A little over three months ago things were somewhat “normal” in most of our lives. Things have changed quite a bit since then, and we have not been in our sanctuary in worship together since mid-March. We have had a few targeted return dates with June 28
being the longest standing possibility for our return to in-person worship. That is this coming Sunday, and we are going to open the doors of our sanctuary once again! I am very excited about this and about seeing those of you who will be coming as we worship God in His sanctuary together. We will only have our 11:00am worship services in the sanctuary, and in the chapel for our Hispanic worshippers. Sunday school and small groups should plan to continue meeting through Zoom or other means until further notice.
With this joyfulness and excitement about opening worship once again come some guidelines that must be followed. I have shared some of these guidelines with you in a previous email and asked if you would come to worship knowing and agreeing to follow these new rules. Some said yes and some said no and I respect your answers. If you will be joining us for worship this Sunday, the following guidelines must be followed:
1. You must wear your masks the entire time you are here. This means you agree to wear it from the moment you step out of your vehicle until the moment you step back into your vehicle. It must be worn correctly the entire time as well, covering your mouth and nose. If you arrive and realize you forgot your mask, we have a limited number of masks available to give out as needed. I know it might be uncomfortable, but it is only for an hour or so, and it keeps everyone safe. I do want you to know I am kind of saying, “
Do as I say, not as I do
.” I will have my mask on until I get in the pulpit area, but I will remove it to speak and lead the service. All of us who will be leading while in the pulpit area will be unmasked, but we will be far enough away and we believe this will still be safe.
2. When you arrive, you will first be greeted outside the main church doors and you will be directed from there. These doors will be propped open at 10:30am and will remain that way until 11:00am. This is the only access to enter the building.
3. Once you are inside, you will be directed to one of the three doors into the sanctuary and guided to a seat. Please sit where you are led. If you are a family of two or more from the same household, you can sit on a pew as close as you wish. If you are a single individual, then you will need to follow the social distancing markers found on each pew.
4. The restrooms closest to the sanctuary, in the Hall of the Apostles, are available, but only one person will be allowed inside at a time. A volunteer will be there to help guide you. All other restrooms will be closed.
5. We know you will be excited to see others, but please respect the social distance recommendations and do not hug or shake hands with anyone at any time while on the church campus.
6. If you have a name tag please, please wear it. It will be hard to know who that masked man or woman is, so don’t leave your name tag in the car!
7. Offering will not be taken during the worship service. Many of you have been mailing in your offering or have set it up as an automatic withdrawal through your local bank, and we are very thankful for your continued giving. If you wish to bring your offering, we will have offering baskets available as you exit the sanctuary. If you wish to place your contribution in an envelope, there will be some available for you on the table in the narthex outside the sanctuary. Please feel free to take home a handful of these envelopes for upcoming Sundays as well.
8. There will be no nursery available. Children 2 years old or younger should not wear a mask, as recommended by the CDC. ALL other children must wear their mask the entire time.
9. If you are not feeling well or if you have a fever over 99.9 degrees, then please stay home and take care of yourself. If it continues, please contact your doctor and let us know so we can be praying for you.
I know this is going to be different and perhaps a little uncomfortable, but it is my goal, hope, and prayer that we make sure to keep the main thing the main thing – worshipping and praising God as He deserves. Please join me in that prayer whether you are here on Sunday morning or decide to stay home. If you are not going to be with us in person, you can still enjoy the service by going to my Facebook page or the church’s Facebook page at 11:00am where we will share the service live on line. If you don’t have Facebook but are able to get on line through a computer or similar device, you can also do a Google search by typing Norcross First United Methodist Church Facebook in the browser, then click on the page option - Norcross First United Methodist Church - Home | Facebook - , scroll down to the June 28
service, and watch. (You will not need to create an account.)
One last thing I want to ask of you – be patient, understanding, and gracious. Ok, that’s three things, but so important as we attempt to figure out this “new normal” and as we cautiously, but faithfully, go forward in ministry together. I can hardly wait to be with you Sunday as we worship and praise God together.
Remember, God loves you and so do I.