That is a great question! I wish there were a simple, straight forward answer. Unfortunately, there isn’t. As we have all learned, the Coronavirus pandemic has forced us to be flexible, try new things, and live with uncertainty. That has been the case with worship here at Holy Cross. Since the pandemic began we have worshiped on Zoom, on Facebook Live, and in our parking lot. It has certainly been an interesting few months.

As you recall, I sent out a survey a few weeks ago asking the congregation for their input on worship in the weeks, maybe months, ahead. The survey asked for input concerning Parking Lot Worship (PLW) and when we should back in the building for worship. Let me share the results of that survey.

First, regarding PLW: of the 55 households who responded, 37 (67%) said we should shift to east end of parking lot; 12 (22%) said we should stay where we were; and 6 (11%) left it blank. When asked where they would worship if we moved to the east end of the parking lot, 27 (49%) said they will sit in the designated seating area; 20 (36%) said they will stay in their cars; 1 (2%) said they will sit outside the designated seating area; 6 (11%) said they would worship from home; and 1 (2%) left it blank. The final PLW question was for those who preferred to remain in their cars. The question was: if all the parking spaces in the shaded area were full, what would they do. Of the 20 households who responded, 10 (50%) said they would park in the sun; 3 (15%) said they would sit in designated seating area; 3 (15%) said they would go home and watch worship; and 2 (10 %) said they would sit outside designated seating area.

Based on these responses, we moved to the east side of the parking lot for worship on June 21, and will continue to use the east end of the parking lot for PLW. What I like about PLW on the east end of the parking lot is that it gets us all in the shade, and offers everyone as many options as possible. Those who want to sit outside can. Those who feel the need to remain in their cars are able to. And if staying at home is your preference, you can do that as well.

The other question on the survey asked about when we should move back inside the building for worship. Of the 55 households that responded, 23 (42%) said that we should stay outside until there is minimal threat; 21 (38%) said we should wait a few weeks after we meet the reentry data points, then move back inside; 11 (20%) said we should go back inside as soon as possible.

As you can see, there is not a clear consensus on when we should move back inside our building. At the June Council meeting it was decided that the Council would check the data twice a month to see if it has met our criteria. (At this point, the remaining criteria to be met is “The number of new cases has declined for at least 14 days.” It is also important to keep in mind that other criteria like “The health care system is able to safely care for all patients..”, which is currently met, could change.) The Council will meet next on July 6 to see what the data is.

During this time of uncertainty, please continue to pray for our Congregation Council as we try to discern when is the best time to move back into our building. As you can imagine, this is a very difficult decision. Based on the survey results, it seems like the congregation is generally leaning towards the side of caution. I am sure the Council will take that into consideration. In preparation for when we will get back into the building, the Council has formed a Back in the Building Task Force which will begin formulating the plans and procedures that we will need to take when we do move back inside. Members of the task force are: Alicia Glesne, Becky Jones, Jerry Joseph, Jim Schneider, Peter Sukstorf, Elizabeth Yearwood, and myself.