We are eager to welcome everyone back to worship at First Church starting on Regathering Sunday, September 12. Given ongoing concerns about the Delta variant, we’ve revised earlier plans and will now be offering a range of options, indoor and outdoor, in-person and online.
schedule for sundays, september 12, 19, and 26
First Worship on the Lawn
Outdoor Fellowship with coffee and donut holes
Choir Rehearsal in MJH
Informal outdoor activities led by staff and members
(i.e. brief Bible study, gardening on the lawn, etc.)
Sanctuary doors open
Hybrid Worship in the Sanctuary and live-streamed online
Popsicle Hour on the Lawn
At 9:45 a.m., we will offer First Worship on the Lawn. Sarah and Jaz will lead this casual, family-friendly, movement-oriented, joy-filled service for all, and especially for those who aren’t yet ready to worship inside. We will do our best to livestream this service on our First Church Facebook page.
At 10:15 a.m., folks are invited to stay after First Worship for coffee and doughnut holes, as well as other chances to connect before the sanctuary doors open at 10:45. Staff and members will offer informal outdoor activities such as a brief Bible study on the morning’s text, an opportunity to do some upkeep in the flower beds, and more.
At 11:00 a.m., we will offer Hybrid Worship in the Sanctuary. Join us for a special Come, All You Thirsty themed Regathering Service on September 12. No need to sign up; just come and plan to observe the safety protocols listed below and on signs at our Sanctuary entrances. If you or your family aren’t feeling ready for indoor worship just yet, there’s no pressure! Know that you are still more than welcome to join us via livestream.
At 12:15 p.m., we’ll be back on the lawn for Popsicle Hour!
We will continue to use Zoom for online small groups, committee meetings, and after-worship gatherings, especially when it rains! Stay tuned for more on those. Please do what feels most comfortable to you, and know that our offerings are subject to change based on case rates and emerging local and state public health guidelines.
GUIDELINES FOR GATHERING
- Masks Masks are required for everyone in our building, at all times. With the Delta surge, this now includes worship leaders and song leaders as well. We will have plenty of extra masks and hand sanitizer available at all doors. We may encourage masking at our outdoor gatherings, should we be unable to distance from each other due to the number of participants and space constraints.
- Social Distancing While inside the building, social distancing is required. Please read and follow all signage as you enter the sanctuary. Every other pew will be roped off. If you think someone is sitting too close, feel free to move or kindly ask them for more space. Sadly, there will be no hugging or handshakes, even with those who you think may be comfortable with it. Deacons greeters will be available to help remind everyone of our distancing protocols.
- Vaccination We strongly encourage everyone to be vaccinated, and we expect that the vast majority of our members over age 12 have received their Covid vaccination. Our entire staff has been required to be vaccinated or be tested weekly. Our stance on vaccination is in keeping with our deepest faith values that lead us to both welcome and care for the most vulnerable in our midst. Check here for more trustworthy information about vaccinations and how to get one if you haven’t already.
- Ventilation Doors will be kept open as much as possible (given street noise). Our sanctuary attic fans will be on to assure maximum ventilation.
- Singing For September at least, the congregation will be allowed to hum or sing hymns softly, with masks on. As of September 12, the Choir will be invited to warm up and rehearse one anthem at 10:15 a.m. in Margaret Jewett Hall. All Choir participants are required to be vaccinated, and they will be masked at all times. Please note, as well, that the service may have less singing and be a bit shorter than usual to minimize risk of transmission.
- Children and 11:00 a.m. Hybrid Worship For families that plan to attend Hybrid Worship in-person, we will offer Nursery care for infants and toddlers. Church School-aged children (preK-7th grade) will be invited to leave the sanctuary after the Passing of the Peace for an All-Church-School activity in MJH or on the lawn with Sarah and a few adult volunteers. Of course, children are welcome to remain with their adults in the sanctuary for the entire worship service, if they wish.
- Breakthrough Cases The threat of breakthrough cases for those who are vaccinated is real! Vaccinated or not, if you or someone in your family are showing symptoms or may have been exposed to someone with Covid, please stay home, and please let us know so we can pray for you and also protect others with whom you may have had previous contact.
We are not sure yet how the fall will go—no one is. But we are excited to learn from the experiences we create in September, and we will be assessing along the way, as we make our incremental return to in-person activity. We have exciting, though still tentative, plans for October and beyond, including pre- and post-service formation for all ages. For now, we are proceeding with caution, one step, and one month, at a time.