It’s been five months since the disease we now know as COVID-19 began to spread rapidly throughout the United States and throughout the world. At that time, in early March, we didn’t know much about it. We didn’t know exactly how deadly it was, how transmissible, how exactly it spread, and how to treat it. Because of the tireless hard work of doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, and others, we now know much more about this disease and how we can respond to it. This is a real virus. It really is causing harm and death to some who contract it. But we also know better how to treat it, and it is widespread enough at this point that it is unlikely to disappear. It joins a host of other viruses like influenza that returns to infect and yes, kill, a portion of the population every year.
In the three months we’ve returned to worship in our sanctuary, we’ve also seen an increase in the number of people wanting to return to regular worship in God’s House. This is a good thing. There is nothing more important and no better place to be than in the place where the Lord serves us with His Holy Word and precious Sacraments.
Changes are also in order because Zion has only one pastor for the time being. This is likely to be the reality for a year or more. While I am going to strive to serve you in every possible way, the reality is that with only one pastor some expectations will have to change. The elders have spent many hours considering various options and concerns, and have decided to make some changes for our worship services going forward. At this point, no plan is ever permanent. We will continue to evaluate and make changes as necessary.
- Beginning September 6, we will have two worship services – Sunday 8am and 10:30am.
- The 8am service WILL require you to sign-up online or through the office beforehand. Every other pew will be unavailable for seating, as we have been doing. The 8am service will now be the service that is livestreamed. If you would like to watch the service at a later time, go to our YouTube channel and you will be able to find it and watch it at any time after 8am.
- The 10:30am service will NOT require you to sign-up beforehand. EVERY pew will be available, and seating will be at your own discretion.
- At both services, we will continue to refrain from handshaking and passing the offering plates. We will keep doing continuous communion for now. The service will still be fully printed in the bulletin. Masks are optional.
- There will no longer be a Wednesday evening service. While we would like to continue to offer this service, with only one pastor it will be impossible to continue with confirmation and midweek classes starting in September. Because of the vacancy, we are not resuming Saturday evening services currently.
- Starting on September 6, we would ask everyone attending to fill out an attendance card again. While we understand that not every member is yet able to attend, we want to continue to reach out to our members who are not in worship and continue to support and serve them. You can place these in the offering plates before or after worship, or else the ushers will collect them when you come up for communion.
- Sunday School and adult Bible class will resume on September 13. If you are able, please join us for Bible study in the Fellowship Hall!
Lastly, please reach out to me if you have questions or concerns. Please continue to keep our church and community in prayer!