November 22, 2020 Indoor Worship
Time & Location
Dear People of Beautiful Savior, November 19, 2020
In response to the new Covid-19 restrictions that began this Wednesday, November 18, Beautiful Savior is placing a three-week pause on our indoor worship trial period. The restrictions state that no indoor, non-residential gatherings should take place during this three-week timeframe. The pause in our trial period will be for November 22, November 29, and December 6. Obviously, we’ve all been through this before, so we know that there is no guarantee that governmental restrictions will lift or even lighten after that three-week period. Please be assured that our Regathering Task Force, which is comprised of people with diverse experiences and opinions, is actively monitoring this situation and will continue to meet regularly to discuss the steps we will take to balance people’s spiritual need to gather with others and physical need not to contract this virus.
Personally, in my 18 years of being a pastor, I struggle to recall making a decision about which I am this conflicted. Previously, I refused to close a church building on a Sunday morning for any reason, like poor weather, because I believe that people should be able to depend on the sanctuary being open, and that people can choose for themselves whether to stay home or travel to the building. Before this pandemic, there were only two times that I ever closed a church building on a Sunday. They were during my first call on the prairies of Minnesota when the snow pileup from blizzards made it physically impossible to open the doors of the church building. Those were easy decisions. Today’s decision is not easy. In fact, it’s gut-wrenching after the refreshing way that we reopened the sanctuary for a month, with people diligently and faithfully following all of the procedures we put in place to be safer, and experiencing the joy of people gathered in person for worship.
When our Regathering Task Force first began meeting in June, we made a commitment to live in accordance with the law whether we agree or disagree with it. We also committed to taking part in the community’s response to crush this virus. Furthermore, we decided not to take advantage of the religious exemption that some congregations have, because we are part of our wider community. Jesus commands us to love others and be good neighbors, and this is why we choose to live within the same legal bounds that others must live.
A limited number of people will be in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. in order to livestream worship for you and the hundreds of people who have begun joining with Beautiful Savior online. We will continue to follow the procedures we put in place even though there will be less people for a while, because it’s the right thing to do. The church staff has also written emergency backup plans for what to do if one of us becomes sick. The 10:30 a.m. drive-in worship option will continue with weather permitting.
God has already brought us this far through this vexing time. We are Beautiful Savior, a congregation of incredible people who love God and love our neighbors. This dedication has empowered us to bend without breaking. The distance we traveled through the first wave of the pandemic is stunning, and I am confident that we will make more entrepreneurial leaps that we have yet to imagine as we come through this second wave.
Sincerely, in Christ’s Service,
The Rev. Dr. Niklaus C. Schillack