On June 7, we will begin a summer season of outdoor worship, with a 10:30 am outdoor service, every Sunday, weather permitting. We will continue to offer Church Online at 9 am. Note this is a time change from the 10 am time that we have been doing. This schedule change puts us back to a 9 and 10:30 am schedule, for those of you who have been used to this pattern.
We are excited about the opportunity to gather in-person outdoors. We are mindful, however, that we will still not be gathering as we are used to and that we are in a time when our normal has shifted. Here are some things that we are implementing for your and your neighbor’s safety:
Worship will be touchless. That is, there will be no bulletins, sharing of the peace, or passing of offering baskets. We will be able to wave at each other, verbally greet one another, and see each other, but we will not be able to do our usual handshakes, hugs, pats on the back, or even stand close. Keeping that 6-foot social and physical distance from each other will be important to our gathering.This is just our new normal.
Experts have said that singing indoors is one of the riskier things a group can do right now. So, to provide a church experience where you can sing, even as we are outdoors, we will be marking seating areas that are 8-10 feet apart, further than the recommended 6 feet, just to allow for a little more singing and breathing space.
As you are making decisions about whether you will come to WestSide for outdoor worship this summer, here are some other things for you to think about and know:
- Come only if you are healthy. If you have a fever or are coughing or have any of the other symptoms associated with COVID-19, please stay home for you and your neighbor. Find a complete list of symptoms at the Center for Disease Control’s website.
- Come with a commitment to physical distancing, maintaining the recommended 6 foot distance from anyone who is not in your family group.
- Come with your mask. You will not be required to wear it, but you may want it for use in the parking lot, or if you want to have physically distanced conversation with others.
- Come with your own chair or blanket for sitting on the lawn.
- Come with sunscreen, wear a hat, or bring an umbrella or other shade source. Our space is unsheltered; plan accordingly.
- Come with an empty bladder. Our building remains closed to public use. Our services are typically 40-45 minutes long.
- Come with your own coffee, water, snacks, and activity bag. For now, we will be refraining from shared items, including food and beverage.
- Come when the weather allows. If it is raining or bad weather is looming, we will cancel the outdoor service.
Finally, a word about communion. While we know that the sacraments are essential to our faith, we also know that God provides enough to sustain our faith. God’s Word is enough and in these times we have been sustained in faith. God’s Word will continue to sustain us. We are looking into ways by which we can safely distribute and receive communion. When we are comfortable with a process, we will enjoy this sacrament again. In the meantime, we are not without, for God has given and is giving us God’s Word in Christ, and will continue to do so.
So, on Sundays, we will see you at church. Church Online at 9 am, or outdoors on our south lawn at 10:30 am. See you at church!