I’d like to share with you important information about Peace’s plans for a limited reopen. But before I do, I would like to share the thoughts and sentiments church leaders are hearing these days about reopen plans:
- “You can’t open the church building yet. It is a huge health risk! You are wrong if you do!”
- “We need to open the church building! I need to be there and see everyone. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!”
- “My family is going to stay home for awhile before coming back. Sorry can’t be there.”
- “Here are the 25 things you need to do if you want to meet in your building again.”
- “It is all a big hoax! A conspiracy! A media frenzy! Read this article and website! This link. Don’t be afraid!”
I’d like to share a few observations about these sentiments. Each comment has a kernel of truth. Each comment has merit in its argument. Each comment expresses deep conviction and sincere belief. However, each comment doesn’t speak for everyone in the church. As I’ve thought, studied and prayed about Peace’s limited reopen plan, I’ve come to the realization that there is no such thing as the perfect reopen plan that will please everyone. What we can do as we consider a reopen plan, however, is to make sure that our decisions are guided by love. Why love? Jesus said so. Jesus said on the very night before He would go to the cross, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you (John 15:12-14).” To me it is clear and simple. Sacrificial love should guide all the decisions a Christian makes—whether during a pandemic or not.
I am pleased with the Peace’s limited reopen planning. The original plan was refined and improved by the elders. Once the elders made their adjustments, the Peace Council gave input and then approved the plan. Take a moment to review the reopen plan on page 3 of this newsletter. If you have questions or need clarification, please ask one of our leaders. I am truly thankful for the shared decision making that was a part of the process.
Here are the main points of emphasis from the plan—notice the emphasis on love.
- Safety matters because this is a way to show sacrificial love to one another. Peace has assembled a Hygiene Team to begin carefully planning what in-person worship and gatherings might look like. Gatherings and in-person worship will only occur once Benton County has been approved for Phase 2 and the Hygiene Team is ready to implement their plan (see the specifics of the Hygiene Team plan on pages 5 & 6).
- Online worship continues as a way to show love to those who might continue to stay home even once we begin in-person worship. The Peace Council has made decisions to purchase equipment that will ensure that our online worship continues. Keep worshiping with us by going to our website at www.peaceinphilomath.com.
- A “Drive-In” Communion service on Sunday, June 7 at 11:00 am will be offered as a way to receive God’s love. Take a look at Vicar Dollar’s article in this newsletter on page 4 about this opportunity. And be on the look-out for more information and direction for this special service.
It is important to be thinking about a limited reopen plan. But I would also like for all of us to consider one important spiritual question. What have you learned about yourself and/or God during this time?
I’d be curious to hear from you what you have learned too. I’m available and would enjoy hearing what you’ve learned!
Thoughts from the Vicar
June 7th – Communion Service
There have been many things I have missed since things have closed down because of the Covid-19 pandemic: handshakes, after-church fellowship, home visits. I’ve missed gathering together with everyone here at Church, and even simple things like social distancing has made life feel a little bit more “disconnected.” That is why I am very happy to tell you about an upcoming worship opportunity here at Peace. After several discussions with Leadership Teams – and in accordance with the governor’s recommendations – Peace has decided to move forward with a Drive-By Communion service to be held in the church parking lot.
On Sunday, June 7th at 11:00 A.M., Peace will be offering a short worship service with Communion. Everyone’s safety is of the upmost importance, so this Drive-By service will look a bit different from our normal Communion Sundays. Peace will be using a FM transmitter to carry the service directly to your car radios. That means the entire service will take place outside of the church building, with everyone safely socially-distanced in their own car, but don’t let a windshield stop you from waving to your church family! Additionally, we’ll be using individually packaged and sealed wine and wafers to minimize handling.
This Drive-By Communion service will be a great opportunity for us to connect in a safe way to many people we probably haven’t seen since in-person services were postponed. Communion itself is all about connection: our connection to God and our connection to each other as the people of God. It is absolutely true that God is always with us, even when we are away from church, but there is undoubtably something special about gathering together as God’s people and receiving the gift of His Body and Blood. There is something special about Communion.
These last few months has the been the longest Peace Lutheran has gone without Communion since its founding, but the last few months have been unlike anything Peace has weathered since its founding. Communion has been missed greatly by many of our members, our leadership teams, and also by me, but the safety of our members was our chief concern. That is why, after weeks of discussions and preparations, we feel now is the time we can begin to offer Communion again. That is why I pray that I will see you on Sunday, June 7th as we come back together again to celebrate what Jesus has done for us on the Cross.
From your Hygiene Team
Plan for Limited Reopening of Worship Services
- Worship attendance will be limited in accord with government directives in Phase 2 (100 or less).
- Social distancing must be practiced at all times within the church (minimum of six feet apart except members of the same household).
- Anyone attending worship does so at their own risk. Vulnerable, at-risk and otherwise concerned persons should remain home.
