In-Person & Online Worship Logistics
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD! ” (Psalm 122:1)
We rejoice and praise the Lord that we can again gather together in person, worshiping our sovereign and loving God and “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (Eph. 5:19)! We plan to do so weekly, beginning Sunday, June 14, outdoors behind the Good Hope Presbyterian Church building at 9 AM, weather permitting. We also welcome and encourage you to participate in a simultaneous livestream of that service via Zoom (where Sam will continue to host you, but with worship beginning at 9 AM), if you choose to stay at home, as might be wise to protect the health of yourself or others. Whether you remain at home or come to Good Hope’s backyard, we look forward to all worshiping together as we have done for the last three months, although still in separate locations.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another:
just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Love for one another is the key element as we meet together in person for outdoor worship. It will truly be delightful to be in each other’s physical presence again, and to see that we’re not all just talking heads, but there is likely to be some frustration, too, in outdoor services, especially with additional measures taken to increase the safety of attendees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our motivation for these measures isn’t principally self-protective fear, but loving others by significantly decreasing the likelihood that a presymptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier will infect others. (Even if I don’t mind getting the virus, if I do have or get it, I’ll likely spread it, now or later on. Love seeks not to carry COVID-19.) And we’ll surely adjust our plans for future outdoor worship services and streaming them over Zoom, as we learn from our experiences.
Commitments in Coming
We hope that you can come to the outdoor services. If you choose to do so, out of love for one another, you commit to:
- Take the temperature and evaluate any symptoms of each family member that morning before coming, staying home if any illness is suspected.
- Bring and wear face masks or other effective face coverings (except for children under age two; parents should make reasonable efforts to help children ages two to nine wear masks). This is especially important when not able to distance well, such as while everyone is arriving before the service and departing afterwards, or if using the restrooms in the building. During the worship service, while in your selected seating area, well distanced from neighbors, you may remove your mask for singing or discomfort.
We recognize that congregational singing is an activity of greater risk, yet it is an essential element of worship. This is a principal reason we’re meeting for outdoor worship: the vast volumes of outdoor air, combined with air movement and extra distancing, quickly dissipate aerosols. Nevertheless, some may wish to be among others who always wear masks; they should sit towards the back and sides of seating areas. If you feel safer still further away, there’s a lot of space, and the speakers are quite audible.
- Seek to maintain six-foot distance from other households when interacting before and after the service.
- Oversee your children, to help them follow these guidelines.
- If later diagnosed with COVID-19, report that to Good Hope (email@example.com), so that the Session may act appropriately (notifying those who attended that someone was diagnosed, and those who were near you of their closer exposure), while keeping your identity confidential (unless you specifically request congregational help or prayer).
Things to Know and Bring
- If forecasts show weather on Sunday during worship probably being inclement, we will cancel the in-person service by Saturday noon (announced via email and goodhopepca.com), reverting only to online worship via Zoom at 9 AM.
- Sunday School is cancelled for June 14 and 21: As we begin meeting for in person worship again, we will need to adjust our Sunday School classes to fit the new schedule. We hope to be able to offer them again soon on a revised schedule.
- Bring your own chairs and/or blankets and set them up on the grass behind the building, with a view of the deck, and at no less than nine feet distance from your neighbors, using flagged locations as a guide. We will place flags at thirteen-foot distances from each other, allowing a flag-centered 4’x4’ square for seating of a group of two adults and a couple of children (probably outside the square, but who sing with much less airflow) with nine-foot distancing to the adjacent groups. Larger families may occupy two such flagged spaces.
- Bring your own preprinted order of worship with hymns (or devices to view them, being mindful of bright sun).
- Take account of weather forecasts and bring hats, beach umbrella (be considerate of neighbors), sunscreen, water, chairs, and blankets/tarps (the grass may be damp from dew), as appropriate.
- For now, we will forgo nursery, the Lord’s Supper, and in-person giving (tithes and offerings may continue to be mailed to Daric or conveyed electronically through the PCA Foundation).
- We will reserve parking spaces on the long side of the gravel parking lot next to the grass for those who wish to remain in cars for greater distancing or effective corralling of young children, and invite reservation requests at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We will reserve a seating area near the driveway circle (under the three trees near and behind the deck; look for caution tape and signs) for those less physically able.
- In general, the building will be open only for restroom use (upstairs, accessed via the Fellowship Hall). Please don’t gather there.
The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God. (Psalm 87:2-3)
We look forward to seeing many of you in person at worship each Sunday, and many others via the Zoom meeting.
The Session of Good Hope Presbyterian Church