In the early days of the Covid-19 shut down, we developed a phased re-opening plan. Currently we are in:
Phase 2 for worship—Zoom only with no in-person worship services at this time
Phase 3 for small group meetings—welcome back! Call the office to schedule a space
Don't loose heart - it's tough not to be able to do the things we have taken for granted like gathering together for worship, singing, hugging, and talking to each other. Many of those habits will remain off limits, but plans are underway to update the sanctuary with the necessary lighting, projection and streaming capabilities to enable us to provide quality on-line worship and worship in-person with proper safety protocols in place. Several trial runs will happen in mid-to late October. This forward progress is entirely dependent on the Covid-19 indicators in our area and on the install/training for the new equipment but know that we are going all that we can to safely move forward.
Be assured that the Safe Sanctuary Task Force continues to work diligently planning for the gradual re-opening of the church building at such time as it is deemed safe to do so. We are participating in webinars, consulting with FEMA’s Faith Based Operations group, reading information from multiple sources, and meeting weekly via Zoom. We are consulting with experts in public health and members of the medical community as plans develop.
We will continue to worship and hold committee meetings via Zoom conferencing; however we are slowly beginning to schedule small group meetings in the building. Meetings need to be scheduled with the Office Administrator and groups will be required to adhere to policies realting to disinfecting and social distancing. It is still a good idea to refrain from dropping by to visit staff, and masks must be worn anytime you are in the building. Please sanitize your hands upon entering.
Please begin to mentally prepare for the sweeping changes that are going to be happening inside our walls. Church is going to be very different for the foreseeable future, and there is no question that it is going to be difficult for many of us to adjust without being angry, sad, confused — even heartbroken. We will be asked to let go of rituals and traditions that have been important to us for centuries. Communion, offering, and the sharing of the peace will look radically different or will be missing entirely from worship. Weddings, funerals, baptism, confirmation… how will we honor these rituals while staying safe? What about our worship materials such as bulletins and hymnals? How will we maintain appropriate social distancing inside or even outside our building? It’s a good size building, but it’s not that large.
How annoyed are you feeling as you read this? We know it’s tough. Change is difficult when we want it, but even harder when it’s forced upon us. We do not yet know when we will be able to open safely, and we not going to do so until we have a clear plan in place and have taken all the precautions we can take to keep our members and guests safe.
Major changes are coming to St. Jacob’s. Not one of these changes negatively impacts the true reason for being the Church together. We have an exciting opportunity: it’s a watershed moment during which we will move beyond the familiar and comfortable into uncharted territory. We have seen new people joining us for worship via Zoom – people from other states who have been invited by friends and family after expressing the need to be part of a worship experience. They would have never stumbled on our church before we took worship to Zoom. How can we continue to reach people beyond 1460 State Street?
There is a silver lining to the cloud of Covid-19. We have a blessed opportunity to reinvent ourselves, to be relevant and inclusive, to build relationships that were nearly unimaginable a short time ago. We will come out of this stronger in our faith and in our relationships with one another and with our community as long as we stay focused on that which is truly important to being the Church: sharing God’s amazing love with one another and boldly moving beyond the walls of our building to share God’s love. Members of St. Jacob’s, perhaps you were born for such a time as this… Esther 4:14