Greetings in Christ!
First, a huge thank you to Mary Hendry, Chuck Collier, Dick Lewis, and the members of the Welcome Team (formerly “Pews Directors”), who have been working to help us gather safely, smoothly, and joyfully on Sunday mornings. The guidelines for in-person worship have been updated based on guidance from the CDC, the State of North Carolina, the Diocesan Task Force, and our own specific local circumstances.
With more widespread vaccine availability and rising vaccination rates, we are in a time of transition, as a church, and in society generally. We are moving from strict physical separation to more and more in-person interaction. Transitions mean change, and change is rarely smooth, uniform, or uncomplicated. Each person and each family will be making decisions based on their particular circumstances, which are also likely to be changing.
What does not change is our commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and his commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves. Our sign says, “All Are Welcome” and we mean it. As we make decisions for this worshipping community, we are being especially attentive to our vulnerable populations, for example, our youngest members, who are not yet eligible for vaccinations.
Here are a few updates to our worship practices for the present. I can promise there will be more, and we will keep updating you.
Advance Pre-Registration – Space limitations at All Saints’ mean that we will continue to ask those intending to attend in-person worship to register ahead of time. This ensures that we are able to provide welcome and hospitality, as well as making required contact tracing registration on Sunday morning much smoother.
Entry/Exit – Diocesan guidelines now permit entry and exit from the same door. Use of all available exits is encouraged to support physical distancing efforts.
Masks – As masks are required for singing indoors under diocesan guidelines, please continue to wear your mask when we gather indoors.
Physical Distancing – Please continue to respect physical distancing to protect children and the medically vulnerable. Please hold conversations outside. Keep hugs, for example when passing the peace, within your own “pod.”
Music – Congregational singing is now permitted indoors; however, masks are required by diocesan guidelines at this time.
Printed Materials – As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, we are not printing an announcement booklet. You can access announcements from each week’s Weekly Word using the QR provided in the Welcome Center, on the 9 AM announcement slides, or in the 11:10 AM Worship Bulletin. A printed song sheet is available at the 9 AM service. Print bulletins are available in two sizes (regular and large print) at the 11:10 AM Service.
Books – Hymnals, Bibles, and Books of Common Prayer have been returned to the pews (Thank you to Julia Davison for coordinating this effort).
Communion – For the present, parishioners are asked to remain in their pews while communion is brought to them by fully-vaccinated clergy.
Childcare – Per diocesan protocols, All Saints’ is not yet able to offer childcare during Sunday worship. Children always welcome in worship at All Saints’!
Promoting Community Health – The pandemic has reminded all of us of the importance of good health hygiene. Please stay home if you’re sick, cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands carefully and often.
Online Worship – If you are unable to attend for in-person worship, we continue to offer worship online (via Facebook and YouTube) at 9 AM on Sundays, 7 PM Tuesdays, and Noon on Wednesday. We expect to begin livestreaming the 11:10 AM Sunday morning service on Facebook this Sunday.
Nancy Hunter, our Senior Warden, your Vestry, staff members, myself, or anyone on the Welcome Team are happy to answer your questions about how we, as the Body of Christ in this place, are moving through this transition time. Thank you for your patience as we continue to celebrate how God is moving in this world, commit ourselves to following Jesus as Lord, and caring for one another as we would Christ himself.