What You Need to Know About In-person Worship

Epworth’s Reopening Taskforce has set and will continue to revise the church’s guidelines for in-person worship and church gatherings. Decisions consider federal and state pandemic guidelines and the needs of our community.

When did Epworth resume in-person worship?
Epworth returned to in-person worship Sunday, June 6! We continue to livestream our 10:00 a.m. online-only service for those who need or desire environments with less risk of exposure.

What does in-person worship look like?
Worship at 9:00 a.m. is held in the Fellowship Hall and 11:00 a.m. worship is in the Sanctuary. To prioritize safety, we will wear masks and seating will be designated to keep a distance of 6 feet between households. There will be a maximum of 75 people in the Fellowship Hall and 100 in the Sanctuary. An almost identical 35- to 45-minute worship service will be planned for both 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. We will stay in place to greet others during the passing of the peace, and offering may be dropped in the basket or offering plate at the entrance/exit to the worship space. We will show the order of worship on a screen instead of using bulletins.

Please follow the direction of the ushers who will record attendance and answer your questions. 

What is new?
3 important updates we want to bring to your attention:

  1. RSVP: We do not require households to RSVP for worship. Also, we are no longer requiring individuals to sign the Reopening Covenant. The covenant, which is applicable to all Epworth gatherings, will be shown on the screen at the start of worship.
  2. Hymns: Because we are wearing masks during indoor worship, we now invite the congregation to participate in the singing of the hymns (with masks on and socially distanced) during indoor worship.
  3. Eating: With the exception of the Intergenerational Sunday School, eating can occur outdoors with a safe distance of at least 6 feet. For the Intergenerational Sunday School, please feel free to bring a water bottle only.

Policies regarding mask usage and keeping at least 6 feet of social distancing stay the same.
In order to protect all in the congregation including children under 12 and the immunocompromised, all who are gathered indoors or who are in the presence of children are asked to wear a mask. As the body of Christ, we are called to be compassionate and model Christ’s caring for the most vulnerable among us. As John Wesley says in the General Rules of Methodism, we covenant to “do no harm.” Or as Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40) As the body of Christ we want to be inclusive of all our Epworth family.

If you have questions or thoughts please contact Pastor Karen or Pastor Charles. They are glad to discuss any aspect of reopening with you. We know there are differing opinions about the best path to take, and we have tried hard to strike a middle way that accounts for freedoms created by the vaccine and for reduced numbers of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, while also recognizing a still evolving pandemic and Christ’s mission of caring for the most vulnerable. We have looked for the best starting place, and we expect re-opening policies to change as even more information becomes available and as conditions evolve.

In Christ,
The Reopening Task Force