Dear Friends of First St. Charles,
The members of our Leadership Board are: Matt Harrer, Chairperson, Nancy Gongaware, Priscilla Pope, John McClure, Roger Wynkoop, Taylor Lawson-Smith, Myron Sheets, Elizabeth Grygo, Sharon Silvers, Mardi House, Daniel Jackson, and Dan Barnett.
On Tuesday night they and our staff met together. In addition to welcoming a new member (welcome, Angela Williams!), their chief focus was the consideration of when and how we might move toward meeting again for in-person worship.
In addition to the advice of the CDC, State and Local officials, our Bishop’s advice, and medical professionals within our congregation, they were also able to process the 300 responses to our recent online questionnaire of members of our congregation.
Clearly, we are taking steps to move toward in-person worship. First Kids Early Childhood Center has opened back up and is registering children for the next session. Our office staff are back for regular hours. And on Tuesday night, the Leadership Board decided to begin allowing small (10 and under) weddings and funerals in our sanctuary.
It’s also clear that we are living in the tension of two competing values: 1) we long for in-person worship—to gather and to be together, and 2) we also want everyone to be safe—we don’t want to become a hot spot for the spread of COVID-19.
That all said, the Leadership Board is asking us to wait awhile longer as we continue to assess the risks and possibilities of worshiping in-person. In the meantime, we are making concrete plans for that day when we would gather again in-person.
What might that look like when we do meet?
- Current rules limit us to 25% capacity, which means only 70 people in the sanctuary at a time (+ 30 with live-streaming in the Multipurpose Room).
- It would mean everyone —everyone— wearing masks (no exceptions) as a sign of caring for each other.
- It would mean we wouldn’t have any congregational music. The choir wouldn’t sing. Singing expels particles and presents a high-risk for spread of the disease.
- It would mean that persons would be spaced 3 pews apart.
- It would mean no bulletins.
- It would mean that the offering would be collected at plates as we exit.
- It would mean we wouldn’t gather in the atrium to talk (though persons could possibly spread out and talk on the parking lot).
- And, it would mean no donuts!
The Leadership Board will be meeting
again in June to continue the discernment process. I would ask that you pray
for them. Pray not that they would come not to the same decision you might make
but rather that they would help us all to move to where God would have us be.
It’s always a good thing to own that our will is not God’s. If ever there was a time for spiritual humility—boy, howdy, this is it!