We are excited for Sunday, July 12, at 10:30 a.m. when we will begin having an outdoor worship service – “Worship on the Green” – as well as our current online worship opportunity. We don’t want anyone to be surprised, so as joy-filled as this experience will be, please read through this message to be prepared. If you’ve been out of your home at all in the past few months, you know that things look and feel differently in most of this world. Worship will look and feel differently too, but we trust this will be temporary until the pandemic has subsided. Also, thank you to everyone who has shared feedback. As you might imagine, there are many perspectives and experiences in our incredible congregation. For that reason, I’ll begin by explaining the manner in which we arrived at our decisions for when and how we would regather for worship in person.
St. Paul wrote in Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” The law of Christ is for us to love one another (John 13:34-35). Therefore, our Regathering Task Force has made recommendations for outdoor worship based on a desire to accommodate and be hospitable for as many people as possible, being attentive to everyone’s safety and concerns. The task force reviewed medical opinions, scientific understandings, opinions of Beautiful Savior members, and of course the Holy Scriptures. It is part of how we will bend without breaking.
We opted to add an outdoor worship experience before an indoor worship experience for a few reasons. First, more people expressed comfort with gathering outdoors, since a great deal of the science around Covid-19 tells us that this is a safer thing to do. Second, waiting a few weeks before adding the indoor worship experience gives us time to prepare the building for indoor worship (sanitation, etc.). Third, the logistical matters around indoor worship versus outdoor worship are significantly greater. Fourth, it gives us time to catch our breath as we leap from one to three very different worship services. Fifth, in the unfortunate event that there is a resurgence of Covid-19, outdoor worship would be the most doable way to continue to worship in person safely.
What To Expect
Next week, we will send a more explanative list of procedures, but to summarize, know that what we will begin experiencing on July 12 is a step and not a destination. We are calling it “Worship on the Green.”
Registration: We ask that people register in advance, since that allows us to accommodate as many people as safely possible. The way to register will be sent to you next week by email (or other means if requested).
Length: Worship will be shorter than usual, probably between 30 and 40 minutes, because for the time being singing is not advised.
Masks: We will all be wearing masks throughout the service. The brief exception to wearing a mask is if we are participating in Holy Communion.
Chairs: We will bring our own chairs or blankets. This minimizes any type of physical contact.
Distance: We will sit in household groups, but at least six feet from other households. Lines on the grass will assist with the distancing.
Holy Communion: We will bring our own bread (and grape juice as well if you wish). This also minimizes any physical contact. We teach that we have fully received Holy Communion even if we only receive the bread or wine (or grape juice), so only one element is necessary. We will be welcomed to briefly adjust our masks to receive Holy Communion at this one point during worship if we are comfortable doing so. You may also wish to take the bread and/or grape juice home to consume.
Offerings: Offerings may be left in monitored buckets as we depart the grass.
Poor Weather Contingency
If the weather is poor, we have a plan. Outdoor worship will still happen, just in our vehicles. Just as we did during the May 31 congregational meeting when a huge number of us gathered in the parking lot and took part in worship through our FM radios, we will be ready to do this again. And you won’t even have to guess if we’ll be staying in our vehicles. When you pull into the parking lot, ushers will direct your vehicles to a different position than where you would park for worshiping on the green.
Worship continues this weekend through the Beautiful Savior church website here. The new worship service for each weekend is posted on our church website at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday evening. Our worship service is also Facebook livestreamed on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. if you wish to participate in commenting with the whole community.
If you are in anyway hesitant to begin regathering in person, that is completely fine. We will still be offering online worship in its current form. If you even have the slightest inkling that you may be sick or have been exposed to Covid-19, please worship online from home. If you are ready to take this in-person leap, or if you have been yearning for this opportunity for what feels like far too long, we’re ready to take the leap with you. We are grateful for your patience, for your perspectives, and for the beautiful spirit in which we as the people of Beautiful Savior have followed the words of St. Paul in Ephesians 4:1-3, “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
We look forward to being with you in worship, whether online or in person, this weekend and many more.
Thankfully, in Christ’s Service,