I am very happy to announce that St. Thomas is finally moving towards returning to in-person worship in June! We have missed being together for a very long time and are eager to return. We look forward to seeing our friends and to rediscovering the joy of worshipping physically together as the body of Christ. Many of us have also been pleasantly surprised that the live-stream worship experience and zooming together for small groups have shown us new ways of being and doing church. We may never go back fully to the way life was before the pandemic! We have remembered deeply that God is always able to do a new thing through us in the midst of change and the challenges we face.
So, let me take a few moments to unpack the plan and some of the things you can expect as we return to in-person worship and gatherings.
First, please know that our leadership has spent significant time getting feedback from the members of the church through the recent "Return to In-Person Worship Survey" and through robust discussion with the Church Council, staff, and key committees as well as the Healthy Church Team and Trustees. I thank everyone for their thoughtful and caring insights.
Here is the roll out plan we arrived at:
Here is a brief overview of some of the things you can expect when you return:
What can I do to prepare my heart for worship?
As you can imagine, some parts of worship will absolutely be the same while others will be quite different. We are also in the process of making permanent adaptations to our worship space to ensure a holy worship experience for those who will participate in-person and for those who will continue to participate at home via the livestream. This may mean installing window treatments on the ten side windows and the central stained glass window. It may mean adapting our existing media-tech "booth" or creating a new one. It may mean adjustments to our ushers table, acolyte equipment storage and sacristy. It will definitely mean there will be temporary solutions while we discern the best permanent solutions -- and it will likely mean there is some level of "messiness" in the Sanctuary while we work together to glorify God and create a worship environment that is not only sacred but effective in carrying out the many aspects of worship.
During this time of tranistion I ask for your prayers and your patience -- as we "build the airplane" while flying it at the same time! Much like Moses and the Israelites who wandered in the willderness, we may find we share simliar feelings and thoughts to our ancestors in faith. Hopefully, it will not take us as long to move into the promised land! And, hopefully, God can use this time to shape our faith and deepen our committment to following Christ as we grow together through it all.
In the meantime, please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions. I promise there will be opportunities in the near future to learn more and ask questions!
Grace upon grace,