Dear Members of Ascension,
As you may have heard, we are re-starting in-person worship services this Sunday! We thank and praise God, who, in his power and grace, seems to be diminishing the strength of the corona virus nationwide. We are still advised to follow public health guidelines, which is what this communication is all about.
There will be the usual two services at the normal times, 8 AM and 10:30 AM. We will NOT celebrate Holy Communion on June 7th but we will on June 21st. The reason for the delay in the Sacrament is that we want to be able to explain the new Communion procedures at two worship services before we actually celebrate the Sacrament. Please bear in mind that any communicant member of our church can receive Holy Communion privately by simply calling me for an appointment. What follows is a letter from your President, Tom Zamzow:
June 3, 2020
Greetings to everyone in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Over the past several weeks, your church council has been working with Pastor Spaude to determine when we will return to in-person worship services at church. We have reviewed WELS synod guidelines and contacted the Langlade County Health department to make sure we are following local guidelines. This document provides a summary of how we are adjusting some of our Sunday morning routines to better align with recommended social distancing practices.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the way we conduct services will look different for an undetermined time. There are a few things we should try to keep in mind during this period. Our federal, state, and local authorities are not attempting to deny our freedom of religion or First Amendment rights. They are trying to protect us and those most vulnerable to this disease by limiting person to person contact. As Christians we have been taught by Jesus to put others first and love them as we love ourselves. With that in mind, here is what our services will look like.
Please do not feel obligated to attend. If you are not comfortable attending, that's ok. Please stay home if you are not feeling well.
Please enter the church and sit front to back.
Social distancing will be in place with rows separated by 6 feet.
Singing of the liturgy and hymns will continue, some hymns may be shortened to three or four verses.
Services will be limited to 50 people or less as per local Health Department guidelines.
Ushers/greeters will be attending the entrance doors.
There will be no hymnals, bulletins, or friendship registers. Everything will be displayed on the screen. You may bring your hymnal from home.
Masks are encouraged but not required.
Families may sit together. Chairs will be in rows, six feet apart. If you are in the same row as another non-family person, please distance yourself by approximately three chairs.
We encourage all to use restroom facilities at home to minimize use of the church lavatories. Restroom facilities will be sanitized after each service.
Communion will be served during the service time. These arrangements will create a consistent serving pattern and traffic flow during the communion service.
Ushers will dismiss groups of four or two family groups for communion.
Communicants will walk back to the fellowship area and then return to the front of the church using the aisle along the west wall.
The bread and wine will be arranged in individual servings on napkins on a table below the hymnal board. Communicants will take the bread and wine to the communion area.
Maintaining the recommended distance of six feet Pastor will then continue with the words inviting you to “Take and eat…” “Take and drink…”
Communicants will exit the communion area by walking toward the organ. The dispenser for the communion cups will be placed near the organ.
The next group of communicants will step forward to the assigned area.
The ushers will not collect offerings. There will be a plate in the Narthex for offerings to be placed.
After general announcements, Pastor will step outside using the East door in the worship area to greet members.
After the service, the ushers will dismiss worshipers starting in the back and moving towards the front.
We ask you to refrain from gathering or socializing in the church before or after services. You are welcome to do so outside.
Our services will continue to be posted online.
While this will be different than normal, we will be working with the circumstances God has put before us. We pray His purpose will be served and it will glorify Him.
The Church Council
Ascension Lutheran Antigo