To The Good Shepherd Faithful,
First I would like to thank all of you for your patience during these strange times. Every day I give thanks that the people of Good Shepherd have progressed through the pandemic with care and caution. At no point in time have the council or myself felt pressured to return to worship and I can’t begin to express what a blessing your thoughtfulness has been. Moving forward and planning for a return to worship has been easier because of your attitude. So, once again thank you for being an amazing congregation. With that being said I do have some good news to share with you. We will be starting biweekly outdoor worship services beginning July 12th. The COVID Team created a summer schedule which will consist of Drive Thru Communion on the first and third Sundays of the month and outdoor worship services on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. Drive Thru Communion will be available on those Sundays from 10 am until 11 am. Outdoor worship services will be held at both 8:30 am and 10 am.
Many of you participated in our last Drive Thru Communion and found it both simple and meaningful while practicing social distancing. As a reminder I will run through what Drive Thru Communion looks like and what to expect. First, remember that Drive Thru Communion is BYOC Bring Your Own Communion. Please bring your own drink and bread so that I can say can consecrate your elements. After I do the Words of Institution and we say the Lord’s Prayer you will receive your communion, receive a blessing and then you may move on. The whole process is quite simple and there will be people directing you on where to go. The whole process is actually a lot of fun and hopefully I’ll see you this Sunday July 5th between 10 and 11 am.
Outdoor worship will be slightly more complicated because there are a number of rules that we have to follow. We will be gathering on the lawn outside of the Multipurpose Room. You will need to wear a mask. If you don’t have a mask one will be given to you. If you refuse to wear a mask I am afraid you will be asked to leave. If you have health reasons for not wearing a mask then it would be better if you continued to join us through online services. Mask wearing in a non-negotiable for now. We have too many vulnerable members and we will not risk their health. We also ask that you bring your own lawn chair.
When you arrive for worship please go to the usher’s table where your temperature will be taken and your name recorded, you will be handed both a bulletin and an individual communion pack. The ushers will also direct you where you may sit. Family groups may sit together; however all others will have to sit six feet apart. I realize that people are used to sitting with their friends and hopefully we can return to normal soon; however, for now we need to follow the six feet rule. I really wish this wasn’t the rule because it has been so long since we have been together, but to quote Dave Aro, “It is what it is.”
The worship service will be quite different because there will be no congregational singing. Singing creates aerosol which enables the virus to spread further. Therefore, the liturgy will be spoken and not sung and congregational hymns are out of the question at this time. On a more positive note there will be music. Penny will be playing the piano at the services and we are lining up soloists for the services. Granted, it is not a perfect solution, but it is the best we can do.
The sharing of the peace and communion will be done from your personal space. We are creative and fun people and I am sure we can come up with engaging and fun ways to share the peace with one another without shaking hands, or hugging. Personally, I am fond of the good ole’ fashion peace sign from the sixties. The Vulcan sign (Live long and prosper) works too. As for communion, you will be provided a small communion pack and after the Lord’s Prayer I will announce “The body and blood of Jesus Christ broken and shed for you.” At which time you may receive communion. It will be simple, sanitary and more importantly meaningful. After service is over we ask that you leave with minimal interaction with others. The ushers, altar guild, and COVID Team need to clean the area and prepare for the next worship service.
As a reminder Drive Thru Communion will be held on the 5th and 19th of July from 10 am until 11 am. Please bring your own communion. Outdoor worship services will be held July 12th and 26th at 8:30 and 10 am. Please bring your own lawn chair and wear a mask. I realize that these are significant changes to worship and it will take some getting used to. However, remember the most important thing, we will be worshiping together. I have missed all of you and look forward to seeing your beautiful masked faces soon.
Peace, Pastor Laura O’Brien