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New Fall Worship Schedule at Tri-Lakes UMC
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As we continue to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, and as the fall weather pushes us back indoors after a great summer of outdoor “drive-in worship,” we are making some changes to our worship schedule and offerings for the next few months. I still see these as temporary changes and, as we did with outdoor worship, I expect us to make some adjustments along the way.

 

Our schedule on Sundays will look like this to start:

 

8:00am – ONLINE – “The Table” – pre-recorded worship experience

 

9:30am – IN-PERSON AND LIVESTREAM – Communion Service in the Sanctuary (limited to 40 persons)

 

11:00am – ONLINE – “The Table” – rebroadcast

 

Here’s a brief summary of how these will work each week:

 

table logo 3 01 1 640x640“The Table” is an online worship experience that we have created that allows for more connection with our church family while providing the content of the weekly message. The broadcasts will take place on our online platforms at 8:00 and 11:00 am Mountain, but will also be available for on-demand viewing. We’re putting together some really interesting video segments to go along with Scripture reading, the message, music, and prayers. I think you’ll find this to be a fun way to connect with TLUMC on a weekly basis.

 

The Communion Service will be an in-person option as well as available via live stream at 9:30 am. Given social distancing requirements and the fact that many of our folks are still staying safe at home, we’re going to begin with one of these services each week and, if demand requires, we may expand to more times on Sunday morning. The service will use a variety of communion liturgies, starting with the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (which was the basis for Wesley’s “Sunday Service of the Methodists”). There will be Scripture readings, prayers, a brief sermon (different from the main sermon broadcast on “The Table”). I anticipate this service to last 30-45 minutes. It will be a bit different from a “normal” service in a few ways:

  • Properly worn masks will be required for everyone except when consuming the communion elements. This is a state and Conference requirement at this time and we will maintain this practice for the safety of all participants. This is an opportunity for us to “watch over one another in love” by doing a simple act. Our continuation of indoor, in-person worship services will be contingent upon everyone adhering to this practice.
  • Entry and exit doors will be designated and hand sanitizing stations present as you enter and exit.
  • We will have no music or corporate singing initially. Guidelines still point out that corporate singing has the potential to spread the virus more easily in enclosed spaces, so we will hold off on that for now. We are also trying to limit the number of staff and volunteers needed for the service so as to allow more capacity for worshippers.
  • Pre-registration will be required since there are only 40 seats available. Staff will group seats according to those who register and place communion elements and a bulletin on each chair prior to your arrival. We will need to see how registrations progress in order to determine our future schedule. If we consistently fill up this initial communion service, we will likely add additional in-person options.
  • We do plan to “extend the table” to those who would like to receive communion but are still staying safe at home. Those who desire this option will need to email Pastor Jason () by Wednesday noon prior to the service.

As with everything during this pandemic, these services will be an “experiment.” They are not what we are used to, nor are they what we ultimately long for, which is a return to full in-person worship. We recognize that we will need to make adjustments to changing circumstances and to participation levels in the interim. We ask for your continued patience and cooperation as we navigate this, and I want to personally thank you for the ways our congregation has stayed resilient and supportive thus far. We know that things like mask mandates and social distancing are controversial for some, but we’re going to ask you to suspend judgment on those things and help us by adhering to the guidelines as you participate in worship. We take our cue from the Apostle Paul: “Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another” (Romans 14:13).

 

We also encourage you to think creatively. Perhaps you’d like to start your own “home church,” gathering a few socially-distanced friends together to watch our online services and then use our Devotional Guide for discussion. Think about starting an online group with friends and family to do the same. The upside of the pandemic is that it’s reminded us that we have a lot of options in how we can connect with others and share our faith across the miles.

 

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We look forward to seeing how God will use these new worship experiences for His glory!



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