Summer 2021 Worship – FAQ

“What about the new worship services?”

Frequently asked questions


1.  Are masks required for the sanctuary service? What about if I’m fully vaccinated?

Yes, masks are required for everyone in the sanctuary at all times. This includes staff and other speakers.

Here are the reasons why: there are people in our congregation who are ineligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes children under the age of 12 years and members with health conditions. It is also true that certain members, while vaccinated, are still under advisement from their doctors to wear masks in public due to their immune systems. Finally, while the data is encouraging regarding the effectiveness of the vaccines, the risk of transmission is still higher indoors for every person.

2.  Is the church on record as supporting vaccinations?

Yes, absolutely. In addition to wearing masks and practicing social distance, we can protect those people who are ineligible to be vaccinated is for every eligible person to receive the vaccine.

Let me quote the covenant that the session endorsed: “Chapel in the Pines will advocate for eligible people to receive COVID-19 vaccination.”

I will also add that, on our anonymous survey, 100% of the 70 respondents reported that they are fully vaccinated.

3.  Are masks optional for the outdoor service?

Once seated in your safety of circle, you may choose to remove your mask. We still ask that masks be worn upon arriving and exiting the service. The idea is something like outdoor dining where you wear your mask until seated at your table.

The session feels that the science is clear: there is very little risk of COVID-19 infection outdoors, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated. Yet, we understand some people feel more comfortable wearing masks.

4.  What about the air flow in the sanctuary?

Thankfully, the HVAC system at Chapel in the Pines is new. As part of the cooling cycle, fresh air from outdoors is introduced into the building.

We have also purchased HEPA filters.

5.  Will there be a limited capacity of attendees during the sanctuary service?

Yes. In order for social distance to be maintained, our current configuration of chairs allows for 100 people (this includes staff). However, more chairs can be added.

To help our preparation, please register in advance for either the outdoor or the indoor service through the link that is provided the week before.

6.  What about childcare?

The nursery remains closed. We are diligently working on policies and procedures. We are also upgrading our nurseries and classroom to allow more space.

During the service, children will remain with their parents and caregivers. This is a great opportunity for all God’s children to worship together!

The playground will be open before and after both services. The Christian Education committee has approved a covenant.

We are hoping to bring back the Sacred Arts table this fall.

7.  What about the music?

The risk of transmission while singing is significantly less outdoors.

For the 9:30 a.m. outdoor service, Jeremy will lead the hymns.

For the 11 a.m. indoor service, Daniel will play instrumentals on the piano and our bell choir will play anthems.

The likelihood of a ukulele making an appearance in either service is very low; however, due to popular request, I will continue to record the Sunday morning devotional.

8.  Why the change in worship times to 9:30 and 11?

The earlier start time will allow for more shade in the parking lot. Staff and volunteers need time between services to take down the audio equipment outdoors and prepare for the livestream indoors. This time between also allows for changeover between the two groups of worshippers. And for the staff to catch their breaths.

As a reminder, the 9:30 a.m. outdoor service will include sermon, scripture, hymns, children’s message and prayers. It will last roughly 45 minutes.

The 11 a.m. service will also include the same worship elements (other than the change in music mentioned above) and also last 45 minutes.

9.  What is the online option?

The 11 a.m. service will be livestreamed, which means you can watch from home as it happens. The recording will be promptly posted to our website after the service and available for viewing by that afternoon.

On the website, there are two different links for watching the livestream service at 11 a.m. and the recording afterward. If you get a message that “service is unavailable,” then please try the other link.

I’m happy to help with technical questions, but Zach Terry knows a lot more than me. Contact him here:

10.  Will we be back to “normal” by the fall?

I wish I knew! But I’m reminded of the scripture that God’s word is a “lamp unto our feet” (Psalm 119:105). We can only see the next step ahead. We walk by faith.

I will assure everyone that our plans will be continually reevaluated based on the latest scientific information. Your feedback and questions are always welcome.

Bonus question: Andrew, are you going to keep wearing shorts during the outdoor service?

To quote my daughter, “Dude, it’s supa hot out there!”