Beloved Church Family,
On behalf of our Session I want to share with you some news about our weekly worship services.
Without a doubt the last several months have presented a most unusual challenge to the worship and work of Christ’s Body. Throughout the pandemic your Session has sought the Lord’s wisdom in making decisions that will ensure our continued worship and faithfulness to our Lord, as well as fostering our health and safety. What has made this most difficult are the ever-changing opinions of our state and national medical authorities on the virus, the way it is transmitted, its effects, the degree of danger it poses, and how it may be stopped. While depending upon our Father’s gracious help, we have attempted to interpret and apply all of this confusing (and frequently contradictory) information the best that we can.
As you know, our first step back to in-person worship services involved the temporary suspension of congregational singing and the observance of the Lord’s Supper. This was done in order to safeguard the health of those present in the services until we could learn more about the virus and its potency.
Recently, in light of additional prayer, study, and discussion, the Session has made the decision to reinstitute congregational singing and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that both are vital to our worship, and that we can do them in a safe manner, provided we observe the necessary precautions and safety measures.
In regard to congregational singing, we believe that we may sing safely while wearing face-coverings. And as for the observance of the Lord’s Supper, the Session believes that we may also safely offer the Sacrament each Lord’s Day at the end of our liturgy. While wearing gloves and masks, the members of the Session will distribute both elements individually to those who desire to participate. Instead of passing the Communion trays among the congregation, worshippers will receive the elements directly from the Session while seated in the pews. Additional instructions will be given each week at the time of observance.
We would also ask that, for the sake of our love for one another, we all wear face-coverings in worship. There are many among us whose health is compromised (or who are in frequent contact with family members who are vulnerable) and are, thus, currently unable to attend worship. By wearing face coverings, we will help alleviate their fears and anxieties about participating in worship with us, and will tangibly display our brotherly affection and Christian unity in a way that will honor and glorify our Lord.
We also want to make it clear that this is not in any way a mandate regarding face-coverings. We are appealing only to love. We in no way want to impede or infringe upon anyone’s freedom of conscience or personal liberty. And yet, we believe that the simple act of covering our faces while engaging in corporate worship will express our tender and Christ-like affection for one another, especially for the medically vulnerable among us.
On Sunday August 2, we will make these changes to our worship. We will continue to keep our Lord’s Day services somewhat shorter than normal, and we will encourage outdoor fellowship both before and after the service.
We also recognize that there are some in our Church family who, because of unique risk factors, have chosen not to attend until the virus threat is substantially diminished. Let me assure you that your Session fully understands this, and you should feel no shame or guilt about this decision. These are, for sure, most unusual times for all of us.
Finally, the Session is currently praying about what our fall will look like in terms of our Sunday School, weekly Bible studies, and other ministries and fellowships. It is our desire to follow our pattern of resuming each of our normal fall ministries after Labor Day. However, a final decision will be made in a few weeks and will be announced to the congregation at that time.
We want to thank you for your kind and encouraging support, your faithful prayers for us and for the Body, and your loving patience as we seek to lead and love you. We are honored to serve you in the Name of our Lord!
We love you all and never cease praying for you!
Mike, on behalf of the Session