What will it be like to worship together indoors on July 4th and beyond?
As we prepare for in-person indoor worship, I wanted to let you all know what worship will be like and the plans that we have to ensure folks feel safe, welcome, and prepared for some of the changes we will see.
Our first priority is safety and our second is to provide a gentle re-entry for everyone. We understand that some of us will be eager to be together and hug and sing and worship. We also recognize the anxiety it may bring to be indoors with others. As such, we will have the doors open and will be sure to allow space for those who need their space.
What will be the same?
The loving, welcoming, participatory nature of worship at PoP. We will have in-person communion, with modifications. We will have opportunities to sing, stand, pass peace and bask in the joy of live music with people and love. Our ushers will be ready and prepared to help direct folks. Coffee hour will be raucous and joyful, with lots of hand sanitizer and folks to talk to
The nursery will be open and staffed for our kids ages 4 and under. All our nursery workers will be fully vaccinated and masked, and emphasize playing outside in the fenced area. Kids under two do not have to wear masks if they are not able to.
What will be different?
All worshipers will be asked to mask due to the reality that young children are not yet vaccinated. If anyone is unmasked during worship it is for the sake of hearing and projecting. Our pastors may be unmasked when they preach and our choir/soloists may as well. All the staff at PoP are fully vaccinated as are our musicians/choir. We will not be asking folks if they are vaccinated in order to attend worship. We will, however, require masks inside for everyone else. When outside, no need to mask unless you are in proximity to a child.
Children: Kids are welcome in worship as always. To keep them safe, we will have an area in the back of the sanctuary (near the joy room, far from choir) for kids and parents. All of the doors will be open to the outside and our AC ventilation running. Parents and kids are welcome to be in the narthex, in the sanctuary or anywhere else they feel safe! In addition, during the big kids sermon through until communion, there will be three adults in the courtyard running a game/faithful teaching time for the kids ages 5 and up in the courtyard. During communion, all are invited to come back into the sanctuary to share the meal.
If you have any questions about what July 4th and beyond will be like, please reach out. If you experience anything during worship that feels unsafe, please also let us know. Indoor gatherings are fluid situations, and your staff are monitoring closely all of the best practices for indoor activities such as singing and speaking.
We truly hope that when you feel comfortable that you will join us for in-person indoor worship. Please know that we will still have online worship available but it will probably not be available to view until Monday. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in the weeks ahead. Also if you are interested in helping in any of the ways to make worship happen including serving as reader, altar guild, coffee host, coffee treat bringer, etc please email Anne and she can get you signed up. Of course, if you are already signed into Breeze and know how to use it you can also sign up that way!
You know what helps make these hot days so much more manageable? A nice cool “Breeze.” And guess what? There’s one coming your way!
As mentioned in earlier E Peace Notes messages, we have updated a number of our church resources by switching to an online platform called, “Breeze.”
This note is meant to help you connect with the site as members of PoP, and encourage your use of this platform in any number of ways. Members have access to their own personal information (and can update any information as needed) and can see contact information of other members of PoP - it’s an online directory.
By the end of this week you should receive an invitation email from our Breeze web portal with your initial login information page. Following the signup steps will enable you to update the personal information about you and your family and see your contribution information.
And remember, we are trying to make this a helpful resource, so please no North Pole addresses. ;)
We are working on creating and/or sourcing videos to help you learn more about this resource, so keep an eye out for Tips & Tricks in future emails, and in-person tutorial opportunities later in the summer.
Scott Simon is the Saturday morning NPR host, known for his weekly monologues. This past Saturday’s post featured a reflection on his two kids’ advancing another year in school, one to 9th grade, the other through high school. One line, in particular, named a reality that resonated with me deeply. He said, “We have a special and distinct view of our kids…we see them as all ages at once…whatever they go on to be, we always see through to their beginnings, their fears and dreams and their goodness.”
I was deeply struck by this idea as a parent of 6 and 8-year-olds as we face the end of a year of school; one marked by incredibly unique learning opportunities, emotional challenges, and deep personal growth. I shed a few tears as I usually do, honoring the step up that will occur and the milestone that the last day of school always is.
But also, this reality of “all ages at once” speaks to the special gift of being in an Intergenerational (all-ages) church community…that we also get to watch other people’s kids grow up, figure themselves out, fail a little, soar a little, and most definitely celebrate in their milestones. And, we get to carry one another as adults, through our adult transitions as well—new children, retirement, job struggles, death of loved ones, questioning of our vocation, etc.
As we approach another summer together and we look ahead to a new chapter in our church’s life, I am excited for the changes to come, but also deeply respectful of and honoring of all the years, efforts, community decisions, and new ideas that have been attempted. We, like Scott Simon said, see our kids at all ages at once, and I think the same is true for this church community. We are all people at once, and not only have our kids changed, but so have many of us.
As we gather in groups, might we be open and honest in our conversations about how we are doing? Can those of us who loved this past year express that without fear of hurting the feelings of others who have deeply struggled? Can those of us who were traumatized by so much of the past year have space to grieve and name our pain? Absolutely. It is our gift and call as a human community to have space for both of those experiences (some of us have walked the line and feel both simultaneously). For when we do, we honor the past but also create space for a powerful future.
I am excited for our days ahead, Prince of Peace, and I look forward to us all seeing one another and speaking to the realities of our separation. And ultimately, how we take the learnings of this past year to serve the hurts and hopes of friends, neighbors and strangers.