Reopening of In-Person Worship

Reopening of In-Person Worship

Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

At our July Re-Entering Well meeting, we agreed to reopen our building and meet in-person for worship beginning Sunday, July 19. We will continue to offer a simultaneous online service as well for those who feel safer at home. [Please contact Pastor Emily if you need instructions on how access the online service via Zoom.]

Through our baptism, confirmation, and joining the church, we enter into covenant with God and one another. We promise to love God, to love one another as we love ourselves, and to support the discipleship mission of the church through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness. There is a sacred bond between us that requires discipline, commitment, and – above all – love.

It is out of love that as we move to restart in-person worship again, we must create a new covenant with one another, one intended to keep us all as safe as possible in light of COVID-19. In some areas, churches have become sources of community transmission, so we must understand and accept the responsibility we have to keep each other healthy and safe.

Therefore, by attending in-person, we promise one another that we will:

  1. Follow safe distancing guidelines, remaining 6-feet apart from anyone not in our household.
  2. Wear a face covering over our mouth and nose at all times, including when walking around the building, when seated in a pew, or when talking, coughing, or sneezing. All persons in attendance over the age of 2 are required to wear a face covering. Face coverings may be a cloth mask, bandana, goiter, medical-type mask, or respirator. If you arrive without one, we will have disposable medical-type masks available for your use.
  3. Practice good hand hygiene through the use of soap and hand sanitizer.
  4. Follow the directions of the ushers, who will be providing guidance for traffic flow, seating, and dismissal.
  5. Only access the areas of the church that are absolutely necessary. At this time, the fellowship hall, kitchen, and all areas downstairs and upstairs remain closed.  

In addition to the above individual responsibilities, LUMCleadership and staff promise that we will:

  1. Maintain the sanitation of the church, including sanitizing the sanctuary, bathrooms, doors, and any other surfaces or areas deemed necessary.
  2. Maintain weekly attendance records that include attendees’ names and phone numbers. This information is necessary for contact tracing purposes and may be provided to local health officials if it is requested due to a positive test result for someone who has attended worship.
  3. Continue to offer online worship for the foreseeable future so that anyone who is unable to join in-person can still be a part of the gathered worshipping community.
  4. Offer sacraments of communion and baptism in a way that both honors the sacred presence of God and protects the sacred life that dwells within us all.

You will find more details about what our new online and in-person worship experience will look like and what to expect if you choose to attend in person below. I urge every person to prayerfully consider whether worshipping in-person or online is right for you and your family as meeting in the building does carry some risk. As a church family, we will continue to listen to guidance of health experts, our local government, and the Baltimore-Washington Conference and recognize that we may need to return to online-only in the future.

If you have any specific questions or concerns, please contact me by phone, text, or email.

In Christ, 
Pastor Emily

The church will open at 9:45 am. Please put your face covering on before approaching the church.

  1. Enter through the door with the ramp facing Lavern Avenue (near the fellowship hall). If there is a line when you arrive, please follow markings on the sidewalk to help maintain safe distancing. Please use the hand sanitizer provided when you enter the building.
  2. A greeter will be present to record your name and confirm your telephone number. Disposable medical-style masks will be available if you did not bring your own.
  3. An usher will direct you to your seats in the pews. We will only be using every other pew and alternating whether seating is on the center or side aisles to maintain proper distancing. Children must remain seated with their families for the entire service (Children’s messages will continue to be posted to Facebook).
  4. To minimize risk, services will last approximately 30 minutes.
  5. An usher will direct you when to leave your pew in order to maintain safe distancing at the exit. Tithes and offerings can be placed in the designated box as you depart.

Some considerations:

  • The sanctuary will look different when you enter. The cloth cushions, Bibles, hymnals, envelopes, and pencils have been removed from the pews. You are welcome to bring your own Bible if you would like to read the scripture as it is read aloud, as bulletins will not be distributed. There will also be a computer or tablet near the front to record the Zoom feed.
  • Although the order of worship will be similar to the last time we gathered in person, I anticipate it will still feel different. We cannot sing or pray aloud in unison due to the risk of infection, but Charlie will still be offering a music devotional. We will pray over our offerings in our pews as we hold them in our hands, but they will be placed in a box in the back as you depart instead of in a passed offering plate. Also, we will be unable to share a children’s message or children’s church in person.
  • We must hold one another accountable to the covenant we share if we choose in-person worship. This may mean reminding one another about wearing face coverings correctly or maintaining safe distancing. It is difficult not to embrace or shake hands like we are used to, but it is important to help keep one another healthy.
  • All doors aside from the one by the fellowship hall will remain locked. If you have a key, please do not use it to access the building through another entrance.
  • We will not be offering coffee and the water fountain cannot be used at this time. You are welcome to bring your own.