Indoor Worship Resumes Sunday, July 11
Dear People of Good Shepherd,
Alleluia, Alleluia! I give great thanks for the waning of the virus such that we are now able, with the bishop’s permission, to resume indoor worship with very few restrictions. Your task force for a safe return to in-person worship has worked long and hard since May of 2020 to navigate the changing requirements and restrictions. They are: Ed Moore, Butch Glosson, Richard Taylor, Joyce Brightman, John Bacher, Judi Greer, Linda Rush, Linda Brown, and Mae Kramer. The task force met on Wednesday, June 23 and decided that our first indoor service will be Sunday July 11th. We are changing the worship times that Sunday to 9:30 indoor Eucharist and 11:30 Morning Prayer on Zoom. We still have parishioners who are not able or who do not feel safe meeting in person, and we intend to continue an online service in some form, even when we go back to our regular two indoor services some time in the future.
During this last year and three months, we have worshiped together mostly on Zoom, with a mix of our previous 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. folks joining. We have rotated between Morning Prayer and Ante-Communion and Rites I and II. Until we go back to two in-person services we will continue to rotate between Rite I and Rite II at the in-person service.
Our wonderful musician, Jean Will, retired last year, as you may remember. We currently have no organist and no money in the budget for an organist. I trust that the parish will come together and find a way for us to include music again in our worship! This will require money that is not in our budget for 2021.
When we come back together indoors, we need to follow these rules. Unvaccinated people need to wear a mask and are asked not to sing. Fully vaccinated people can worship without a mask if they wish, and may also sing! There are no longer distancing requirements. Parishioners who are vaccinated may sit anywhere in the Nave. If you are not vaccinated, please stay six feet apart from others and keep your mask on.
Please also remember that we are at all different levels of comfort around personal space. Please do not shake hands or hug or come really close to another unless you ask the person whether they feel comfortable with that. We need to respect our differing levels of comfort, without judging each other. So at the peace, I suggest bowing to each other, or offering an “elbow bump”. Those who feel comfortable with more contact can move out into the aisles for hugs.
If you borrowed a prayer book and/or hymnal for home use during the pandemic, please bring it back with you to the first in person service you attend. We need them back in the pews!
Finally, communion will be given in this manner, which is approved by the bishop. I (the priest) will intinct the wafer into the cup and place it in your hands.
I look forward with joy to seeing many of you in person for the first time, and to our first eucharist back in the Nave. Thanks be to God!