June 1, 2020
“Noah waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf. Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him” (Genesis 9:10- 12). This, by the way, is only a snapshot ofthe cautious re-surfacing ofNoah and his family. After realizing that the dove was not to return, Noah remained in the ark for another two months before finally setting foot on dry ground.
After much prayer and discernment, we’re finally ready to imagine the possibility of worship together this house of prayer beginning the weekend of June 13-14. As leaders in Christ’s Church, we are stewards of our community here at Trinity, as well as our greater community in St. Louis. This is not a stewardship we take lightly, and we will be taking every precaution to ensure the well-being of this community. With this in mind, and under the guidance of Mayor Lyda Krewson and the CDC, the first dove we will release into the wild will leave this ark of solitude under the following guidelines:
- Three Weekend Services Limited to Thirty (30) Families Each: In order to accommodate a limited capacity and to maintain proper social distancing, we will begin by offering “reservations” to be made online or over the telephone for thirty (30) families (1-7 individuals) to attend thirty (30) minute abbreviated services to be held Saturdays at 5:00 and Sundays at 8:15 & 10:15. We intend to assess the need to add or subtract services after four (4) weeks.
We will email the link for registration on Mondays, beginning June 8th.
- Logistics – Entrance & Exit: In order to facilitate the cleaning of our worship space before and after each service, we ask that you enter through the main sanctuary doors on the East (8th Street) side of Trinity’s campus, and plan to exit through the North doors onto Soulard Street. Our handicap doors will remain accessible for anyone who needs them.
- Logistics – Seating: Given our current pew capacity, we will mark off sections of every-other pew for individuals/families to sit. These spaces will be spaced intentionally and marked clearly to maintain acceptable social distance, as well as provide an ease of cleaning between services. Our ushers will be trained ahead of time to guide worshippers to their seats.
- Masks (Covering Nose & Mouth) Required: We will be requiring our worshippers over the age of nine (9) to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) masks (including home-made cotton masks) while in the building. While we will have a few masks available for those who don’t have one, supplies will be limited and we will ask that all worshippers provide their own.
- Clean Team: Throughout this transition process, Dianne Davis has agreed to spearhead our own “Trinity Clean Team” to disinfect and sanitize the sanctuary between services. To minimize the number of volunteers needed at each service, our ushers will assist in this effort.
- No Contact Worship & Communion: Each worship service will be limited thirty (30) minutes, and will require no more than a one-page printed handout worshippers to follow along. We’ll provide this, as well as our Eucharistic elements in a no-contact manner. Communion will be prepared ahead of each service by our staff, who will be wearing masks and gloves throughout preparation. Our offering will also be collected via plate on a table in the center aisle to minimize contact.
- Health-Screenings for Staff & Volunteers: All worship leaders, to include staff and worship leaders, will undergo regular health-screenings and temperature checks before each worship service.
- Online Worship Will Continue: For those at greater risk, or who might not feel comfortable gathering in groups for the time being, we will continue to offer online worship on our website and through our social media outlets.
- Bible Study & Sunday School Will Remain Virtual: Throughout this time oftransition, we will continue to offer home Sunday School materials, virtual Bible Studies, Spiritual Direction and Meditative Reading workshops through Zoom. As our city continues to slowly reopen, we will prayerfully develop strategies for offering these ministries as time and distance allow.
We remain convinced that during this strange season when the patterns and routines to which we’ve become accustomed; when our worship life and practice of Sabbath observance are long disrupted, that the Spirit of Peace finds her way into the self- imposed quarantine of a community under threat.
As we look toward rebuilding our own communal and liturgical life, we do so mindful that we are not “returning to normal,” but instead moving forward into a new and uncharted season of ministry. Held in the heart of God and guided by the Spirit of God, we will together discover the fullness of our “new normal” thankful to the One who orders all things according to God’s will. We will continue to update you as we adapt to this ever-changing landscape. Until then, all our love and prayers to each of you, and always –
Josh Hatcher Senior Pastor