Slideshow image

It has almost been a full year since we last worshipped together, in-person, on a Sunday morning, in our building. Hopefully, we will be returning to in-person worship soon. In January, the Congregation Council decided to use the new Nebraska Synod recommendation of returning to in-person worship when the “Positive Cases per 100,000 per Day” goes under 20. Based on that metric, the Council announced that we would resume in-person worship beginning Sunday, March 7.

At the time of the announcement, the positive cases in Douglas County per 100,000 was at 16 and steadily moving downward. Unfortunately, that downward movement has stopped. After reaching a low of 15 on February 18, the current number is 17. If the positive case number stay below 20, we will resume in-person worship March 7. If it rises above 20, we will continue with online worship only.

So, with great hope that the case counts remains below 20, here is some information about returning to in-person worship. Safety is our first and foremost concern. Knowing that some people are not comfortable returning to in-person worship yet, we will continue to livestream our worship services. For those who are ready to return, there will be significant changes in how we do things. Here is a list of the most significant changes:

  • Members will be asked to "make reservations" each week. Each Tuesday, an email will be sent asking people to reply if they plan on attending worship that coming Sunday. (If you forget to reply, you can still come. But making a reservation will make things much easier!)
  • Those who make reservations will be assigned seats. This will allow us to use the available space most efficiently and make it easier to do contact tracing if necessary. (People who do not make reservations will also be assigned seats.)
  • People will be encouraged not to gather in groups in the building to visit. 
  • Wearing masks and using hand sanitizer are required upon entering the building.
  • The sanctuary seating has been reconfigured so that each row is six feet apart. Please maintain a six feet space between households in the same row.
  • There will be no congregational singing. Becky, one or two singers, and the pastor will be singing.
  • Worshipers are asked to bring their own communion elements. (Individually sealed juice and wafer cups will be available in the Narthex for those who forget or for guests.)
  • Worshipers will be ushered out of worship to avoid congestion.
  • (For a more complete list of our In-Person Worship Guidelines, please download the form below.)

Will worshipping with all these precautions be strange? Yes it will! But it will not be forever. Progress in combatting COVID-19 is being made. More and more people are getting vaccinated. (I have received both my vaccinations.) Things will get back to some form of normal. But seeing each other face to face (or mask to mask) will be wonderful. Worshipping together will give us a greater sense of God's presence with us. As strange and different as it may be, I can't wait to be together once again in worship!