How to Attend Worship

David Kling

May 20, 2021

We are very thankful that we are now able to welcome more people to in-person worship at Covenant, but there are still some steps that we ask you to take to help ensure that we continue to place worship safety as our top priority. We will continue to evaluate these policies on a regular basis and make adjustments as needed.

There are two very concrete things that you could do to help Covenant’s mission as we are (thankfully!) welcoming more and more people each Sunday:

  1. Please contact Susan Pendergrass at susan.pendergrass@covhsv.org and volunteer to be an usher if you feel comfortable attending worship – this is such a fun team (and a great way to meet people!)
  2. Please consider making an intentional choice to sit in the Fellowship Hall’s additional seating area to view the live broadcast with your friends. Every person who sits in the additional seating area is expanding our mission as we increase our capacity to welcome visitors and first-time-returning members. 

It continues to be a joyful season of ministry this Spring and I’m so delighted to be able to share worship with you and your family as we wind down the academic year. 

First – the Elders & Trustees have now conformed our policies for worship and meetings to the new CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated people. This CDC guidance came out on Thursday, May 13th and you can read more details here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html

Here are some of the most significant changes for our rhythms here at Covenant:

  1. If you are fully vaccinated, you now have the option to remove your mask during worship or any other activity 
  2. If you are fully vaccinated, social distancing during worship and other activities is no longer required 

We understand that this is a big change after exercising so much caution during the past year. You may very well choose to keep your mask on and continue to practice social distancing even after your vaccination – and that’s perfectly fine!

To accommodate a wide variety of comfort levels and vaccination statuses we will now be using the following practices on Sundays: 

  1. Most of the sanctuary will now be available for open seating at your discretion. An usher may assist you, but you will have much more flexibility in selecting your seats. 
  2. Most of the numbered seating spots will be removed, however there will be a section of pews in the back right of the sanctuary that will continue to have numbered seating spots for those who continue to practice social distancing.
  3. At the conclusion of worship, you may now exit at your leisure. An usher will no longer be dismissing you one row at a time. Please continue to be respectful and orderly while leaving the sanctuary because your neighbor may have a different comfort level than you. 
  4. For those who feel more comfortable, the Fellowship Hall will continue to have seating and a live broadcast of the service. This venue is lightly attended and provides lots of space between participants. 
  5. As the Pastor, I will continue to greet you following worship under the portico to accommodate the wide range of comfort levels and vaccination statuses. 

The major exception to this change in policy regards children and those working with children. The CDC has not yet changed their guidance for children or for those working with children. This means the following: 

  1. Adult Sunday School teachers and nursery staff should continue to wear masks even if they are fully vaccinated. 
  2. Children attending Sunday School (preschool age and up) should continue to wear their masks

These changes bring us up to speed with the current national guidance from the CDC, however we will continue to evaluate how these policies should be adjusted to achieve our mission. The elders and trustees will discuss revisions and changes to our policies as the Summer unfolds.

As a reminder – this will be the last Sunday for our pre-recorded worship service. Going forward we will be sharing a link to our livestream service that you can watch at 10AM. The service will be available to watch anytime at your leisure following the live broadcast, so you need not worry if you miss it – you can always catch up when it works for you. 

For more information about these changes please read the detailed Pastoral Letter and FAQ I shared with you last month: 

  1. https://www.covhsv.org/pastoral-letter-about-changes-in-worship-structure-for-our-fall-2021-relaunch/
  2. https://www.covhsv.org/fall2021faq/

Please do reach out to me by phone or email regarding any of these changes to our policies or programming. I’ve spoken with many folks personally about these changes and itt has been wonderful to hear many different perspectives and experiences. I am thankful for you and your patience and support as we navigate the future together. 

I can’t wait to see what happens next!


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