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My dearest sisters and brothers in Christ—
Given the realities of COVID-19, as you can imagine, there are many protocols and restrictions we have in place, to protect everybody. It is a time for us to sacrifice some personal liberties for the sake of protecting the body of Christ.
You can read here the official protocol that has been prepared to help us reopen safely:
Key scripture: Galatians 6:1-5
As you read this scripture verse, you will see that the Apostle Paul instructs us about life in a congregation that is shaped by the loving leadership of Jesus. Paul tells that by acting in Jesus’ love, we “fulfill the law of Christ.” In this passage, the Apostle says both that we should “Carry each other’s burdens,” but he also says that “Each one should carry their own load.” In this time of the threat of the Coronavirus, this means we should look out for and protect each other (“Carry each other’s burdens”), but that we should also each make our own decisions about the amount of personal risk we want to take as we participate in public events at Union Church, like a worship service (“Each one should carry their own load”).
Therefore, the purpose of this protocol is to help us to receive God’s blessings and wellness, by taking all the necessary steps to protect each other during this pandemic. While each Christian has their own individual freedom and responsibility, everyone who wants to participate in public worship at Union Church must follow ALL these steps, or you will not be allowed to participate. We will “fulfill the law of Christ” by sacrificing our own liberties for the sake of protecting our sisters and brothers in Christ at Union Church by following this protocol.
1. Reservations are no longer required. However, transportation services are still not available at this moment.
2. The use of Face masks is mandatory while within church premises and a minimum distance of 6 feet must be kept at all times from those that are not attending with you.
3. The gates of the building will open at 10:00AM. If you arrive earlier, you must wait in your car or outside.
4. Attendees MUST have their temperature taken. If your temperature is higher than 100.4˚F or 38˚C, you won’t be allowed to enter the Sanctuary; you MUST use hand sanitizer at the “Shalom Table” (the Reception table just inside the front gate), and complete a COVID-19 safety survey.
5. There is a system to enter and exit the sanctuary. If you come with other family members you will be seated together, at least six feet distant from other worshipers. Children will remain with their parents at all times. You must remain in your assigned seat for all the duration of the service. At the end of the service you will exit as instructed.
6. If you need to use the restrooms, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and use the paper towel to open the doors that you encounter on your way back to the pews. Please inform an usher or the maintenance staff for proper sanitation after use.
7. There will be no congregational singing since this has been found to facilitate the spread of the virus.
8. There will be no Hospitality Table or Fellowship Time after worship. Everyone must exit the church premises at the end of the service.
Please stay home and contact your doctor if: you have symptoms associated with COVID-19, if you have been in contact with someone with these associated symptoms, if you have traveled during the past two weeks, or have been in contact with anyone traveling.
If you don’t want to follow this protocol then please wait until the pandemic subsides before you return to our face to face worship. You can still participate via Facebook live (www.facebook.com/UnionChurchSJ/live).
We will “fulfill the law of Christ” by sacrificing our own liberties for the sake of protecting our sisters and brothers in Christ at Union Church. - Pastor Marc Miller