Sunday, May 10, 2020
May 5th, A+D. 2020
Dear members of St. Paul,
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
I am writing to inform you that we will have three services at St. Paul, Preble this Sunday, May 10th at 8am, 9:15am, and 10:30am. Since it is important to maintain social distancing at these services, I am asking all members to contact me, Pr. Yeager (phone: 260-226-0375; email ) to reserve a spot at a service for your family. Please also indicate the number of people in your group.
As you might have heard, last Friday, May 1, Governor Eric Holcomb in a televised press conference presented a “Roadmap to Reopen Indiana for Hoosiers, Businesses, and State Government” as detailed in Executive Order 20-26. With respect to Churches and religious gatherings in particular, Governor Holcomb highlighted the following points from the Executive Order, which apply to all counties of the State: As of May 8, indoor worship services “may continue and may now have more than 10 people,” while social distancing and sanitation guidelines will continue to apply.”
While we rejoice that our Churches in Indiana are now able to gather for worship without the limitations on the number of people who may attend, we must be diligent and careful in following sanitation and distancing protocol as the government mandates. As Christians, we want to obey the 3rd Commandment and receive the true rest of the Spirit that comes by hearing the Word of God and receiving the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. And my, how we will all rejoice and be glad to be able to do this together corporately once again! Still, we have an obligation under the 4th Commandment to obey local and State authorities as they seek to safeguard citizens from COVID-19. And, we have an obligation under the 5th Commandment to help protect our neighbor in his or her body. With all this in mind, we will worship together while being vigilant to follow the protocol that safeguards the lives of our neighbors.
Therefore, our three services this Sunday will look a bit different than they have in the past. First, we do not normally announce our intention to come to Church by contacting the pastor. But doing this will help me keep a “cap” on the number of people in the building so that everyone can be safely distanced. So please contact me. Second, these services will all offer Holy Communion but will follow an abbreviated liturgy and will last about 45 minutes each, providing time for the deacons to sanitize the pews, doors, and commonly-touched areas in between services. Other amendments to the services will include:
-Members are encouraged to enter only by the front doors of the sanctuary. These will be propped open to allow for hands-free entry. Please do not enter by the Parish Hall or the East Door to the sanctuary. We want to minimize touched surfaces.
-Hand sanitizer will be provided for all members. We encourage all to sanitize hands upon entering and upon leaving the sanctuary.
-Every other pew will be roped off to allow 6 feet of distance between families. Please do not sit in the balcony or in the Parish hall. We want to minimize touched surfaces.
-For Holy Communion, the Host of our Lord’s Body will be distributed with gloved hands. Pastor will wear a mask during Communion Distribution. Individual cups will be set out with gloved hands and the Lord’s Blood will only be distributed by the Pouring Chalice. There will be no Common Cup. Members will not kneel, but will receive the Sacrament standing up. Due to these measures, the only person touching the bread/cups/wine will be the person communing.
-Deacons will dismiss the congregation by row (to allow 6ft of distance between groups)
-Vulnerable populations are encouraged to stay home and contact me for a pastoral visit.
One more item to note: since the entire Church will need to be sanitized after each service, and this would put a strain on our deacons, I would like to request volunteers who are willing to help. If you have clean spray bottles at home, rags and gloves, these would also help to make cleaning go faster. We have plenty of cleaning supplies, gloves, sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes for us and our deacons.
If you have any questions or concerns, please give me a call. I am glad to make home visits to anyone who would prefer to receive the gifts of the Lord at home. We all know how quickly things can change, so please continue to look for emails, letters, and on our website for changes to our services and times.
God’s grace and peace be with you.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Andrew T. Yeager