Returning to Normal Schedule

(following the pandemic, 2019-2021)

The Session has approved returning to the regular program of the church beginning on May 2, pending removal of the Governor’s COVID-19 restrictions. This means that we will return to a single Sunday morning service, re-start Sunday School, conduct our first Inquirers’ Class of 2021, and eliminate social distancing. Given the number of our members who have been vaccinated, or been infected, or whose risk is minimal (because of age); and given the availability of successful treatment of those infected, we believe that this is a reasonable step to take.

Throughout the pandemic we have sought to walk the fine line between what are reasonable precautions and what are reckless risks. We’ve learned the painful lesson over the past months that “health” is more than avoiding disease. The isolation of the elderly on one end of the spectrum and school children on the other, the closing of schools, restaurants, businesses, and athletic venues have resulted in another kind of epidemic. The documented spike in “mental illness,” in depression and suicide, in domestic violence, and in drug and alcohol abuse provide tragic testimony that “man does not live by bread alone.”

The “health” of humanity is as much a spiritual issue as physical. With 10-20% of the congregation staying home each week, with 300 members not interacting in Sunday School, with 100 fewer members participating in the Sunday evening meal, with various groups meeting by Zoom and not in person, there cannot but be spiritual consequences, and often as a result, physical and mental consequences as well. Again, given the current sharp decrease in infections and the growing numbers of those already infected, we believe it is reasonable, not reckless, for us to return to our regular schedule on May 2. We are making plans accordingly with a final confirmation of those plans being made at the April 19 Session meeting.

What if between now and May 2 there is another spike in infections as occurred last November/December? What if the coronavirus restrictions are not lifted by the Governor? Then “plan B” goes into effect. It will look like this:
8:30-9:35 Early morning worship service
9:45-10:45 Sunday School
11:00-12:00ish Late morning worship service with nursery

We are hopeful that “plan A” (full normalization) will go into effect May 2. Yet we remain flexible enough to adapt if the current trajectories change. Either way, we will re-start Sunday School on May 2 either at the regular time (9:30) without social distancing (“plan A”), or at 9:45 with social distancing (“plan B”).

Let these plans inform your prayer life. Normalization is needed sooner rather than later.
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