April 29, 2021
 
We’re Movin’ on Up - To the Inside
 
           A beautiful Grace St. Paul’s computer bag or Grace St. Paul’s cap is the prize for the first person who contacts me with the reference I am using in the title above.

           After studying the data and considering the steps suggested by the Diocese, your Covid task force and Vestry have decided that it is time for the next step in our process of return to church like it was in the good ol‘ days. Beginning, May 9, we will be returning to worship inside the sanctuary.

           In addition to inside worship, we will also be returning to two worship services each week, at the times you remember. Welcome back the 7:45 AM service in addition to the 10 AM service. Please note that there will be no change to our live streaming. We will continue streaming our 10 AM service every Sunday for the foreseeable future.

           To insure your safety, these are the steps we will be taking and what we ask of each of you attending in person:

1)  All windows and doors to the outside will be opened throughout the service.
2)  Merv 13 air filters have been installed.
3)  Pews will be marked for seating locations, insuring six feet distance between family groups.
4)  Service time will be under 75 minutes.
5)  We will have a maximum seating capacity of 200.
6)  All congregants must wear a mask, properly worn over nose and mouth.
7)  There will be no congregational singing at this time.
8)  We will continue utilizing four masked singers and not a full choir.
9)  Communion will be served in one kind in the no touch fashion we are presently using.
10)         Children and youth and the nursery will be meeting outside and in McBride Hall, with the swamp cooler running to provide 100% air from the outside.
11)          We are strongly suggesting that only those who have been fully vaccinated for two weeks attend the services in person.
12)          The pews will be sanitized with a disinfectant between the services.

           The 7:45 AM service will be a basic Prayer Book service with no singing. The 10 AM service will include the four singers and a beyond the Prayer Book liturgy with prayers linking to the Revised Common Lectionary for the week. Both services will include communion. There will no longer be restrictions on conversations after the services. We can now encourage all to meet outside after the service to kibbutz in person and catch up after all these months. There will be more items that come up as we pivot back to indoor worship, but this is how we will begin. 

           The next step will be to put together a more formal coffee hour after each service or between the services. The Diocese has approved outdoor settings for such coffee hours. These gatherings can include food and drinks, but careful consideration must be made regarding hygiene, spacing, location during the summer heat, and how to host them. We would like to put together a sub-committee to consider these questions in hopes that we can get something organized in the next few weeks. If you would be interested in that planning, please contact our parish administrator, Pam Spears.

           We will also be considering Adult Spiritual Formation and potential hybrid forms of gathering together again. Ideas? Share them with Harlan Hokin.

           Our prayers of thanksgiving ring through GSP as we begin this new milestone in community worship. We hope and pray this is another step toward full return. But of course, none of us knows what the future will hold. So let us savor every moment of this opportunity to be together again as long as we can.

           All this means that this coming Sunday, May 2, the official visitation of Bishop Reddall will be our last opportunity for a while to relish the gift of outside worship. Many of you have said we should continue worship in Creation in some form, no matter what the future holds. That will happen. But let us come out in force to celebrate with our Bishop this Sunday. It is going to be a grand day that we have been waiting for a long, long time.

           Blessings on our beloved community during these fantastic steps forward.

Steve+