To the Saints of Northwoods,
For those who desire to attend worship in
person, it is a joy to share that we will begin holding regular worship
services in our sanctuary this Sunday, 31 May, at 0845 and l100! We will
also continue our live streaming of the services for those who desire to remain
For those who will attend, PLEASE READ
the approved guidelines by our Council of Ministry that are attached to this
message. To establish a safe environment, as we renew our face-to-face worship
services in the sanctuary, we strongly encourage you to embrace the
We are encouraging the wearing of masks and in
addition, asking that families sitting in our long rows, please leave a couple
of seats open between them. While the wearing of masks is not mandated, we
highly encourage their use. Seating will also be available in our fellowship
hall with the live stream of the worship service should additional space be
To support a safe environment for all who do
desire to worship in the sanctuary, we will minimize personal contact with each
other by implementing the following changes: a. we will not be practicing
the sharing of the peace as we have done in the past; b. we will not be having
the offertory; if you are not using electronic giving, there will be an
offering plate available in the foyer following the service; c. we will not use
bulletins or hymnals during worship; the liturgy, hymns and praise songs will
be shared electronically on the screens; d. while continuing the children's
story during worship, we will not be inviting children to the front of the sanctuary,
nor will we host children's church; e. we will not be offering a
fellowship/coffee hour prior to the services and f. lastly, we will not be
hosting a receiving line after each worship service.
During these challenging times, all the above
are encouraged for us to adopt to maintain a safe environment for those who are
willing and desire to return to worshipping in the sanctuary.
Thanks for your understanding and support of
We are excited for the opportunity to once
again worship in our sanctuary and online through the live streaming of our
Shelia Barth, Council of Ministry Chair
Northwoods United Methodist Church
Model for Renewing Face-to-Face Community and Worship
We will continue offering online worship services as
there will be some who are at high risk who decide not to join us, or others
who feel it is not yet safe for them to return even with the precautions we put
We will resume face-to-face worship during phase 2. The number of
people allowed in a large group gathering is to be
determined based upon our county and state guidance. When we resume
face-to-face worship, we will encourage those who attend to consider the
We will only gather back in the largest spaces on our campus: our Sanctuary and Fellowship
We will utilize gloved and masked door greeters to be in charge of opening and closing doors.
We will encourage worshippers to wear masks, but it will not be mandatory.
We will try to allow for ample space between worshippers, encouraging
four to six people per row, with a few empty seats and rows between
participants, to allow a healthy pattern of separation between families. We
will utilize our fellowship hall to accommodate for overflow.
All our liturgy, hymns, and praise songs will be done electronically
and shared on the screen during our worship services. There will be no
utilization of the hymnals. There will
be no bulletin.
We will not invite children to come forward for our children’s story
and during Phase 2 there will be no children’s church.
For Holy Communion we will be offering individual communion cups given out by communion
servers wearing gloves and masks.
During phase 2 we will not have the Offertory. We will ask people to drop their
tithe in the offering plate, located in the foyer, as they depart and encourage
on-line giving. Tammy, our financial
secretary, will oversee the security of the offering.
We will not pass the peace.
We will not be offering a fellowship/coffee hour.
We will not engage in a receiving line
We will continue to offer livestream/worship recordings for those who cannot
or choose not yet return to worship.
Sunday School, Small Groups and Faith Formation:
We recommend against offering Vacation Bible School this summer. While the risk to children is somewhat lower,
there is an ongoing risk of them carrying the virus back home
and sharing it with other family members. Whether or not they are symptomatic,
someone who is infected can spread the virus.
Similarly, we will not encourage Sunday school to meet this summer. If any adult class desires to
meet we highly encourage them to practice social distancing and minimize any
Pastoral Care continues to be offered through phone calls, online
gatherings, letters, etc. Some one-on-one gatherings may resume while
maintaining social distance. Nursing homes and hospitals will
likely continue to have restrictions for visitation in place.
Our church office will continue to remain open. We will
encourage all visitors to practice safe distancing and wear masks while
visiting the church secretary, financial secretary, and pastor.
Church councils and other leadership teams of less than 25 will
consider meeting in person in our fellowship hall while wearing masks and
maintaining social distancing.
For the safety of all involved, we will not permit the utilization of
our church facilities during Phase 2.
We will endeavor to maintain a good stock of tissue, soap, hand
sanitizer and disposable paper towels for drying hands.
We will continue the cleaning of our buildings
regularly, paying extra attention to high-touch surfaces and restrooms.
Encouragements for Pastors and Church Staff:
Pastors, staff, and leaders must realize we are in this for the long haul, rather than
rising to meet an emergency/crisis.
Pastors, staff, and leaders must model healthy boundaries (regular times to unplug,
regular days off, ability to unplug, etc.)
Pastors, staff, and leaders must tend to their own mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.