First Congregational Church of Kent e-Spire
You might be interested in knowing that the painters are ever so slightly ahead of schedule as this week comes to an end, which means we remain on track for reopening the church on June 20th, which is just a couple of weeks away now. So, just to make sure we’re all together when it comes to reopening, I thought I would repeat my message from last week.
Well, if you’re looking for some good news in the midst of everything that seems to be going wrong with the world, I’ve got some good news for you–we’re going to be reopening the church on Sunday, June 20th!
Now, how’s THAT for good news?
Yes, on June 2oth we’re going to throw open the doors of the church at 10:00 in the morning, and we’re going to let anyone who shows up come on in! Although, once you get inside the doors there are going to be some rules you need to follow, so let’s go over them now, why don’t we?
First, as for masks and social distancing, its pretty simple: If you’ve gotten you GOVID-19 vaccine shots you don’t have to wear a mask or practice social distancing, and if you haven’t been vaccinated, you do have to wear a mask and practice social distancing. And if you have been vaccinated and want to wear a mask and socially distance, well, that’s fine, too. We want everyone to feel as comfortable as possible, and if you’ve been out shopping in the past week or so, you know there are still a lot of vaccinated people wearing masks in public, so if that’s what you want to do, that’s fine by us. Oh, and since so far no kids younger than 12 have been vaccinated, the masking and social distancing rules apply to them as well.
Two, once you get inside the church and the service starts, the big rule to follow will be this: No singing! We are sorry about this, but since we won’t have any idea who’s been vaccinated and who hasn’t been, this is an important precaution to keep people safe. For the time being, John Paul, Veralyn, and I sill supply the music, but as soon as we can let you all sing, we will!
That being said, you will be able to join in with the Opening Prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Call to Worship, which will make its return on the 20th as well.
Three, another thing we won’t be doing during the service is collecting an offering, since that requires passing the Offering plates, which everybody then has to touch. Oh, but don’t worry, we still your want your offerings, and there will be offering plates in the back of the Sanctuary so you can drop your offering off either on your way in or your way out! There will also be hand sanitizer available for folks who want to use that as well.
Four, as for Communion, we won’t be celebrating that until the first Sunday in July (which just happens to be Independence Day, by the way), but when we do, we won’t be serving people in the pews, as we traditionally have, and for the same reason we’re not going to pass the Offering plates–everybody would have to handle them! What we’ll do instead is serve Communion by intinction, where people will come forward to receive the bread and cup.
Five, there will a Fellowship Hour after service! Well, there will be on the days when its not raining, anyway, because the plan right now is to have Fellowship Hour outside–which, by the way, we can easily do because our brand-spanking new resin folding tables are so light we can easily move them outside!
Six, if, for whatever reason, you don’t feel comfortable coming back to church right away, don’t worry, we are going to continue livetreaming the worship service, and we will continue to offer Drive-through Communion on every Communion Sunday! Your view of the service will change, since we’ll have to move our video setup back into the balcony once we reopen, but the service will still be available live at 10:00, and then recorded on YouTube thereafter. And I want to stress this–if you’re not 100% comfortable with the idea of coming back to church right away, that is 100% OK! We’ll miss you, of course, but we completely understand. Some people are anxious to come back to church, and some people are more cautious, and whichever you are is just fine!
And finally, this last part isn’t a rule, but it is an answer to the question: “Why can’t we reopen before the 20th?” The answer is, we can’t reopen before the 20th because the painters don’t expect to be finished repainting the Sanctuary until the 11th. Assuming they’re actually finished by then, that will give us a week to make sure all the paint it dry (particularly the paint on the floor, which is going to get repainted last) and then get the church aired out and cleaned up before everyone is welcomed ack on the 2oth.
But really, this the important takeaway: Church is coming back, and its coming back on June 20th, and 10:00 am! See you then!
Our hymn of the week for this week is Jesus Shall Reign, which was written by the “Godfather of English Hymnody,” the great Congregationalist minister and hymnwriter Isaac Watts. Watts, who was born in 1674, is credited with writing over 750 hymns, including such perennial favorites as, O God, Our Help in Ages Past, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, and Joy to the World. Our hymn for this week, Jesus Shall Reign, reflects on of Watt’s favorite religious ideas: the sovereign authority of Jesus Christ over all Creations as the “Christos Pantocrator,” the King of the Universe