July 5th Reopening Plan
Dear Friends, As I reflect on the scripture above, I wonder what were the circumstances that caused the writer of the Hebrews to exhort the church to gather together. I know it was not a pandemic. Were people avoiding worship because they did not like each other? Was there some dividing prejudice? Was worship too difficult because of the absence of leaders? Regardless, it takes real commitment to meet regularly in worship. No one gets to church without some preparation and sacrifice. On July 5 Shiloh United Methodist Church will meet again for in-person worship. For those unable to join us, we are continuing our on-line worship. Speaking of online worship, we have reached up to 900 people a week through the internet! Our outreach to the world has grown. In addition, our giving to the church has been steady. Thank you, Shiloh, for being faithful in covenant together.
Worship is one of the greatest privileges we have on earth. We gather to listen to a scripture-based message, to sing, to pray, and to give. We gather to provoke one another to love and good deeds. We gather for mutual encouragement. I like to say that we worship primarily not for ourselves but to bless others.
We will be doing many things differently as we gather for worship in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Families can sit together, but we will be spaced farther apart than usual. We will not come forward for communion. We will not pass offering plates. We encourage participants to wear masks as we enter the building, walk in the hallways, and sing. For those who are comfortable with it, masks can be taken off once we are settled. Please understand, we will not be enforcers of our suggestions. We leave room for all to make personal decisions regarding the COVID-19 adaptations. We seek to be hospitable and create a climate of caring. Restrooms will be regularly disinfected after use. We will practice social distancing as best as we can. Pastor John will greet people outside the building after worship. Let’s do most of our talking outside.
No one knows for sure when COVID-19 will end. We will continue to monitor the situation and pray for the healing of our world. A worship task force was formed to get ready to reopen and will meet following worship to evaluate how things are going. If you have concerns or suggestions, please do not hesitate to let one of the task force members know—Pastor John Whitaker, Jerry Suit, Dave Thomas, Theresa Works, Eric Craft, and Tim Schoonover. A congregational letter was sent out last week addressing the concerns of reopening. If you did not receive a letter, please call the church office and we will get one out to you.