Letter from the Pastor

July 10, 2020

Dear Main Street Congregation,

  
Well, it has been a long wait, but our Healthy Church Team has finally worked through the details needed for us to offer in-person worship again. We will have worship in our own sanctuary again on Sunday, July 19 at 10:30 AM.  The guidelines from the Virginia Conference do not allow Sunday School classes to resume at this time.

  
However, there will be a number of changes to do our best to keep everyone who chooses to come safe.  I want to go over those changes so that everyone will know what to expect. Before I address those changes, I want to assure you that we will still be doing online worship the way we have been doing throughout the pandemic.  If you are uncomfortable about attending or if you are not able to follow the requirements for attending, you are encouraged to continue worshipping online.

  
Our entire in-person worship plan will be posted on the church website early next week. If you would like to see all the details, please take some time to read the specifics there. If you cannot access the website but would like to read the entire document, call the church office and we will mail it to you.

  
So, what you need to know before attending worship:

  

  1. You will need to complete our Health Acknowledgement Form by the Thursday before you plan to attend.  The form can be accessed on the website.  Again, if you can’t access the website you can call the church office and we can record your information there. You must complete the information in the form for every member of your family that will be attending. This provides us information if needed for contact tracing as well as ensuring all who register will fit in the limited seating available based on seating only on every other pew and only on the ends of the pew. 

  2. If you have prayer concerns or announcements, please include those in the Return to In-person Worship Form. We will not provide an opportunity for you to lift those up from the pews. 

  3. We will not have hymnals or bulletins in the pews.  All information you will need throughout the service will be on the screens in the front of the sanctuary.  If you have trouble reading the words on that screen, please call the church office and we can email you a large print bulletin and get you a large print hymnal ahead of time. 

  4. Before you leave the house to come to the service, take your temperature.  If it is above 100.4, you may not attend the service. 

  5. Everyone will need to wear a face covering in order to attend the service.  The face covering needs to cover both your mouth and nose. We encourage you to bring a face covering from home but if you forget, we will have some available. Greeters will welcome you to the service and will ensure that everyone has a face covering before entering the building. 

  6. Children are welcome to attend the service with their family, but they too will need to wear a mask. Children can bring items (toys) to help them throughout the service, but they cannot share the toys with children from other families. 

  7. When arriving in the parking lots, please do your best to maintain space from other families. If you arrive at the same time as someone else, take turns getting out of your vehicles to maintain social distancing. 

  8. There will be 3 doors available to enter the church building, the Washington Street entrance, the Narthex entrance and the handicap-friendly side door entrance (Sacristy) off the Main Street parking lot. 

  9. Once you enter the building, please go directly to the Sanctuary.  Most other areas will be closed and marked to remind you not to enter that area.

  10. If you need to use the elevator, please only one family unit at a time.

  11. If you need to use the restroom, the only ones open will be the men’s and women’s rooms on the first floor (same level as the sanctuary) and the handicap accessible restroom on the first floor.

  12. There will be signage throughout the building to remind you of social distancing.

  13. Once you arrive at the sanctuary, an usher will escort you to a seat. We will be seating from the front of the sanctuary to the rear to limit traffic and contact. 

  14. Throughout the service, we will not have any live choral music. We are working on non-choral ways to worship through music, but there will be no hymn singing. We will also not have congregational responsive readings. 

  15. We will have a children’s time, but all the children will participate from their pew. They will not come forward.

  16. We will not have children’s church. The nursery will be available only for those whose parent or guardian is volunteering in some way during the service. 

  17. Once the service is over, Johnson will play a postlude we can all enjoy as the ushers direct people to leave pew by pew.  Please stay seated until an usher indicates it is your turn to leave. 

  18. Please do not linger in the building or parking lot.

  

I realize that all these requirements are going to make in-person worship very different for a while. I appreciate your understanding and willingness to follow these instructions.  These are things we must do to ensure that our congregation is following John Wesley’s first general rule of doing no harm. Again, if you cannot follow these requirements, you may continue to worship with us online.

  

Our Healthy Church Team will continue to evaluate each Sunday about updating or changing any safety requirements. We will do our best to keep you informed of any changes.

  
As changes happen throughout our conference and we need to adapt to requirement changes the Bishop gives us, we will let you know that as well. This form of worship will not last forever.  It is only for a season.  But this gives us time to contemplate on the reason we worship, the meaning of worship and the different ways we can worship.

  
This is not how I envisioned greeting my new Main Street friends. But I want us all to remain safe throughout this pandemic.  If you have any questions, please call the church office at 586-8878.

  

I leave you with this passage of scripture:

  

“Let the LORD give strength to his people!

Let the LORD bless his people with peace!”   Psalm 29:11 (CEB)

  
Blessings in Christ,

  
Rev. Dr. Dawn Compton

(540) 586-8878

212 E Main St, Bedford, VA 24523, USA

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