews have been roped off in such a way as to make physical distancing easier. Hand sanitizer and disposable masks will be provided for those who forget to bring one from home.
We will continue not to have a choir and a smaller number of praise team members than we’re accustomed to having. The praise team will assist us in singing the hymns; and if you feel strongly the need to participate, please limit yourself to humming along or “mumble-singing” quietly. Scientific studies have shown that congregational singing poses a significant risk for transmitting the novel coronavirus. The louder someone sings or speaks, the more “aerosolized” particles they emit, even when wearing a mask. We were less concerned about this kind of spread when we were worshiping outdoors, but the enclosed space of our sanctuary is an altogether different circumstance.
The hymnals and Bibles have been removed from the pews, but everything necessary to participate in worship will be provided via projector. The offering will continue to be received either as you arrive or as you leave worship. When worship ends, the congregation will be dismissed by rows in order to ensure an orderly and sufficiently distanced egress.
We will continue not to offer nursery services or Children’s Church, but, thanks to the efforts of the Board of Trustees, as well as individuals such as Angie and Dan Urban, we do now have a “nursing mothers” room available to those with infants. We have also installed new soap dispensers in the bathrooms and hand sanitizer stations in strategic locations around the church.
We will, of course, continue to facilitate worship via LiveStream and Titan Radio, and encourage those who are particularly at-risk for contracting or suffering the worst effects of COVID-19 to worship remotely rather than in person. Further, if you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, or if you have recently traveled to an area where COVID-19 is prevalent, we implore you to worship with us from the comfort of your home.
As I noted in worship this past Sunday, some have asked about our congregation’s financial situation, concerned that perhaps the pandemic has created a financial crisis. Far from it! Our Treasurer, Kay Taylor, reports that as of September 2020, we have received $11,000 more this year than we had by the same point last year, and our expenses this year have been $15,000 less than last year’s. What an incredible expression of faithfulness on the part of our congregation in the midst of frustrating and anxiety-inducing circumstances! We have so much for which to be thankful.
Yours in Christ’s Service,
Matthew L. Camlin