St. Paul recognizes that people within the congregation and the broader community have different approaches to risk around COVID. For some, the wearing of masks in church is a matter of personal safety and love toward neighbors. For others, the wearing of masks in church creates a sense of fear that interferes with their sense of worship. For most people, the whole thing is simply confusing (and exhausting), with each day bringing a different sense of risk.
While the Church Council wishes to take a more cautious approach, we recognize that people will have a variety of perspectives. From the beginning of COVID, we have sought as a church to create “multi-platform” opportunities for people to worship: YouTube, phone, in person, outside, podcast, FM transmitter, to name a few! We plan to continue this.
We’ve also been cautious when it comes to Faith Formation (including Sunday School) because of our desire to help keep schools open and avoid potential quarantining of church members.
- Online: We will continue offering online worship. We are considering what it would look like to broadcast all/part of the 10:45 service.
- Outdoor: We will aim to keep 10:45 worship outside until Oct 10 (a holiday weekend). After this, Pastor Matt will continue to provide weekly outdoor worship options open, although they will not necessarily be at St. Paul. We will also provide a way for the service to be heard from the parking lot.
- Indoor with masks required: At the 8:15 service, we will continue to distribute masks to people and ask people directly to wear masks.
- Indoor with masks encouraged: At the 10:45 service, we will designate half of the sanctuary as “masks required” and the other half as “masks highly encouraged.” Ideally, we people will keep their masks on as they are coming from Sunday School. It may take us a week or two to figure out how to work out the logistics of getting people indoors, en masse, into the two sections in the sanctuary. This is okay. We are the church and we will figure this out together.
- We ask that masks be worn for indoor Sunday School, including child pick up from class.
We realize that no one wants to be dealing with this 18 months into the pandemic. We look forward to a time when these protocol is no longer necessary. Until then, we thank you for your patience and understanding as we strive to do something deeply counter-cultural at this time: Find a way to be community with others. We trust that God’s love is big enough to create a boat that has room for all of us.