In-Person Worship Starts Sunday, July 19
We are almost ready to begin some in-person worship again, which we plan to start on Sunday, July 19th. Information from our survey was helpful in that most people indicated they were ready to come back or that they thought they might be ready if they had more information to make their decision. For those who are not ready to return, we will continue with an online worship service, but it may be scaled back somewhat for the rest of the summer. We will, however, need to observe the ‘new normal’ for social gatherings: we will be wearing face coverings/masks and keeping physical distance of 10 feet. Masks will be available for those that forget. This requirement comes to us both from the Bishop’s guidance and the Governor’s recommendations for faith communities.
What will worship look like?
One service at 9:00am — outside
We are going to try outdoor worship starting Sunday, July 19th and gather at Holly Hayward’s property; the Pioneer Wedding Barn @ 21 Sunset Hill Road, Sugar Hill, where there is lots of room to physical distance, plenty of parking, and a fabulous view of the mountains. The church really doesn’t have much outdoor space and the idea of using the parking lot, left much to be desired. Recent science is indicating that the virus is more ‘airborne’ than just droplets, so indoor worship may be even more problematic.
Things to remember:
Please wear your mask coming, during, and going and, if for any other reason, you will be within 10 feet of someone not in your family/”pod”.
There will be no singing since singing is proven to spread droplets a farther distance.
Please bring your own lawn chair.
There are no bathrooms at the site at present, but hope to get a Porta-Potty.
A sun hat or umbrella, sunscreen, bug spray, and/or water bottle might be something to consider.
Bulletins will be on a table to help yourself, as well as the offering plate (it will not be passed).
There will be no coffee hour.
If you plan on coming we ask that you email or call the office to let us know - you can leave a
message on Verna’s voicemail (603.444.3414).
This outdoor worship plan is effective through the end of August.
There will be Holy Communion for the last two Sundays in July; for August the service will be Morning Prayer with either Deacon Paul or Deacon Kathy as I will be on vacation (Deacons do not preside at Communion). We are asking you to bring your own bread (BYOB!) for those two Sundays in July. If you forget, there will be small glass containers with screw off lids with a traditional ‘host’ inside that you can pick up at a table as you arrive. The altar guild will prepare these while masked and gloved, and you will return the empty containers for sterilization and re-use. (We’re trying to avoid disposable plastic bags to care for the environment!) The purpose for this process is because each person/household will hold up their bread at the prayer of consecration for it to be blessed. This avoids others touching your bread and people moving to an altar where physical distancing might be compromised. A chalice of wine will be consecrated, but only one person will partake of this on behalf of all; and, again, the Church has always taught that Communion of either the bread or wine is still considered having fully participated in Communion.
If you feel that you cannot follow these conditions for worship, then it is just not time for you to return. If any of these protocols are broken, the service will be paused until there is compliance. If compliance cannot be observed, the service will be ended. We all need to act responsibly to care for one another---this is our ‘Covid Courtesy’. As hikers know, when you are in a group, you put the slowest person in the lead to ensure you all stay together!
** This is an experiment! We will see how this works and adapt as necessary. **
** Click here for a PDF of this page.
A Way to think about changing circumstances for worship: The Fr. Robert Story
I have told some of you this story, but many years ago when I was first learning about contemplative prayer, I would often take retreats at a small Franciscan monastery. The friar who was the superior was a Polish Franciscan, Fr. Robert Dabrowski, who was imprisoned in Dachau by the Nazis along with 1800 other Roman Catholic priests. He told me that they were not allowed to say mass, so what they did in secret was to nominate someone to say mass for them all. Of course, they all knew it by heart in Latin. When the time came for some free time in the compound, the appointed priest would hold the crust of bread in his pocket and walk around quietly saying mass. All the others would be aware and silently pray with him. It wasn’t what they were used to, but it made them feel good that they were carrying on with worship in the best way they could! I hope that we all will have this same generosity of spirit to rejoice that some of us are carrying on even if we all can’t be there, and even if it doesn’t look and feel the same!