Rev. Miriam Nicholson - Community minded Lutheran church housing Messiah Day Care and Nursery School
I was glad when they said unto me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122:1)

Brothers and sisters in Christ:

At long last, Perry County is now in the “green phase” of reopening. This means that after fifteen weeks, we are able to resume in-person worship. Therefore we will resume services on Sunday, June 28, 2020.

Things will not be the same as they were before. Unfortunately, the Corona virus and COVID-19 are still with us and there is not yet a cure nor a vaccine. We need, therefore, to take personal precautions and make changes in our service.

We need to remember the Fifth Commandment “You shall not kill” and the explanation given to us in the Small Catechism: “We are to fear and love God so that we neither endanger nor harm the lives of our neighbors...” Some church gatherings have become sources of the virus spreading in their communities. We certainly do not want this to happen us. The following guidelines are made with this foremost in mind and complying with the best advice we have from our health officials.

It goes without saying, but if you are ill or have a fever, please stay home. Do not even take the chance of spreading any type of bug among others.

We must all wear a mask. I know, they are uncomfortable and can be a nuance. But they are the best way to prevent the spread of the virus. Your mask protects me and my mask protects you. It is an expression of love and care for others that we each wear a mask while together.

We will practice physical distancing. During the service, family groups can sit together, but we must keep a six-foot distance between ourselves at other times. We should not serve coffee and refreshments as these can be means of transmission.

Our service will be held outdoors as long as the weather permits. Bring your own lawn chair and we will gather on the grass area behind the parking lot. When this is not permissible, we will stay in our cars and tune in on our car radios.

The service itself will seem strange for a while. We will not be able to sing for the time being. This, at least for me, will be the hardest as singing is such a vital part of our worship time together. However, the evidence shows that singing spreads the virus even farther then speaking. We are working to have instrumental music and a soloist when possible to help fill in this gap.

Nor can we speak in unison for the time being. This means that we will not be saying the Prayer of the Day and the Creed together, nor reading the Psalm responsively. I am working to find responsive readings and prayers with a short response by the congregation to help in this area.

The offering plates will not be passed. There will be a station for you to place your offering in as you come to service.

Please remember that we are in uncharted territory here. We will review and revise the above guidelines as time goes on, the situation changes, and we have more information.

I eagerly look forward to seeing you on the 28th.

In Christ’s service,

Pastor Eric

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