Safe Sanctuary Information
Be assured that the Safe Sanctuary Task Force, as instructed by council, is working diligently to develop a plan 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 the church building remains closed until further notice. Allowances are made for members dropping off masks and items for our collection drives just inside the delivery door. Wear a mask anytime you are in the building and sanitize your hands upon entering. Do not go beyond the table in the hallway or stop in to visit staff. Michelle continues to work at the church, but her office is off limits. As of May 1st, she has been directed to keep her office doors locked. Please do not put her in a position where she has to open her door for you, put on her mask, then spend time disinfecting her office. Her health and safety—and yours—are of primary importance. All staff is available by phone, email or Zoom meeting.
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