It is with hope that the Emmaus Church Council has decided to move forward into the next phase of our sanctuary re-entry plan for corporate worship on Sunday mornings. While this phase will feel different than normal in many ways, we are excited to offer in-person worship services once again.
Throughout our phased re-entry plan, the live-stream and recorded services will continue to be offered. We affirm that in-person worship does not work for everyone right now, and we are committed to maintaining the same level of quality to our online experiences. We firmly believe that those who gather with us online are full participants in our corporate worship together. True worship is in spirit and in truth. It is not about where worship occurs (John 4:20-26). Live stream and recorded services are here to stay.
While we are filled with excitement, we must also take great care as we gather into the sanctuary once again. This phase of our sanctuary re-entry plan includes the following:
- One 10am service will be offered for in-person worship: October 18, October 25, November 1 and November 8.
- The number of people in the sanctuary during these four weeks will be limited to 70 participants. This number includes staff and volunteers.
- Individuals/families are invited to sign up for up to two of these services. Sign up sheets can be found here Sanctuary Worship Sign-up
- Participants are asked to wear masks for the duration of the service and while in the building. Exceptions will be made for young children, those medically unable, and when taking communion.
- Participants are asked not to bring food or beverages into the building.
- Participants are asked to honor social distancing and to maintain a 6-foot distance with those not in your household. We will abstain from hugging or other touching.
- Offering plates will not be passed. Offering baskets will be provided in selected locations, but participants are encouraged to give online.
- Music will remain an important part of our worship, but we are evaluating different options to mitigate risks posed by singing during services.
- Hand sanitizer will be available at multiple points and we encourage its use when entering and leaving the sanctuary.
- Volunteers and signage will provide information regarding traffic flow, seating, restroom usage and building restrictions. Restrooms will be available one person at a time.
- Parents of young children are encouraged to consider whether their young one(s) will find these limitations manageable. We love our little ones and want them to find worship life-giving even as we need to take care due to the pandemic.
- Communion will be offered on November 1st AND November 8th. If these two dates are your top choices, please allow one week before signing up for both of them as we want to allow as many people to participate in in-person communion as we are able.
- Communion will be taken in our seats with elements provided in prepackaged cups distributed as people enter the building (wafers include gluten and the juice includes artificial sweeteners.). Further instructions will be given during these services.
- Unfortunately, this phase of our re-entry plan does not include in-person Sunday school options, gathering in the bistro area or offering coffee to our guests.
Council will evaluate this phase of our re-entry plan in late October and early November. We will assess how to proceed with corporate worship beyond November 8th at that time.
This plan has obvious differences from what we are accustomed to on Sunday mornings together. But our God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow and our worship will be just as sweet. So we greatly appreciate your grace and patience as we continue to walk through these challenging times together. By the grace of our loving Savior, we will continue to glorify God and live in His love no matter what might come.
With the peace and grace of Jesus,
Pastor Abe and the Emmaus Church Council