Resuming Public Worship
Dear Congregation of Christ Church Ann Arbor,
As we look forward to having our first public worship service in ten weeks this Sunday, I wanted to provide some information on the recommendations and restrictions we want to try to observe.
By no means are these measures perfect, and I want to caution you that there is still very much a risk associated with this virus. Also, I again want to emphasize that if you are uncomfortable gathering still, please do not feel obligated to attend worship this Sunday. We will be live streaming worship from the church for those unable to attend.
So, what can you expect on Sunday? First, you will notice that the liturgy has been compacted to reduce the number of songs we sing and to limit some, though not all, of the congregational responses. The reasoning behind this is that the chance of infection rises the more songs we sing.
Also, there will be no nursery provided yet. However, we do plan to reintroduce nursery at a later phase. In light of that, I am aware that parents of young children may be concerned with having their children in worship. I fully understand and empathize with you! Young children and babies are challenging, but please do not feel that you and your children are unwelcome. We may be able to set up space in the church basement for parents of young children with the live stream of the service being projected on a screen. I want to gauge potential interest in this, so please contact me if this kind of set up would be helpful.
You will also notice that for the moment, we will not be celebrating the Lord’s Supper. Like nursery and other elements of worship and ministry, we plan on bringing this back at a later phase.
Our offering, for at least this week, will not be collected by ushers. Instead, a box will be placed at the back for those who wish to deposit a physical offering, or you can continue to make use of online giving. Let me personally thank you for your continued faithfulness in serving the church through your giving during this unusual time.
Our seating arrangement will be different as we are asking you to sit in one family unit for each row. There will be signs placed that indicate which side of the row you should sit. This will ensure the recommended six feet between family units on both sides as well as directly in front of you.
We would ask that you consider wearing a mask while in the building, per the directives of public health leaders. We will have a limited supply of masks for those who do not have one. Furthermore, we are asking that if you or someone in your household has experienced symptoms within the past fourteen days, please stay home for the safety of those in attendance.
Finally, here is what else you can expect: as a believer, I hope and pray your soul will be refreshed after these long weeks. This absence of worship has been like a spiritual famine for God’s people. But gathered worship will be like rain falling on the desert of your soul. And the promises of the gospel of Jesus Christ will bring a time of refreshing, for “a time of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:20).
May the grace of our Lord sustain you,