Dear St. John’s Church Family and Friends,
A lot has changed since our last in-person worship gathering on March 15, 2020. These are very unusual times. The leaders at St. John’s have been working very diligently during these many weeks determining what procedures and steps to take for when we resume in-person worship. The Council has been and will continue to meet two times each month. The Worship and Music Committee has met numerous times to discuss the latest information, the guidelines of the Southeast Michigan Synod’s Church Safe Opening Plan, the State of Michigan Safe Start Plan and the CDC’s guidelines. They presented their findings to the Council for approval. The Council asked many questions before approving the attached document.
The Council discussed in great detail when to resume in-person worship. The Council has voted to follow the Bishop’s recommendation to gather for worship only after the State of Michigan has been placed into Phase 5. In order to properly prepare we then decided that we would resume in-person worship the second Sunday after being placed in Phase 5.
We are attaching the 'St. John's In-Person Worship Plan During the COVID-19 Health Crisis' document so you can read it in its entirety. We will highlight the most important changes below:
The Church Council voted that everyone over the age of two will be required to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer upon entering the buildings. Social distancing of 6’ will be required wherever possible. With the required social distancing we can fit about 28 people in the church. Since the number in attendance at the 8:00 am service falls into this category this is the service that will be held in the church. The 10:15 am service will be held in the Fellowship Hall as it seats 48 people. After each service the door handles, light switches and bathrooms will be sanitized and then the doors will be locked.
For those persons not ready to gather in person, and for the continued benefit of our homebound, the 8:00 am service will be live streamed on FaceBook. Later it can also be found on our YouTube page.
The front entrance to the Fellowship Hall will be locked. The side door by the kitchen will be used to enter and exit the building. Sadly, there will be no live singing by anyone. Studies show that when we sing we can project droplets up to 20’ away. Prerecorded music will be used when there is music included in the services. Church will look and feel very different.
When entering the buildings for worship you will be greeted by our usher team. They will make certain you are wearing a mask (we will have a very limited supply should you forget yours or for our visitors), your hands will be sanitized, and you will pick up your prepackaged communion host. (We will only be receiving the host for communion, no wine or juice and we will remain seated.) As we won’t be passing the offering plate during the service, a plate will be available at the door before and after the service. In addition, an usher will be checking everyone in and verifying that we have a current phone number for you. Should someone test positive for COVID, we are required to contact everyone in that service to inform them as well as the Health Department. Also, there will not be any bulletins provided. We will continue to email out the order of service, just as we have been doing.
All of these changes have been made to follow the above mentioned guidelines to the very best of our ability. Please know that we have very carefully put this plan in place for your protection. Please base your decision on when to return for in-person worship on what is the safest for your personal situation.
As always, we are here to serve you. If you have any questions or concerns please contact a Council Member.
St. John’s Church Council