Congregational Update for Resuming Services

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

I write to you with good news after a discussion with our president (Russell) and elders (Eric and Bob) regarding the guidelines provided on April 30th by Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and coinciding with what the Three Rivers Public Health Department has also recently released. While the pandemic has not ended, we are now able to resume weekly, in-person services. Since social distancing guidelines are still in place, we will be adding to our normal Sunday-morning service to allow for required spacing between households. Starting Saturday, May 9th, we will have three weekly services:

  • Saturday @ 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday @ 10:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday @ 7:00 p.m.

The two additional services (Saturday and Wednesday) will stem from Sunday’s Propers of the Day (assigned Scripture readings, etc.), which means the service will be identical for all three services, including my sermons. Also, since some will still be unable to attend, the Sunday morning service will be recorded and available online later that day.

With that said, if you are at all experiencing any common-cold or flu-like symptoms, especially those symptoms that are similar to those of COVID-19 (fever, exhuastion, dry cough, and/or shortness of breath / difficulty breathing), please, for the sake of your neighbor, stay home.

Note: there will be no Sunday School for children or adults until further notice. For now, I intend for the weekly Deeper in the Word recording (available on our website each week) to replace Sunday morning Bible Study.

Sign Up for the Service You Want to Attend

The most important thing about beginning multiple services for the sake of maintaining healthy social distancing guidelines is that you will need to sign up for a service. In order to comply with the guidelines, we have pushed pews together so that you will have to sit two-and-a-half rows behind or in front of another household. This means, however, that there is only room for 14 households, with 7 households on either side of the middle aisle. (Technically we may be able to fit two persons of different households at separate ends of the same pew, so if the sign-up list is full for a service, please contact me to see if that kind of adjustment can be made.)

  1. Visit our sign-up page on SignUpGenius.com and follow the instructions there;
  2. Or call the church office at (402) 443-4450 and I will get you signed up.

    ** Please be sure to show up at the service you sign up for so that we can adhere to social distancing guidelines. **

What You Can Expect at Any of These Services…

Parking

We suggest parking in front and entering only through front (East) doors. It is fine if you would like to park in the back lot, however, we ask that you would still only enter and exit through the front (East) doors. (That way, you’ll get your steps in, too!)

  • If the weather is nice, the doors will be propped open to help avoid touching handles.
  • If the weather is not-so-nice, an usher will be outside to open the door for you.

Offering

The offering plate will be located at the entrance for you to drop yours in. Remember, online giving is now an option, if you would prefer. (Visit our website and click on Online Giving in the main menu.)

In the Pews

Find a pew that works for you and your household. Pews have been spaced per social distancing guidelines, so please do not try to move them around.

You will find three of each of the following already in each pew: a bulletin, the Congregation at Prayer, and a communion card. If you need more for your household, they will be available as you enter.

Communion

You will be ushered up one household at a time. (If one family unit is only one person, then only that one person will be going up for communion at that time.) After you commune, you will return to your seat.

I will set each table per household.

  1. As you approach, you will find a small table in place of the wheelchair ramp at the base of the chancel. Please use the hand sanitizer available and remain 6-feet away from the table until I give you the OK to approach. (Children may approach as well for a blessing as usual, though I will remain six feet away.)
  2. With gloves on, I will set the necessary amount of consecrated individual cups and hosts and let you know when you may approach.
    • If you do not already, I encourage you to use that waiting time to examine yourself according to the Ten Commandments and to pray in preparation to receive the blessed Sacrament of our Lord’s body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins.
  3. Once your household has consumed the elements, please place your empty glass cup(s) in the available tray on your way back to your pew.

We are suspending the use of the common cup for the time being, per the DHHS specification.

Once the Service Has Ended

You will be ushered out as usual. I will not be walking back to the entrance and therefore will not be greeting anyone individually after the service. (If you would like to speak with me after the service, let the usher know, and he will continue ushering out the next household as you remain in your pew. As others leave, I will then be able to approach you.)

Miscellaneous Notes

  • There will be no acolytes until further notice.
  • Restroom use: please practice social distancing when going to and from the restrooms, which means being aware and allowing one person at a time to go up or down the stairs. Because of this, parents may need to assist their children who normally would go to and from the restroom by themselves.
  • Women’s Bible Study may resume in the basement, seated far apart according to the new layout of tables already set up.
  • Matins (Mon-Thu) at church will continue May 11th and will be recorded. These recordings will replace the daily-devotion recordings I have been posting since we suspended services.
  • Additionally, if you are unable to make any one of the services on a given week, but would still like communion, please contact me to schedule private communion. I am willing even to come to your home, though I would do so with a mask, gloves, etc.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions/comments/concerns. I look forward to being gathered again with you soon in the name of our risen Redeemer.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Zachary Courie
Office: (402) 443-4450

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