- Anyone who has even the slightest symptoms or feelings of sickness must remain home.
- Online worship will continue to be offered.
Limited Reopening of Worship
- Signing up for worship will be a requirement. A system for RSVPs will be through online signups, email, phone calls and written sign-ups. The person to contact is Callie. Each service has room for 55 RSVPs and 15 seats for those who show up.
- The first and last name of each person who wishes to attend will be gathered so that they can be checked in for the service. In the event of a COVID positive case, those who attended the service can be informed and health workers can be helped with the service information.
- The maximum number allowed (General Principles) will be the limiting factor, this number includes all who are helping with worship as well.
- Ushers will serve as the guides to the social distancing principles and attendance.
- Use of face masks/coverings is REQUIRED. Masks/coverings will be available upon arrival. Kleenex is no longer available in the sanctuary—members will need to bring their own.
- Parking lot (June 7) and open-air worship services are being explored at this time as well.
Temporary Changes to the Worship Service
- Time spent in proximity increases risk of transmission. Services will aim to be about 40 minutes in duration (use simplified versions of the liturgy, use a shorter version of readings when possible, reduction in the time of the sermon, limiting the general prayers).
- There will not be congregational singing. Playing recorded Peace Lutheran choir songs will be explored.
- Announcements will be kept brief.
- No collection is taken during the worship, instead, plates are placed near the entrance and exits (to avoid the plates being passed from person to person).
- All pew cards, pencils, Kleenex boxes and other loose items in the pews are removed.
- Bulletins cannot be reused and will include all the information needed for the service including hymn verses. The bulletin will be placed in the seats for those attending (not passed out).
- Projection will be the main way to participate in the spoken or sung portion of the service.
- There will not be a farewell by the pastor at the door.
- No fellowship time after worship.
Temporary Changes to Holy Communion
- Communion will be offered once in the month—the first Sunday.
- Social distancing must be maintained during the Communion procession. Single file Communion lines only.
- No skin to skin contact while distributing Holy Communion. If contact is made the helper must sanitize immediately.
- Helpers will sanitize their hands before and after helping.
- Individual cups will be spaced to avoid any contact with other cups when receiving.
- The common cup will not be used.
- Communion vessels will be cleaned and sanitized after each use and individual cups will be disposed of properly.
- The Body of Christ will be distributed as usual except that no contact will be made with those receiving.
Temporary Changes to the Sanctuary
- The church will be limited to the maximum allowed by the state. The ushers must ensure that this number is maintained.
- Hand Sanitizer solution will be offered in every pew.
- Doors will be propped open as people enter so there is no need to touch the handles. Windows will be opened.
- Multiple exits will be used to expedite departure with propped doors. In all cases, social distancing will be observed.
- After every service common use areas will be sanitized (pews, restrooms, door handles, light switches, etc.) Two services will be offered. One on Saturday night at 5:30 pm and one on Sunday morning at 9:30 am. Cleaning of the church will happen three times a week: Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night.
- The Church building will remain closed during the week. With a few exceptions, the church services are the only times people will be in the building.
- Seating will be restricted to every other pew. Available pews and seating will be clearly marked.
- The narthex will be restricted to only one family. The Ushers will monitor this.
- Signs will be placed on church doors to indicate the worship schedule and provide information to register for attendance.
- Only one person (or family unit) is allowed in a bathroom at a time.
- There will be a table outside the door of the bathroom with sanitizer.
- There will be a table outside the sanctuary with hand sanitizer for those coming and going.
- A temperature monitor will be available for use if there is a concern.
Bazaar Quilt Raffle
The bazaar raffle quilt has been completed and its gorgeous! It comes in queen size with blue and beige tones. A Big thanks to Kay G., Peggy K. And Bill for putting it together. Tickets will be out for purchase at $5.00 each soon. Although the drawing will not be till November 7th, if you would like to purchase tickets now, please let Jani Burton know (contact info is in the directory).
This is an exciting start towards the bazaar happenings; even if having the bazaar is a wait see.
Do you have video camera experience? Do you own editing software, such as Adobe Premier Pro, Final Cut Pro, or DaVinci Resolve?
We need more video camera operators and production editors to help produce the weekly sermons here at Peace. Would you like to learn how? If interested, please contact Aaron Bentsen at 541-891-3674 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What habit, activity, craft, hobby or interest have you started that you would like to continue after “shelter in place” is over?
- Zooming with my family on Friday evenings – dinner time in Corvallis, breakfast in Malaysia.
- Lindy Young
- Taking naps and doing puzzles.
- Rick Durling
- Walking 2.3 to 3.2 miles four to five times per week.
- Elaine Schwartz
- Circuit training four to five times a week, a hike once a week, 30 to 40 minute walk once per day, healthy eating, and Positive influences.
- Callie Santora