Addition to our Sunday Mornings: In-Person Worship at 10:30 AM

Dear People of St. John’s,
            Sunday, some members of the Vestry assembled for our first indoor worship service since March. That service tested plans and protocols and gave us a chance to revise them for our first public, indoor service, which will be on September 6 at 10:30 AM. We will begin with 50 in the congregation, a number that will increase in the future. Every other pew will be available for seating, giving us six feet of distance between households. Reservations will be required; a reservation email will be sent today. Our Sunday schedule, beginning September 6, will be:
 
8 AM               Service of the Word (Streamed, no in-person congregation for now)
9:30 AM          Service of the Word (Outdoors)
10:30 AM       Service of the Word (In-person, in the church)
 
Nursery and Children’s Worship will not be offered at this time, but the Nursery will be available for parents who need to spend time with children there during worship. Watch for news soon of an outdoor children’s formation ministry that will happen during the 9:30 outdoor service. After we have established a new rhythm, we will add in-person worship to the 8 AM service.
            All of us over age two must wear a mask and maintain distance of six feet from those outside our household. Your entry, seating, and exit will be directed by our ushers. Sadly, we will not be singing and will refrain from Holy Communion for a while longer. We are fortunate to have a fairly new air-conditioning system that exchanges building air for fresh air frequently and includes bipolar ionization. Touch points in the church will be disinfected after in-person services. We ask each person to wash his or her hands thoroughly (for 20 seconds or more) with soap and warm water before coming to St. John’s.
            Remember, there are times to stay home from worship, for yourself and for others. Parishioners who have exhibited signs of illness within the last 48 hours such as a fever, cough, aches, or other symptoms of Covid-19 should stay home. Parishioners who have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 within the last 14 days should stay home. Parishioners (adults and children) diagnosed with chronic lung disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or those who are immune-compromised should stay at home.  These conditions significantly increase the risk of hospitalization and death from Covid-19. Parishioners over the age of 65 should consult with their physician for guidance before attending a public worship service. You are beloved, and we do not want you to take any undue risk.
            Below you will find a set of norms for worshipers provided by our bishop, familiar from our outdoor service. Please be prepared to abide by them if you are ready to gather for worship. Taking these precautions is the best way to ensure that we do not contribute to the communication of disease as we worship.
            Our worship on September 6 will not be exactly what you remember but will be a decided, welcome step in the right direction. I know we will join the Psalmist in saying “I was glad when they said to me, ‘let us go to the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122:1).
 
Yours faithfully,

Nicholas Beasley
 
P.S. We very much need additional volunteers in the following areas:
           
1. Ushers: We need men and women who feel confident of their health, who can also guide people to follow the practices that will make our worship safer. We may need to schedule up to 10 ushers each Sunday to cover the schedule above. To serve, contact Head Usher Chris Patrick at
CHRISTOPHER_D_PATRICK@progressive.com or 864-915-3436.
 
2. Sound system help: We need a few more trainable persons to coordinate the sound for the outdoor service. Contact Director of Music Michael Brown at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 585-313-2176. We need Michael making music!
 
3. Streaming assistance. Our three current stream operators need some relief, especially if we would like to stream the 10:30 service. Contact Scott Jaillette at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 803-331-3323. Thank Scott, Parker Mustian, and Will Rambo for their dedicated service.
 
Norms for Worship
Those attending worship commit themselves to the following norms of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina:
 
  • If I have any symptoms associated with COVID-19, I will not attend in-person worship.
  • If I develop symptoms or am diagnosed after a liturgy, I will report it immediately to one of the clergy.
  • I will do my best to maintain distance of six feet from anyone outside my household and will refrain from shaking hands and hugs.
  • I will wash my hands immediately before coming to worship.
  • I will wear a mask while with the worshiping community.
 
In order to protect the vulnerable, we ask all worshipers, even those less concerned about their own health and safety, or who feel these norms are unreasonable or unnecessary, to follow them.