September 16, 2020
A Pastoral Letter from the Rector
Greetings from St. Paul’s. I pray everyone is safe and healthy. There are four announcements in this memo. Please read carefully.
Open for Worship
Vestry has elected to open the sanctuary for in-person worship. We begin this Sunday, September 20. Reservations are required and occupancy is limited to allow for social distancing. Formation (Sunday school classes) remains virtual.
The service times are:
Sundays 8am and 10am.
The 10am service includes music and will always be live-streamed.
Wednesdays at noon and 6pm.
We will use the lessons of the day and include a meditation or reflection. Lectors and Prayer leaders will be recruited on the spot.
Maximum occupancy is 30 persons plus ministry leaders sitting in the chancel.
Please go to the parish website to reserve a seat for worship. Once all available seats are reserved, the service will be closed to new reservations. This is person by person, not by family or household. Yes, an individual person may reserve seats for their family members. The website is the only method to make the reservation. If you do not have access to the website, please call the rector (Paul: 419-367-6921) and I will gladly do it for you.
There are many changes to our worship experience that you will notice. Protocols for safety must be adhered to and are non-negotiable. Sanitizing and cleaning procedures are stringent.
The following is a list of changes:
Pew cushions and kneelers are removed.
Prayer books are removed to ensure single use.
There is no singing.
Eucharist is bread only.
There is no physical contact during The Peace.
There is no Passing of the Offering Plate.
There is no coffee hour and no gathering in the parish hall. You may gather outdoors for extended conversation with masks and social distancing in place.
The following protocols are in place.
The usher will take your temperature upon arrival.
Attendance will be documented for contact tracing.
You must wear a mask. We have spares.
Seats are zoned with physical distancing and may not be jeopardized.
Every attendee is asked to disinfect their space before leaving. This includes the restroom if used. Sanitizer is readily available.
I know these protocols sound restrictive. As part of the livestream worship team, we have have been honoring the protocols for months. The protocols are manageable. I am excited to celebrate the Eucharist again and I look forward to seeing you. Please use discretion in your decision to attend worship. You should not come if you consider yourself high-risk in public spaces. You should definitely not attend if you are experiencing symptoms.
Formation activities continue to meet online only at this time. There are many new classes and opportunities for education this fall. You can find them all in the article entitled “Fall Formation Opportunities” on the homepage. Continue to watch for upcoming outreach opportunities as well. This month is the “Season of Creation” and concludes with a Blessing of the Animals on October 4. We also continue to have dialogues with other groups to build relationships and community; this Sunday, September 20 at 7 PM, we will have a conversation about voting with our neighbors across the street at First Church of Christ, Scientist.
We have experienced an increase in our emails going to your spam folders. This means our communications, including this memo, are not reaching you. The result is disengagement from parish life. We rely on email for communication. We ask you to check our website and newsletter (on the website) often. Many of our ministries are online until the pandemic ends, but that may be a long time away.
Whitelist our domain. Even if you are getting our emails, you may not be getting all of them. You might miss out on important announcements (like opening church for worship). Call Paul and ask for help. I will guide you through the whitelist procedure.
Whitelist these email addresses:
We are being scammed again by hackers. Please know I will never ask you for money in an email. The current scam has taken my photo from the parish website. Victims receive an email from Fake Me using a fake gmail account. My real address is email@example.com. In the scam I am at the hospital and I need Amazon gift cards immediately for pastoral care of patients.
Do not buy gifts cards. Do not send money. Do not trust emails that seem unusual. Call my cell phone and talk to me directly. I will confirm the scam.
I pray you stay safe and healthy. Personally, I have pandemic fatigue. But this is no reason to let our guard down with safety guidelines. We can participate in church again while remaining safe. I look forward to seeing some of you in person. I pray for all of you.