2021 Opening ~ Keeping it Simple
Emmanuel Church’s 133rd season is like no other…as we are still in the midst of the pandemic. The world has yet to return to “normal.” This is important for all of us to remember as we unlock the doors, open the windows, and greet one another this coming summer.
After the May Managing Committee meeting, along with further conversations with both Gideon and John, I think it best to start out as simple and effective as possible. Our discernment along with the well-vetted guidelines from the Diocese coupled with lots input helps us gather safely, regardless of vaccination status.
Here is the plan on opening up for indoor services beginning Sunday, June 27th:
- Masks are required and will be available along with hand sanitizer. This is non-negotiable with the Diocese.
- Physical Distancing will be set at 4 ft. apart and will give us a count of 63 inside the church. We need to count the service ministry team: the priest, organist, 2 readers, 2 ushers, and guest soloist(s) as part of this number. Unfortunately, indoor congregational singing will not take place. Again, this is non-negotiable for the time-being.
- Pews will have some type of marking to guide people where to sit. “Bubbles” of more than two may sit together. Ushers will be working with everyone. Best to get there early. First-come, first-seated…no reservations.
- Overflow and non-maskers are invited to sit outside on the Tiffany Window lawn, where they will hear the service via amplification and the priest will come outside to serve the host.
- Prayer Books and Hymnals will be available both inside and outside.
- Some chairs will be available outside. Best for regulars to bring their own chairs each Sunday, just in case the church is full, leaving the extra chairs for newcomers or those that forgot.
- Child Care will not be provided. Children are most welcome to the service and both priests will incorporate time in the service to speak with them.
- Entry into and departing from the church will be through separate doorways. Ushers will dismiss by rows at the end of the service. Those that need a little more time to exit will be dismissed after others have exited the building.
- New this year ~ a printed program with the readings will be available.
- Eucharist – Host Only. There is no need for a LEM (fewer hands on the sacraments). Priests will prepare the table for the Eucharist.
faculty and guest musicians will be performing in June-July and Bob Englund, our organist, is working on August-September musical guests. Walden School
- Coffee hour will not take place.
While I am pleased and relieved to finally present this plan, I realize that some may disagree with certain details. It is difficult to be all things to all people….and is frustrating if you try…trust me. Hence a “Keep it Simple” attitude in the beginning is best.
As I wrote in the appeal letter, this year will be filled with faith, along with a whole lot of flexibility and good humor. This being said, I have two requests:
1. We remain nimble this summer. As we gain confidence in the operation side of the services, we may want to expand. There are limits with indoor services and while outdoor services have lots more flexibility and are more hospitable, yet it would take added work on our part to pull-off. Some summer chapels are having difficulty recruiting enough volunteers. We need to be mindful of our capacity and the willingness of the congregation.
2. Following the first service, I want feedback, either by phone (603-532-9922), on the beach, over a cocktail or cup of coffee, or by email ([email protected]). If there is a problem, also suggest a way to change it. We are all in this together. No one person has all the answers.
Needless to say, we have come a long way since last year and we are ultimately grateful to be meeting face-to-face. Many have already been at work preparing the arrival of the Pollach and Branson families and the congregation.
Blessings to all as we prepare for our summer worship together.
With faith, flexibility, and humor ~
Ellen Avery, Senior Warden