How is Gethsemane responding in the face of the global pandemic, COVID-19?
UPDATE: June 24 Letter from the Office:
We are excited to announce the return to in-person worship. As you probably have guessed, this is not a return to “normal” worship, but the first step in that direction. Gethsemane’s doors will open again on Sunday, July 5th. The service will start promptly at 9:30am and will be live streamed and available on HUGS for those of you who choose not to attend in person at this time. The streaming of services will continue for the foreseeable future.
For those of you who would like to attend, please keep in mind the following changes.
1 – You must contact the church via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 314-352-8050 by the Wednesday prior to Sunday. (July 1 for July 5; July 8 for July 12 etc.) This will allow us to safely space those who plan to attend. Attendance will be limited to approximately 50 people, which is 25% of the maximum capacity for our sanctuary.
2 – Upon confirmation of your reservation, you will be asked to consider your health and the health of those you have engaged with in the past two weeks. You will be asked the following questions while making your reservation and upon entering the church building.
a. Are you (or anyone in the home) currently experiencing cold or flu symptoms, new or
worsening cough, increased shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell?
b. Have you (or anyone in the home) been diagnosed with Covid-19 by a healthcare
provider? When? What instructions were you given?
c. Have you been in contact with anyone diagnosed with Covid-19 in the last 14 days?
3 – All those in attendance aged 10 and over must wear a mask at all times while in the building.
4 – Social distancing shall be very much encouraged for all during their time in the Congregation’s building and grounds.
5 – Attendees must enter the building through the glass doors off of the church parking lot and are encouraged to arrive early.
6 – Upon entering the building, each person shall
a. Have their temperature taken
b. Have their blood oxygen taken
7 – Hands free foaming hand sanitizer stations have been set up for your use before and after the worship service. One is located at the top of the stairs off of the parking lot. A second station is located in the main hallway across from the restrooms and next to the church mailboxes.
8 – “Ushers” will be available to help you locate your assigned seat. Once in your seat, you will find your copy of the Sunday worship bulletin. Everything you need to participate in the service can be found in the bulletin. Hymnals and Bibles have been stored away for the time being.
9 – Once the service starts, you will notice the following changes:
a. There will be no singing of hymns in the sanctuary.
b. There will be no Holy Communion.
c. Any special music will be prerecorded and played over the sound system.
d. Worshipers will be encouraged to use a soft voice while wearing a mask for all vocal responses.
e. An offering tray will be placed next to the second hand sanitizer station in the main hallway.
We appreciate your flexibility. Changes to the above procedure will evolve as we move forward based on the current health trends in the city. Our synod and church council have approved the plan presented.
We understand that attending the service in person is a choice. We hope that this information and all future communication provides you with the knowledge you need to make the best choice for you and your family. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the church office.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change... The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge."
~Psalm 46:1-2, 7
More information from the ELCA.org website:
Due to the nature of the virus, information is being updated on a daily basis. We encourage you to contact and listen to your local health experts and authorities concerning best practices and the status of the outbreaks in your local context. The following links may also serve as helpful resources.