Dear friends in Christ –
Thank you so much for supporting the first in-person worship service on Sunday, June 21, and for continuing to be present to the streaming services on Sunday morning. This season of adapting worship so that best safety practices are in place has been a challenging one. We changed the structure for these first in-person worship services in an attempt to make the service worshipful for those in attendance, while also adhering to our safety guidelines. We know that many of you, especially those who are attending virtual worship, missed the music and singing you’ve gotten accustomed to in the last few months. While we welcome your feedback, please give us grace as we explore the best ways to serve the congregation and continue our ministry.
On Sunday, June 28, we will have only our virtual service at 9 a.m. In the month of July, we will resume in-person worship for those who wish to gather, using our live-streaming style at 9 a.m. We hope this will offer the best of both worlds, meeting the spiritual needs of our church family and extended congregation. On July 12, we will have Holy Communion at this 9 a.m. worship, both in the sanctuary and at home.
If you choose to physically attend worship, you won’t be able to sing along with the musical offerings just yet, but you will be able to be present in the sanctuary and reflect and enjoy the music. As you enter the church, we will take “attendance” so that we can notify you if someone in the congregation tests positive for COVID-19. Please be considerate of others by wearing your mask at all times, and practice social distancing.
Toward the end of July, we will evaluate and make some decisions about how to proceed for the month of August. Please, please continue to keep St. Mark and all churches in your prayer as we move ahead in uncharted territory. Thanks so much for remaining faithful in your financial support of the mission and ministry, for continuing to reach out to one another, especially to those who may not have internet access.
Peace to you!
Pastor Beth Giller and the Responsible Reopening Team (Barb Brossia, Kim Fletcher, Mark Padley, Brad
Isbell, Carol Kinsel, Beth Rokicki, Tom Ritter)
Dear St. Mark Family:
I hope you are all hanging in there during this time of national unrest. It has been a difficult few months, and prayer and connection has never seemed so important!
On Sunday, June 21, we will try “in-person” worship for the first time since March. Services will be at 8:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Here is what you can expect:
Before you arrive, please use the restroom and wash your hands thoroughly. Restroom use will be limited to emergencies. Hand sanitizer stations will be available.
Please arrive early. When you arrive at church, you will be “checked in” at a table in the lobby. This is to be sure that we can inform everyone if someone at worship tests positive for COVID-19, per the Lucas County Health Department. Your temperature will be taken with a contact-less thermometer.
Bring your own mask. Everyone is required to wear a mask except for children 3 and under. We will have a few disposable masks available. If you are not able to wear a mask because of a medical reason, please share that as you enter the building.
Wait to be seated. As you enter the sanctuary, an usher will escort you to the next available seat. If you are with other people who live in your home, you may be seated together. The pews have been marked off to maintain appropriate physical distance. After the service, you will be dismissed pew by pew to minimize people walking too closely to each other.
During worship itself, you will be asked to practice “silent worship.” Even with masks, singing and group speaking is one of the most focused ways of spreading the virus. The service may look and feel quite different.
Please don’t gather to chat. If you’d like to catch up with friends, please do so outside and maintain the 6-foot distance.
The sanctuary will be warm. As we all know, St. Mark is hot in the summer anyway! Because fans simply blow aerosols around, we will not be able to use them. Please refrain from fanning yourself as well.
Whew! That is a lot of information, and after worship on June 21, we will NOT meet for in-person worship on June 28 so that the Responsible Reopening team can evaluate, seek your feedback, and make future plans, which may or may not involve gathering in person. Worship services will continue to be streamed every Sunday for the foreseeable future on the Facebook Live platform.
This has been a difficult season, and the decisions and actions we take are always with the health and safety of our most vulnerable members in mind. We ask for your continued prayers and encouragement as we navigate the challenging task of keeping everyone safe! God be with you in this time of physical distancing.
Peace in Him,
Pastor Beth Giller and the Responsible Reopening Team (Barb Brossia, Kim Fletcher, Carol Kinsel, Brad Isbell, Beth Rokicki, Tom Ritter)