|Dear brothers and sisters in Christ – |
Christ is risen – He is risen, indeed. Alleluia
Well, it looks as though the State, the County, and the City have lifted the suspension of worship services for our area. Even though the suspension is lifted, it does not mean that we can go “back to normal.”
There are things that need to be done and preparations that need to be made in order for us to comply with the rules and suggestions of both Federal, State, and Local governments. And there are things which we must do as a congregation that just make good common sense.
Our God is a God of order and to proceed without thought and throwing caution to the wind would go against Him and His Word.
I would think we could go ahead and open for this coming Sunday, Pentecost – don’t forget to wear red! – but there are some things to be done. Here are the protocols for this week and beyond (at least for the foreseeable future.)
FIRST AND FOREMOST – IF YOU ARE FEELING ILL – IF YOU HAVE A COUGH OR A FEVER OR YOU’RE SNEEZING OR HAVING TROUBLE BREATHING…..STAY HOME!
You are a baptized child of God and He will never leave you or forsake you. In-home visits are still away off, but please don’t hesitate to call me or write to me or the church office to let us know how you are doing and for prayer requests.·
Bulletins will be available on the table in the Narthex. There will not be ushers handing them out – so be sure to get one as you enter. Everyone must have his/her own individual bulletin.
There will NOT be communion registration cards. You will register prior to the service (see below).·
People can sit on either side of the sanctuary. Certain pews will be taped off. No one should ignore the tape and enter into a taped pew. Try to avoid sitting at the end of either the side or center aisle.·
People will enter only through the side aisles and depart via the center aisle. People will be ushered out – meaning that they will be dismissed row by row.
There will be no gathering in the Narthex following the service.
We will not greet one another as before with “The Peace of the Lord” or “Amani ya Bwana.”
Any “conversations” should wait until you are outside. ·
Members of the congregation will have to arrive early. The service will begin at 10:00; however, everyone cannot cram into the front doors at once.
There will be marks on the sidewalk outside the main entrance to keep people at 6-foot intervals.
When people arrive, they should wait to enter the Narthex until directed, and then proceed to their seats, which, as stated before, can be on either side in the nave.·
EVERYONE who wants to partake of Holy Communion MUST “register” prior to Sunday. That means a phone call to the church (and leave a message on the answering machine if no one is there) or sending an email to pastor at email@example.com or the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These notifications can be made anytime prior to Midnight, Saturday night. ·
If anyone is inviting/bringing a guest, they either have to talk to pastor (via phone) prior to receiving Holy Communion or they may attend and not partake of HC. (This will apply even if they are a member of another LCMS congregation – the Pastor doesn’t know every member of every LCMS church.)·
It is the responsibility of each member who invites a guest to inform them of the practice of Closed Communion at The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in accordance with the practice of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.·
No offering plates will be passed. There will be a plate in the Narthex for people to place their envelopes AFTER the service.·
The protocol and Pastoral preparation for partaking of HC will be explained prior to the worship service. General guidelines are these: Families may commune together. There will be marks on the floor where people are to stand/kneel for reception of HC. Couples, if they so desire, may stand or kneel next to one another, but all individuals should maintain the proper social distancing space.·
Masks are mandatory. The only time a mask should be removed is for the reception of HC. Please don’t ask for exceptions. This is a requirement of F, S, and L guidelines. If wearing a mask is a problem, then it would probably be best to continue to worship at home.·
Children must remain in their pews in the company of their parents. This is VERY IMPORTANT for the safety of all congregational members, young and old.
This is what I, and your Church Council, have come up with so far. There may be additional things as they come to mind. We will relax these protocols only when it is deemed safe and when it is legal. I didn’t include every detail because some of what we will do will be explained on Sunday morning to those in attendance. These are the minimum for us to open properly.
Please contact me (Pastor) with any questions. email@example.com 559-285-8972
God bless you all; looking forward to seeing many of you on Sunday. If you aren’t able to attend, we will still be posting the bulletins/worship folders and sermons online at https://tgslcms.org
Pastor von Hindenburg