Back to church!

Returning to public worship. August 2, 2020

27. July 2020In NewsBy Scotty Williams5 Minutes

After four months of Social Distance Worship, we are getting back to public services!

We Are Blessed

Since March 15th All Souls has worshiped at a distance, and throughout this time we have seen God do some amazing things among us. One of these amazing things is that we reached a lot of people around the world, and we even helped other congregations find alternative ways of gathering. Every week I received emails of thanks from different countries, and I was overjoyed when fellow pastors called to say how we inspired them. Yes, we are a small fellowship facing many challenges in our city, but in this time we have been blessed to impact and encourage others.

We have also been blessed to weather a catastrophic storm, for many congregations great and small did not survive the blow of COVID-19. Along with emails of thanks came emails expressing deep grief; a grief from the loss of fellowships that have been pillars to communities for many years. And with the loss of congregations comes the loss faithful people, and especially leaders that have carried the Church while lifting up the truth of Christ. During the past four months I have mourned for heroes that shaped my faith, from Ravi Zacharias and John Lewis to J.I. Pack and C.T. Vivian. Nevertheless, we have been blessed to not mourn a death at All Souls, or to lose any leaders from our Synod and fellow congregations in St. Gallen.

Hope is the fuel that ignites the light and carries us forward.

– Robert W. Reagan Jr.

We Are Back

Indeed, we have been blessed to weather the storm of COVID-19, and on August 2nd we will get back to the sanctuary of Kirche Rotmonten. On that day we will offer up our thanks and praise together again, and we will celebrate the hope of Christ that has carried us these past four months. In short, we will get back to having public services, but we will not get back to “normal” or the way that things were done before. Of course, we will follow the liturgy that we know and love, but we will also have some special rules while worshiping together. These rules are:

*Sign in and use hand sanitizer before entering the sanctuary.

*Practice social distancing during the service (the pews have been marked to help with seating).

*Avoid shaking hands with and hugging others; alternative greetings can be used (e.g., touching elbows).

*Hum during the times of singing.

*Sneeze or cough away from others into the crook of your arm.

*Those who wish to wear a mask during the service are free to do so.

*Those who feel sick in any way should not attend the service.

These rules are in place so that we can safely gather together, and I thank everyone in advance for keeping them during the service. Also, many thanks for participating in Social Distance Worship, and for the messages of encouragement with suggestions for each post. I know not what the future holds as we return to public worship, but I do know that the Lord is with us and will be with us as He was from March to July. And I know that He is doing and will do great things among us and use us for His glory.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving and Protection

O God Who is faithful and good, we thank You for Your blessings and strength that have carried us through this troubled time. Thank You for the Holy Spirit which binds us to You and to one another, and has kept us in fellowship despite the distance we have had to keep. Lord, as we return to the sanctuary where we offer You our thanks and praise, keep us safe in worship and uphold us by Your steadfast love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.