Greetings to All!
It is time to come out of quarantine or lockdown or whatever colorful name you might have attached to it. We will resume our normal services with all deliberate speed. What does that mean?
This coming Sunday, 10 May 2020, we will open the doors for the 11:00 am service. We will continue to broadcast on Facebook Live as we have over the past several weeks if it is not time for you or your family to return to worship on the premises.
Here’s the thing. You are the screener. It’s not the government or the church leadership. It’s you.
We do ask that if you are sick (any illness not just COVID-19) that you stay at home. That’s just common sense and common courtesy to others. Worship with us online for another week or two.
If you feel that you are in what has generally been labeled as a vulnerable group, you probably want to stay home a little longer, but it is completely up to you. I know that some of you can’t stand to be away any longer, but use the sound mind that God gave you.
Our plan is to open the 11:00 am service for 2 weeks, then open both Sunday School and First Light on 24 May 2020. That means that our doors will once again be open from 9:00 to noon for worship and education. Come as you feel led to come.
We will not have a nursery for the month of May, so if you bring your children, they are either in Sunday School or with you.
We ask you to practice reasonable social distancing at first but don’t expect you to distance yourself from your own family.
When you return, you may notice that we are still in studio set up. That is the pulpit is closer to the altar so that it is easier to broadcast. We want you to worship in spirit and in truth without intruding upon this special time, but we still have many at home who want to worship with us as well.
That also means if you are sitting near the cameras, your conversations are broadcast to whomever is tuned in at that time. Social distancing from the cameras might be in order.
In any case, the sanctuary is a place of reverence. Let us enter it in holy reverence to God even if there are a couple of things that are not quite the same. While we enjoy the fellowship of other believers, let us make a special effort to set this place apart as one of worship.
We look forward to your return but will not judge you in any way if you need a while longer.
Just to clear up one item. Neither the federal government nor the state government closed the church. That might not be true in other states, but here guidelines were issued and your elected church government (the session) decided what measures to take.
Now that it’s time to return to the fullness of on-site worship, it is your session that is making these decisions. Remember that in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, your elders are not only your spiritual leaders, but they are also your elected representatives.
That said, share your concerns with them. Share the things that you thought were beneficial with them. It would be a shame to have gone through these past two months without learning something. Talk with your elders.
One last note—if you are allergic to Lysol or Clorox or other disinfectants, the first couple of Sundays might be a bit overwhelming. We make a quality effort to maintain good standards of cleanliness throughout the year but will turn that up a notch or two for these Sundays in May. We have an abundance of hand sanitizer and plenty of soap by the sinks.
Handshakes and hugs are in your hands. Some people can’t do without a hug for another day. Others are more cautious. Be a bit more perceptive of others' concerns as we greet each other soon.
I look forward to seeing each of you when the time is right for you.