Brothers and Sisters of CMPC,
At its monthly meeting on Monday, June 15th, after much prayerful and careful consideration and conversation, the session voted to extend the closure of the church building until Saturday, September 12th.
We can assure you that this decision was not an easy one to make, but we feel it is the best way to keep our church family safe during this pandemic. We also feel making the decision now to extend the closure three months (instead of making a month-to-month decision) will allow us to focus more fully on maintaining and even improving our online worship experience and exploring other, safe ways to gather as a community.
Many, many factors were considered when making this decision and we feel it is important to share some of those so you can better understand why we have decided to extend the building closure.
- We remain committed to the truth that, though the church building may be closed, the church is by no means closed. As a church family we continue to care for one another. We continue to worship and are consistently encouraged by how many folks are joining us online—including old friends and family members who would not otherwise be able to join us in the church building. We continue to support important mission initiatives locally, nationally, and globally. We continue to gather virtually for study and fellowship. The church is still very much open!
- We recognize that if we were to return to in-person worship in the sanctuary the experience would fall woefully short of what most of us would consider inspiring worship. To keep one another (and especially the most vulnerable amongst us) safe we would have to:
- Limit the number of attendees to maintain proper social distancing
- Require that masks be worn
- Remove all of the pew contents (hymnals, bibles, cushions, etc.)
- Refrain from any singing (congregational, choir, or solos)
- Refrain from responsive liturgy
- Refrain from using printed bulletins
- Refrain from touching during passing of the peace
- Close the nursery and Sunday Experience and refrain from having children come forward during worship
- Refrain from passing offering plates
- Suspend the practice of the greeting line after worship
- Suspend the fellowship hour
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect the sanctuary, hallways, restrooms and other areas used
We also feel strongly that we would need to continue our worship livestream in order to include those unable and/or unwilling to attend in-person. Unfortunately, our current livestream set-up would not work in conjunction with in-person worship and thus some upgrades will be needed.
Though there may be some work arounds for a few of these items, the sum total represents a worship experience that would be far less than even what we are experiencing now. Thus, we much prefer to continue virtual worship until such a time that some or most of these restrictions can safely be lifted.
- With the warmer weather we believe we can find creative and safe ways to gather for other forms of worship as well as fellowship outside of the building itself. To that end, the committees of the church will be considering new and innovative ways to provide for gatherings on our grounds or perhaps in other outdoor areas that allow for community-building and connection.
These are challenging times and we recognize that we are all eager to get to the new normal that will include being together once again in this beautiful building. As the leaders of the congregation we simply do not believe that time is upon us yet and we are committed to doing what is right and safe for our brothers and sisters in faith at CMPC.
We covet your prayerful support and welcome your feedback.
Peace in Christ,
The Session of Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church
Janene Holzberg, Clerk
Scott Hoffman, Moderator