Sundays in Advent Prayer Service
Session, under the guidance of the Reopening Task Force, has agreed that for the season of Advent (four weeks beginning November 29), we will move this short "Prayers on the Steps" service into the sanctuary. This will allow the task force to develop the best ways for managing longer worship services, with more in attendance, when Session agrees it is appropriate. We can also use this period to experiment with different video technologies for bringing services into people’s homes.
There must, of course, be rules for doing so. The church will do its part, providing sanitized services, setting seating at appropriate distances, and ushering people to those seats, in particular. Ushers and leaders will wear masks, except when speaking from the chancel.
For your part, the first rule is: Stay home if you have recently tested positive for coronavirus, have been exposed to anyone with COVID-19, or are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19. Second, you must wear a properly-fitting mask while inside the church. We will have a supply of disposable masks, if you need one. You must do your best to maintain social distancing from others, whether indoors or outdoors. Third, you should make use of the hand sanitizer station(s) before being seated in the pews. In summary, see the poster below, which will be displayed at the entrance.
Important: attendees will enter the sanctuary through the narthex, using the accessible side door (11th Street). Come a little early to line up. Those being seated together will enter the narthex one group at a time, to be ushered to a seat. Seats are spaced more than six feet apart, to allow seating of pairs of people. Larger groups should use two spaces, as appropriate. Please remain at your marked seat until dismissed at the end of the gathering.
Ushers will take attendance for contact tracing purposes, so please volunteer your name and contact number if asked. Seating location is at the discretion of the ushers, using well-marked spaces; do not shift from your space, so that proper distancing is maintained. At the conclusion of the service, you may depart by any door, but please maintain your distance from others, and refrain from conversation indoors if that causes any congestion. The restrooms will be open; please make use of the sanitizing wipes.
Note that the Session or the task force may decide, after one or more trial Sundays, not to continue these services (in the sanctuary or outdoors), if the risk to our members or staff feels too great.
We hope you understand the need for heightened safety. If you haven’t been attending these services, please know that you are welcome, but we hope you won’t all rush back at once (maybe send us an email, using the Contact page). And if you have been attending these services but choose not to attend indoors, we understand. These are not easy decisions for any of us, but the task force and Session feel that we need to be prepared (and trained) for what will come in 2021.