Good Afternoon Church Family,
Starting this Sabbath we are pleased to be able to assemble together in each other’s presence once again, to worship God at each respective church! Although worship procedures won’t be exactly the same as they were before the coronavirus outbreak, we are encouraged by the fact that we will be able to be in each other’s presence.
For most of us the adjustments in worship protocol will be a bit awkward; and getting used to them may take a little effort. We hope these changes are temporary and that sometime in the not-too-distant future we can return to normal. Only time will tell.
It is important to keep in mind that there has been a wide variety of opinions as to the level of seriousness with which one ought to approach this pandemic. Some take a hyper-cautious approach and think it best that church never reconvene. Others think this is a conspiracy by some earthly power that be, and we should have never closed. Most people fall somewhere in between. We must all learn to respect the differing attitudes, and as a group, err on the side of caution.
Preparations prior to this Sabbath
1. The whole church was cleaned thoroughly, and will be cleaned thoroughly each week.
2. Air conditioning units will have HEPA filters installed and replaced regularly
3. Hand sanitizer will be provided
4. Extra masks will be on hand in case someone forgot theirs at home.
1. Sabbath School will still be from home in order to minimize the time people are exposed to each other at the church. It will take place via Zoom from 9:00-10:00 am on Sabbath morning. A link will be sent out each Friday night to this email list.
2. When Sabbath School ends, people then will have about an hour to travel to church for Sabbath service.
1. The Sabbath service will be broadcast live via Zoom (or a similar service) to give everyone the chance to see and participate from the safety of home. You can watch the live Sabbath service from home via the zoom link or listen via a provided phone number. The link information will be sent out each Friday evening.
2. For those who attend, proper social distancing will be followed. A 6ft distance or more will be expected between each person in attendance.
3. No handshakes, nor hugs. As difficult as this may seem, this must be strictly followed. We all wish to greet each other in the best way we know how. However, once we let our emotions get the best of us, and throw caution to the wind, many others will follow suit. This puts unnecessary pressure on others who wish to keep safe distance.
4. Those who are sick, have a fever, or show any covid-19 symptoms must stay home.
5. Your temperature will be taken at the door with an infrared thermometer, and anyone with a fever will be sent home.
6. Face masks are required to be worn by everyone while in the church building – no exceptions. If you are unable to wear a face mask, you can watch the live Sabbath service from home via the zoom link. Remember, face masks are primarily so that the one wearing the mask doesn’t project the virus in the air. It is primarily for the safety of others, and secondarily for one’s own protection. Since symptoms are not always present in a covid-positive person (asymptomatic), yet an asymptomatic person is still capable of spreading the virus, we must all wear a mask whether we show symptoms or not, or whether we believe this is true or not.
7. Every other pew will be closed off to maintain 6ft of space.
8. Families will stay together.
9. Children’s story will be given from the platform and the children will stay with their families in the pews.
10. There will be a plastic shield at the pulpit to allow the preacher to speak without projecting into the air.
11. Since singing is a primary means of projecting the virus, there will be no congregational singing. Music will be limited to a piano player and one song leader behind the pulpit shield. Or perhaps by a video.
12. Please bring your own Bibles. Bibles and hymnals in the pews will be temporarily removed to eliminate potential shared points of contact. Words will be placed on the screen when necessary.
13. No bulletins will be passed out for the same reason as the Bibles and hymnals. In Three Angels there will be a spill-over room with a TV screen for viewing, if needed.
After Sabbath Service
1. Those in attendance will be dismissed one row at a time by the deacons.
2. There will be no fellowship meal.
3. Outdoors in the parking lot, masks need not be worn, if 6ft distance is maintained.
4. Church will be thoroughly cleaned before the next service.
5. There will still be the 7pm Wednesday evening district prayer meeting via Zoom.
6. We will try to keep the Friday and Saturday evening vesper services continuing via Zoom.
Additional Information for Meriden Church:
1. All who attend need to enter through the back door and exit out the front door. The side door will be locked. This is to eliminate any congestion. Just to clarify, the door that you will be entering is the one that leads downstairs, down the ramp. Upon entering you will go use the stairs on the left side to go up to the sanctuary.
2. Regarding prayer requests during service prayer time, we will use the list from Friday night Zoom vespers, so as not to have to take requests from the floor. Any additional requests can be texted to the platform elder on Sabbath morning.
As the weeks go on, we will reassess the situation and make appropriate adjustments as needed. Although we are doing our best to mitigate risk and make your worship experience as safe as possible, it must be understood that you enter at your own risk.
It is my prayer that these temporary, uncomfortable conditions of worship do not discourage you from attending and joining us in the service on Sabbath.
I am looking forward to seeing you soon, and “May you prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2
Blessings in Christ,
Michael Pelletier, Pastor
Newington Three Angels, Meriden and Middletown-Portland Seventh-day Adventist churches of CT
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7