REOPENING AFTER CLOSURE (St.John)



Attending the Divine Service during this time of a pandemic is a personal choice that each one needs to make for themselves without guilt or any repercussions.  We will not forbid anyone from coming to worship, but if you are concerned, we understand if you stay home.

The Divine Service will continue to be recorded and available for viewing on our website, Facebook and YouTube for those who are not yet comfortable gathering in person and to help protect those who should continue to avoid large gatherings.  We will continue transmitting the service over 95.1 FM, so an alternative to coming into the church building would be to park outside the church and worship in your car.   

If you are feeling ill, if you have had symptoms in the last 14 days, if anyone in your household has had symptoms or is ill, or if you have any concern that you have been exposed to the virus, please stay home for the care and safety of everyone. 

In light of the guidelines from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) we are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of everyone who attends.  We recommend the following : 

We are encouraging you to wear a mask at this time out of consideration for others.   The CDC advises when in public to protect yourself and others, a properly fitted cloth face covering should be worn.  Masks are especially recommended for singing. 

Be diligent in covering your mouth with a tissue when coughing, or please cough into your elbow.

Wash your hands with soap and water often.  Refrain from touching your face.

The CDC defines individuals most vulnerable to infection as:  the elderly (those over 65) and individuals with underlying health conditions including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune system is compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy. 

The following changes will be implemented until further notice

  • Social distancing will be in place.

  • Everyone will be asked to enter the church through the center sanctuary doors and to exit using

       the side doors in the back.  There will be an usher at the lobby door for those who need to use the

       elevator.

  • As you come into the church please move directly to the sanctuary to sit.  

  • Please do not linger inside the church after the service.

  • Seating will be in every third pew, keeping 6 feet between households.

  • Overflow seating will be set up in the fellowship hall.  Please follow CDC social distancing guidelines, again keeping 6 feet between households.

  • Please refrain from hand-shaking and other forms of physical contact not within your household.  

  • Hand sanitizer will be available as you enter and exit the church.

  • Hymnals have been temporarily removed from the pews.  

  • If you wish you may bring your own personal hymnal.

  • No bulletins will be printed.  The order of service will be printed online, and you may download it to your phone or print your own copy.  The entire service will also be displayed on the screen.

  • We will also post the weekly calendar and announcements online.  You will receive a text message with the link.  If you don't have a cell phone and wish to receive the announcements, make sure we have an updated e-mail address.

  • Visitor sign in book will be temporarily put away.

  • The offering plate will not be passed but will be located on a table at the side door as you exit.

  • Please be patient and wait to be ushered out and allow the ushers to let you know when appropriate distances have been achieved for the next household to proceed.

  • Water fountains will not be in use.

  • If possible, we ask that you use the restrooms one at a time.  Wash your hands for 20 seconds before leaving the restroom.

  • Service time will be limited initially to 30-45 minutes.

  • The sanctuary will be closed Thursday, Friday, and Saturday except for communion setup.  This eliminates the possibility of the virus remaining active on surfaces for Sunday morning. 


Communion

Communion services at St. John will resume July 5.  If you wish to commune but are not comfortable or able to attend live services at this time,  please contact Pastor Merrill and he will set up a time for you to privately commune.  Phone:  712-678-3630 (office) or 712-269-0576 (cell);  e-mail:  stjohnpastor@frontiernet.net.

Communion procedure during service:

Communion will be semi-continuous.  An usher will send up one pew at a time from each side.  You will approach the chancel from the center aisle.  Another usher will direct you to move to the chancel steps – leaving space between households.

Proceed in a single file line to your side of the chancel, remain standing, no kneeling  (the communion rail has been temporarily removed).

Pastors and Elders will sanitize their hands right before distributing communion.  Wafers will be in individual containers.  Wine cups will be spaced out every other opening to avoid touching more than one cup accidentally.  

Everyone at the table will individually receive the wafer and then an individual cup, then exit the chancel area via the outside aisle and return to your seat.  A receptacle will be placed to each side for you to place your used container and cup.   

Once everyone has been through communion and is seated Pastor will speak a final blessing of the sacrament to the whole congregation and we will continue with the post-communion prayer.


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