What You Should Know About Reopening

As many of you know, Governor Walz announced that as of Wednesday, May 27, places of worship will be allowed to conduct services while following certain parameters: no more than 25% occupancy of any large room, continuing to maintain social distancing, and observing proper safety and sanitation precautions. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Mount Calvary leadership has been in conversation from the onset of the closure about when and how to reopen for worship services and other gatherings. It was decided that we would follow the guidance of the CDC and abide by guidelines put in place to protect community health. Health and safety of parishioners, staff, and others was of paramount importance. 
 
We will reopen public worship in the sanctuary only when we are convinced that the time is right, and it is in the best interests of the congregation and community health. We will keep you apprised of those decisions and reasons. Even when we do resume worship in the sanctuary, for the foreseeable future we will continue to encourage you to choose worship online as the best and safest choice. If you are part of a vulnerable population, we strongly encourage you not to come. All will be required to wear masks while present, there will be no gathering before or after worship, no congregational singing or celebration of communion, no sharing of the peace or passing of an offering plate. Music sung by soloists and others will be shown on the video screens prerecorded or from behind a plastic partition. The bathrooms will be available for emergency use only. Attendance will be reservation-only and walk-in worship permitted only if space available. Other precautionary measures may be implemented, as well. 

REFLECTIONS: You likely have read many opinions about freedom of worship and closure of places of worship. Hopefully, you also will have read reminders that the church was never closed, and worship was never prohibited ever during this pandemic. Buildings were. In many ways, we are worshipping more broadly and faithfully during this time than before. We are reaching more people than ever before. We are serving more vulnerable persons and making more connections than ever before. To raise the banner of “freedom to worship” is a false narrative, it is Biblically suspect, and it is dangerously divisive. Fortunately, the vast majority of all Minnesota faith communities have shown that love of neighbor and the health and welfare of all are of higher value than demanding a certain way of exercising a personal right. Through this time, we never had our message, visibility, or work impinged. We have enjoyed, and been blessed by, our freedom to worship through it all. We are thankful.

There is no one who desires more to be able to worship face-to-face than the staff and leaders of Mount Calvary. We will pray about and challenge each other regularly on the how-and-when of publicly worshipping together. Biblical writers could never have envisioned the day when technology could assist in creating and connecting people in community. Perfect, ideal, or best? I don’t believe so, but a fabulous gift in times such as these. I pray, and look forward to the day when we can be together in whatever shape that is to be. To God be the glory! 

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor Dave

 
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