Evening Vesper service begin September 27
September 23, 2020
Here we are.
This letter is to announce the next phase of our church’s worship: Sunday evening vespers. Beginning this week (September 27), you and your family are invited to gather at 5:30 pm at Chapel in the Pines for worship outside our sanctuary. The full details have been summarized below by your elders on session. They have worked so hard to make this service as safe and as meaningful as possible.
But first allow me a few points:
The vespers service is NOT meant to replace our Sunday morning worship. Even though we have safety precautions in place, there are members of our community who will choose not to attend. We trust you to make the best choice for yourself.
We will continue to offer ALL of the programs we have been offering, including the Sunday morning devotional and the worship service video.
With that in mind, the vespers service is an addition to our worship schedule. The primary goal is to allow people the chance to worship together in our sacred space. As far as the content of the service, it will last 30 minutes. But I don’t want vespers to be a “lite” version of our Sunday service main course. Neither do I want it to be a mere performance by worship leaders.
So, I have been thinking creatively! There will be songs from outside the hymnal, folk songs as well as so-called secular songs. I hope to tap into the musical talents of parishioners who play various instruments.
I also plan to reflect on stories found outside of the Bible in Jewish and Christian traditions as well as legends from other cultures and religions. I admit this is unorthodox, but hopefully it piques your curiosity!
Each service will also include a chance for guided discussion between congregants within the worship itself. Of course, we will maintain social distance and keep our facemasks on.
As always, I am committed to my ordination vow: to serve the church with energy, imagination, intelligence, and love.
So, without further ado, here is the message from your elders with the full details. I hope to see you soon!
FROM SESSION :
Your session members write to you today to share great news. Elders and numerous volunteers from our congregation have been working to plan and implement our first in-person service since the pandemic began in March. We will offer an outdoor Vesper service which will allow those who are comfortable attending to experience worship in the church’s parking lot!
The first service will be Sunday, September 27, from 5:30 to 6 pm.
We want to provide this opportunity for us to worship God together. Great consideration has gone into this service with the health and safety of those who attend as a top priority.
Before we detail some of those measures and the expectations we will require of all attendees, we want to first and foremost say this: Your attendance or non-attendance will not reflect on your place as an important and valued member of this congregation. We trust you will do what you feel is in your best interests and we offer this service in addition to our virtual offerings, which will continue for the foreseeable future.
Vespers will be limited to 25 registrations to correspond to 25 carefully spaced 8′ circles with 8′ of space between each. Each “circle of safety” can accommodate the members of a single family.
Since we do truly believe we are all in this together, here is what we will expect from all in attendance:
- Please do not attend if you have a fever, cough or in any way feel sick.
- All attendees are required to register. Each family should only register once. – see below.
- All attendees are to wear a mask covering both their nose and mouth for the entire 30-minute service with the exception of children two and under.
- Social distancing is to be maintained at all times including upon arrival, in service, and during departure.
- Parents will be responsible to assure children follow all safety precautions.
- Children are to be “hug close” to a parent while in attendance. This is defined as being within an easily graspable distance to a child.
- For safety reasons, the playground will be closed. We ask that you talk with your children before attending and set this expectation. Parents are invited and encouraged to bring activities or even sidewalk chalk to decorate their circle and occupy their children. We will not have programming specific for children as part of the Vesper service, at least not initially.
- Participants are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs that they can manage on their own.
- Vesper service will be conducted outside. The service will be canceled if inclement weather threatens. Due to the availability of electrical power to the “pulpit,” the congregation will be seated facing the setting sun, so sunglasses are suggested and encouraged.
- Parking is available in the gravel lot or the lower left paved lot. The lower lot is closer and provides a smoother walking surface to the Vesper service area.
- We will have the Fellowship Hall bathroom available and it will follow this traffic pattern:
- One-way traffic – in at side door to kitchen; out double door at breeze way
- Door posting will note traffic flow and remind everyone to keep masks on at all times
If you would like to attend, we ask that you register here. Registration is open on a first come first served basis and will cut off after 25 registrations.
Once you register, you will be emailed a detailed summary of safety precautions and procedures in a bullet-point Microsoft Word document.
If, for any reason after you registered, you will be unable to attend, please contact Andrew as quickly as you can.
Please contact Andrew Taylor-Troutman with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (540) 239-7060
We move forward together with our watchword in mind:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (John 14:27)