The time has come.
As was announced a few weeks ago, The Church Council set next Sunday, May 2, as the date for our regathering in person for our Sunday Morning Worship celebrations.
It was felt that, in light of the increasing number of First Parish members and friends who are now vaccinated or will be soon, we could safely and responsibly regather to some extent without sacrificing the live music and other aspects which have made our Virtual Worship so effective and attractive to not just our spiritual community locally, but so many beyond this area who have been participating faithfully.
At the same time, as has been expressed to us by some of you, we fully understand you may not feel comfortable with participating in person yet. That, of course, is a matter for all to decide for themselves. For those who may not be ready, please know that Virtual Worship is here to stay. And not just Worship. We will go forward as a “hybrid” church, making as much of what we do as possible accessible to as many as possible in person and virtually into the future.
More information about regathering in a “hybrid” manner for things like committee meetings and classes will come later.
As for Sunday Worship, the Deacons are hard at work making sure everything is in place for Sunday mornings, including developing a set of protocols which Church Council has approved. Without going into all the minutiae, please note the following procedures for those attending in person starting May 2:
- Church doors will open at 9:40 a.m. for attendees
- Deacons and Volunteers will be there to greet you outside as well as seat you inside
- Contact info for attendees will be taken in the event contact tracing becomes necessary
- Hand sanitizer will be available in the narthex should you wish to use it
- Masks are required for all but the Worship team
- Seating will be socially distanced, with household units being able to sit together or as near to each other as possible depending on available pews
- The front pews will not be available in order to keep appropriate distance from the Worship leaders up front and in the Chancel
- For now, the format for Worship will remain as it has been since last March.
- All those in attendance will have the opportunity to both sing the Opening Hymn and say the Opening Prayer
- Paper Bulletins will be available for you either on your seat or on a table for you to take as you enter the Sanctuary
- There will be no formal Offering, but attendees are invited to place any offering they wish as they leave Worship in a plate which will be placed at the back of the Sanctuary
- For May 2, as well as all Communion Sundays for now, the Deacons have obtained individual Communion packets which will be available as you enter the Sanctuary
- At the conclusion of Worship, Mark will invite attendees to leave, beginning with those in the back of the Sanctuary and working toward those in the front
We greatly look forward to welcoming our folks back to the Sanctuary, while maintaining the quality of our virtual worship for those not yet ready, as well as the many who join us online from outside our community, state, and even country.
Rev. Dr. Mark Boyea, Minister
Bethany Woods, Moderator