Dear Members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church,
It is with cautious hope that I write this letter. On June 15th, 2020, your church council voted to approve a plan to resume in-person worship. This plan was the result of a lot of reading, research, prayer, and conversation. On July 5th, we will hold our first in-person worship service since March. In many ways, this is an exciting step; at the same time, I want to urge you all to be realistic with your expectations of what in-person worship will require and how it will look. Below you will find sections from the reopening plan that was approved by the council.
Care for those that do not return:
1. Digital ministry will continue. Weekly digital service will continue to be posted online on the St. Paul’s Facebook page.
2. Church by phone will continue for those without access to Facebook.
3. Weekly phone calls from council members will continue. These phone calls are to provide a continued connection to members that have not returned to worship. These phone calls also serve the purpose of helping the congregation stay aware of the needs of these individuals.
Individual Requirements: As individuals decide to come into the building for in-person gatherings, the following must be followed for attendance. All individuals must:
o Wear a mask in when attendance. Not wearing a mask or taking the mask off while inside the church building will result in the individual being asked to leave.
o Observe proper physical distancing of at least 6’ feet.
o Agree to have their temperature taken before entering. A temperature of 100.2 or higher will result in the individual not being able to attend.
o When entering, utilize the hand sanitizing station, meaning using a sanitizing wipe first and then applying liquid/gel sanitizer.
o Follow instructions from ushers related to entering and leaving the building.
o Sit in the designated pews as they are marked; this may mean not sitting in “your pew.”
o Only sit with members of your household.
o Place offering in the collection plates either on your way in or out of the sanctuary.
o Have signed an Assumption of the Risk and Waiver of Liability Relating to Coronavirus/COVID-19 form. UPDATE: The signed waiver is no longer required. Important notices will be posted at the entrances to the Church regarding COVID19 protocol.
o Refrain from shaking hands, hugging, or any other form of physical contact with those that are not in your household.
o Refrain from congregating anywhere on church property either before or after worship, or other activities.
o Complete and have on file at the church Assumption of the Risk and Waiver of Liability Relating to Coronavirus/COVID-19. Please bring this form already filled out and signed to the first in-person gathering you attend.
What will worship look like?
Worship will not be the same as it was before we had to close the building, at least for a while. When we gather again, the following will be in place:
For at least the first month after reopening the church building, the following will be in place:
o Service attendance will be limited to 50% of capacity or what is feasible within the space of the sanctuary while observing physical distancing (whichever comes first). UPDATE: Effective 9/4/20, Governor Hogan has regraded the COVID reopening plan to Stage 3. Capacity will increase to 75%.
o No congregational singing. If music is played during worship, it will be instrumental only. The resumption of singing will be based upon recommendations from singing/music/performance associations. UPDATE: Beginning September 6th, we will resume singing one hymn at the end of the service.
o Communion will not resume at the same time as in-person gathering. While the logistics of regathering are fine-tuned, and we adjust to the new realities, we will continue to fast from the Lord’s Supper. UPDATE; Pastor Greg is now distributing Communion for us to share after we exit the Sanctuary.
o The liturgy that we will be following will be the Service of the Word or a prayer service with no sung responses. UPDATE: We have returned to the Brief Order for Confession and Forgiveness.
o Congregation members will be invited to speak the spoken responses quietly in the liturgy.
o The necessary items for worship, including the celebrate inserts, announcements, and liturgy, will be in the pews.
o Ushers will direct families to be seated from back to front before service.
o Ushers will dismiss pews from front to back at the end of service.
The church council asks that you observe these protocols to keep everyone that is attending safe. These protocols are a way we can live into our calling to care for others and to put their needs ahead of our own. Jesus continually points towards love for the neighbor as a defining characteristic of his followers. During this time of the pandemic, we are practicing our Christian discipleship by following protocols put in place with the intent to keep others safe and healthy while they are attending in person worship. In addition to being rooted in our calling from Christ, these protocols are based upon current recommendations from the State of MD, Frederick County Government, Brotherhood Mutual (our insurance provider), and guidance from both the synod and ELCA churchwide offices.
We will be continually monitoring these recommendations as well as the status of Covid-19 in our county, state, and nation. As things progress, we will make decisions related to what protocols are necessary.
God’s Peace be with you, Pastor Greg Hartman
Pastor Greg Hartman, Presiding Minister for the South Mountain Shared Ministry (Bethany Lutheran, Brunswick, and St. Paul's Lutheran, Burkittsville) will be offering an on-line worship opportunity for this Sunday's service.
You may join us in worship at 11:15 a.m. on the FaceBook pages for Pastor Greg Hartman and St. Pauls' Evangelical Lutheran Church Burkittsville Maryland.
This service will also be available on YouTube (Pastor Greg Hartman) on Sunday morning.
Pastor's Weekly Schedule:
Tuesday - Office hours at St. Paul's (Burkittsville) from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Wednesday - Pastor Greg creates a weekly personal prayer list (although it can always be added to), so if you have anything you would like him to add to his prayer list please feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayer Requests: Please join me in praying for the following:
-Bucky and Brenda
-All those that are struggling with the toll that the current time is having on mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
-Those that are in the medical field
-All Front-line workers
-Those that have had life milestones disrupted especially those graduating from high school, and other institutes of learning.
Wednesdays, Until further notice - Virtual Lunch with the Pastor, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Even with the easing of a few restrictions with COVID-19 it is our understanding from Bishop Gohl that it will be a while before we are able to gather again in person. Pastor Greg would like to try something “new” on Wednesday next week. On Wednesday, May 13th from 11:30am until 1:00pm Pastor Greg is going to set up a Zoom meeting space for “Lunch with Pastor”. This is normally the time he would have his public office hours at Beans in the Belfry”
You can join us on zoom at:
Meeting ID: 771 139 3338
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Meeting ID: 771 139 3338
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Upcoming Services and Events: (dates and locations are subject to change)
Thursday, October 29th - South Mountain Shared Ministry meeting, 7 p.m., Parish Hall
Saturday, October 31st - Pre-order cut off date for Country Kitchen Carry out event.
Saturday, November 7th - Pickup pre-ordered food, Parish Hall, 9 to noon.
Monday, November 9th - St. Paul's Church Council Meeting, 7 p.m., Parish Hall
Saturday/Sunday, November 21st & 22, Fall Craft Show CANCELLED
Sunday, December 6th - Hanging of the Greens, 11:15 Worship Service
Sunday December 6th - Lighting of the Town Christmas tree, tba
Sunday, December 20th - Blue Christmas (Love Lights) memorial worship service, 11:15
South Mountain Heritage Society has many events scheduled for the remainder of the year. Check out their Fall newsletter to see upcoming events. https://mailchi.mp/c217fbc2fbbb/upcoming-events-in-and-around-burkittsville-2770181?e=3ec40d5aa5
Do you use FaceBook? Check out our page, St. Pauls' Evangelical Lutheran Church Burkittsville, Maryland. We would love to have you like and follow our page.