We are happy to announce that 7 months after our last in-church worship service, Immanuel Lutheran Church will return to in-person indoor worship on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 11 am in the Social Hall. Many thanks to Wayne and Jean Thomas for hosting outdoor worship on the Thomas Tree Farm for the past 8 Sundays. Here is what you can expect as we move inside for worship. Allowing for social distancing, we can accommodate 40 – 45 worshipers. Please let us know ahead of time if you plan to attend.
- Before you leave home:
- Check your email, the church website or Facebook page, or call the church office at 410-374-4463 to see if worship has been canceled.
- Screen yourself and family members. Anyone with a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms, or who may have been exposed to the virus, please stay home. Those with compromised immune systems or otherwise at risk please stay home and worship online if you can.
- Download a worship bulletin from our website to either print out beforehand or read from your mobile device.
- Dress warmly. Windows and entrance door will be kept open for ventilation, so it may be chilly inside.
- Bring a face mask with you and wear it throughout the service, lifting it only to give yourself communion.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before leaving home. Hand sanitizer will be available at the welcome table; you may also bring your own.
- When you arrive:
- `Enter by the ramp to the social hall. Other church entrances will be closed. Your temperature will be checked as you enter. Those with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be admitted.
- Stop at the welcome table. Identify yourself to the greeter and provide contact information if necessary. Accurate attendance records are essential for contact tracing in case of an outbreak.
- Take a sealed communion cup and wafer for each person wishing to receive communion. Place your offering in the appropriate basket (regular or special mission offering). Offering will not be received during the service, nor will worshipers come forward for communion, to avoid contamination.
- Move to your seat(s) as directed. Individual chairs are floor-marked with blue tape and spaced every 6 feet. Do not rearrange any chairs or rows. Groups from the same household wishing to sit together, please allow a ‘gloved’ volunteer to move/rearrange the needed chairs for you.
- During the service:
- Communal singing and speaking, even while face masked, is one way in which coronavirus can spread. You may join in hymns and spoken responses by moving your lips silently. Worship leaders will use the sound system and maintain a greater distance from others while speaking or singing.
- Remain seated throughout the service, and receive communion where you are seated, as instructed by the pastor.
- At the conclusion of the service, exit the social hall as directed, row by row from front (closest to the exit) to the back. Deposit your used communion containers in the trash bin on your way out. Please maintain masking and social distancing as you leave. You may chat with others after you leave the ramp area outside.
Our plan is
to worship in the social hall (Step 2 in our plan) through Dec. 6 and then move
upstairs (Step 3) to the Sunday School auditorium Dec. 13, and into the
sanctuary beginning Christmas Eve (late service). Earlier services on Christmas
Eve would be held in the social hall (afternoon) and Sunday School auditorium
(early evening). Online worship will continue Saturdays at 5 PM and Sundays at
9 AM. The planning team will continue to meet and monitor the situation,
adapting the plan as needed if the pandemic worsens.
We will reopen the church gradually to groups (Step 4) which observe CDC, state and church safety guidelines, as space becomes available. Scouts may return to the Scout Room after Shepherd’s Staff completes their tree decorating project in the first week of November. AA groups may return after our final service in the social hall on Christmas Eve. Sunday School may resume in-person after we move upstairs for worship Dec. 13.
This has been a long road for us with many tough decisions, and it is far from over. Thank you for your patience and your prayers as we continue to do all we can to reopen our church building in a way that does not endanger our health or the health of our neighbors.
May God bless you and keep you safe and well,
The Worship Planning Committee
(Music & Worship and Executive Committees)