Letter from Pastor John

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd

40 Holmes Street, Red Deer, Alberta  T4N 6L6

Phone: 403-340-1022

 

In person worship reopening update: June, 2021

Special Notice:

To all of our beloved members and adherents, the peace of Christ be with you all.

Good Shepherd’s Reopening Committee met on Saturday, June 5, to draw up a reopening proposal for our congregation in response to the new Provincial Phase in to a complete reopening of the province. On June 10, it was announced by our Premier, that we would enter into Phase 2 of the reopening strategy. For worship communities the affect would be to open to 1/3 of the Sanctuary’s capacity effective June 13. The Committee and our Church Council decided to reopen in a more cautious manner and passed a motion to initiate the following process.

Also, to be properly prepared and to continue to make sure our volunteers who do the recording have time to adjust to our new “live-streaming” equipment, we are looking at finally going back to Sunday morning worship on June 20, 10:30 a.m., live-streaming the service  directly onto our YouTube site in real time.

Since it’s our first fully live-streamed service, we are looking at this service as a bit of a practice run. This will be true for June 27 as well. Though it will be “practice”, it will still be an actual live worship service you can participate in. Simply go to our YouTube site at 10:30 a.m. or after and it will be there.

Opening our doors for public, in-person worship will commence on July 11, with worship beginning at the usual 10:30 a.m., with some restrictions that you’ll see below.

 

So, our long-term reopening schedule will look like this:

June 20 – Worship at Good Shepherd (live-streamed from here on; join us on YouTube)

June 27 – Worship at Good Shepherd (live-streamed; join us on YouTube)

July 4 – Pre-recorded worship at Camp Kuriakos, led by camp staff along with Pastor John. This

            service will be the worship service on our YouTube site for this Sunday.

July 11 – Worship at Good Shepherd, open to all with some restrictions.

               *At this point, everyone is welcome to come, although we do for now, recommend that those 12 years and older have been vaccinated at least once. Some restrictions while in the building will still apply (unless otherwise stated in the future), like wearing of face masks, distancing inside and outside the church building, hand sanitizing, entering through the front door and exiting through the side door.

July 18 – August 29 – Worship at Good Shepherd, open to all (1/3 capacity) *Please note that according to a recent assessment by our local Fire Marshal, our capacity is 350 people, so our 1/3 capacity is 116 people.

September 5 – Worship at Good Shepherd resumes without restrictions provided there is no return to restrictions in the province.  ALLELUIA!!

In September you can look forward to a special celebration of reopening as well as a return to Sunday School, Confirmation and other programming. We will also have a service of remembrance and grieving to remember all the loses we have had with no opportunity to grieve as a community.

 

As mentioned above, we will carry on with some of the restrictions even as we open to 1/3 capacity:

  • Initially, we will enter through the front glass doors, sanitize your hands upon entering, and proceed to the sign in table to sign in. (there will be an usher in the foyer to help)
  • Please continue to wear a mask throughout, until further notice. Masks are available at the entrance.
  • Only every other row of pews will be available for seating. These will be marked. You may sit with another cohort family.
  • There will be a place for depositing your offering at entrance to the sanctuary. You are still welcome to send your offerings as we did during this past year through e-transfer, automated withdrawals, or mail.
  • Movement in the foyer and in the Sanctuary will be lovingly directed by our ushers.
  • There will not be a Coffeetime following worship, at least for the time being.

Worship notes:

  • For the time being, we will still be restricting singing and liturgical responses to our worship team. You are welcome to hum along, worship in the quiet of the heart.
  • Share the peace with a wave, a nod, a bow or other method that doesn’t involve physical touch. No hugging (sorry huggers!)
  • No hymn books will be available in the pews.
  • The washrooms in the foyer will be open for use. Simply exit through the sanctuary door to the foyer, and be sure to sanitize your hands before and after you have used the washroom.
  • Holy Communion will be celebrated. You will receive instructions during the service.
  • Children will not be asked to come to the front for the children’s message.
  • We exit the worship area after the service out the front exit doors in the sanctuary. Conversation and hellos can happen outside in the parking lot, but remember to observe the 2m distance.
  • For those in wheelchair or unable to manage the steps at the front exit, please wait and an usher will direct you back out the front entrance.

 

For the ongoing safety of all of our people, these further guidelines are important.

  • We will be live-streaming our worship, so if you do not want your face broadcast on our YouTube site, don’t stop your participation. Simply sit out of the camera lines.
  • Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or have been on international travel (includes the U.S.) in the past 14 days, or has had close contact with someone who is known to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days, is asked not to attend.
  • Those with underlying medical conditions should be aware that, although risks are diminishing, they are still entering a risk area by joining in the in-person worship.

Though the safety procedures may seem stringent compared to the province’s planned summer opening, our council (and reopening committee) would still stress some caution in keeping all our members safe.

Sunday School will reopen as well, but not until September. We do have a summer day camp experience planned with staff from Camp Kuriakos, scheduled for July 19-23, for ages 6-11. You will hear more information later in June. Please do consider volunteering for this event by phoning Darlene or Teri in the church office.

 

When has the prospect of life as “normal” ever felt like such a blessing? May we come upon that feeling soon. In some ways we will never operate the same again. May we also see what great opportunity comes from this past year. God bless the lessons we learn.

Peace in Christ,

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd Council

Reopening Committee

Pastor John