“Opening for Sunday Worship”
My dear MFPC Family and friends, the Session has given its approval for us to come back to worship in our beautiful sanctuary this coming Sunday, June 21st, at 11:00 a.m. Worship will be the only event at church on Sundays, at this time. I wish to give all of us a heads-up: There will be some changes and inconveniences in what has been our typical Sunday morning routine in the past. When it comes to this Coronavirus, no one truly knows what to expect as to how the virus behaves and is transmitted. That being said, our Session wants us to come back to worship, and no one wants anyone to get sick. Some among us are much more vulnerable than others. Some among us are much more careful than others, and well should be. The true mark of a Christian Community is that individual members understand and respect the concerns of others, and we honor those needs of one another. Below are the guidelines approved by the Session for coming back to worship:
Session-Approved Guidelines for Worship
1. All attendees will enter through the north and south doors to the sanctuary. An usher will be posted at each door to assist attendees in maintaining social distancing while waiting to be seated.
2. It is strongly recommended that all adults wear face masks during worship, and all are asked to respect the space of others. Attendees may bring their own or masks will be made available at entrances.
3. It is recommended that children over the age of 2 years wear face masks.
4. Adults who do decide to wear face masks during worship will be seated forward in the sanctuary. Attendees who cannot wear face masks for medical conditions are urged to sit in the balconies. If they are unable to climb the stairs, those without masks shall be seated in the back of the sanctuary.
5. Seats in the sanctuary will be marked to comply with recommended social distancing guidelines.
6. Family groups are expected to sit together.
7. Ushers will direct attendees where to sit in order to maintain prescribed social distancing. Please note that it is likely that attendees will not be seated in their usual seats. One usher will be assigned to each quadrant in the sanctuary to maintain distancing.
8. Nursery will not be provided during worship and there will be no Children’s church. The Time for Young Disciples will be omitted from the service. Children of all ages are welcome to sit with their parents in the sanctuary during worship.
9. Worship music will be provided by the Chancel Trio/Quartet and the organist.
10. Offering plates will be placed at the 2 entrances so that attendees can deposit their offerings upon entering or leaving the sanctuary. Please remember our Faithful Ones.
11. Friendship pads and passing of the peace are temporarily suspended.
12. Hand sanitizer will be available around the church campus and attendees will be encouraged to use hand sanitizer when entering and exiting the sanctuary and/or restrooms.
13. Any attendee who tests positive for COVID-19 after attending worship services should notify the church office so that appropriate responses can be made while striving to maintain the privacy of the individual.
14. As we re-open church activities piece-by-piece, communication with the congregation is vitally important. Activity schedules and notifications will be made through the Stained Glass Gazette, Facebook page, the church website, and through emails concerning evolving guideline changes approved by the Session.
Other guidelines for church gatherings will be reviewed by our MFPC COVID-19 Consultation Committee. This committee makes its recommendations to the Session. The committee will be reviewing matters of resuming congregational singing, when and how to do this safely, as well as opening our Fellowship Hall before our time for worship. We all desire to be able to gather and worship as we have in the past. We must use caution and the Session supports the careful approach. So, I appeal to all to be patient and understanding as we move into this new threatening environment together, an environment we simply do not understand and cannot predict.
In closing, as we negotiate the waters and the rapids of this unknown river we are on, I offer to you the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Church in Ephesus:
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”