Dear Christ Lutheran Church family,
Our Re-Opening Task Force met on Tuesday to discuss recent developments and future plans. We are updating our practices for this ever-changing situation:
- The local outbreak remains severe but new cases and hospitalizations have finally started falling. Many members of our congregation have had COVID and recovered, and some have already received one or more doses of the new vaccines.
- There are new variants circulating that, while not necessarily more severe, seem to be more easily transmitted.
- At church, thanks to the hard work of Jeff Uhri, more of the east-facing sanctuary windows are operable, allowing for much improved ventilation of our space. The filtration on our HVAC system has also been upgraded.
- Many people are adopting better-quality masks to enhance their own safety while also protecting people around them.
- Worshipers at Christ have been faithful and cooperative in wearing masks, indoors and out, as well as using hand sanitizer and maintaining adequate distance, especially in the sanctuary.
With enhanced ventilation, briefer liturgies, and limited singing, the risk to in-person worship should remain very low. Every third pew will be open, and we ask everyone to continue practicing social distancing and wearing masks. If you can upgrade a single-layer cloth mask to a three-layer, surgical, or N95/KN95 mask, it will enhance the safety of in-person worship further. We ask everyone receiving Communion in the sanctuary to maintain their distance from fellow worshipers and keep their mask on until they’ve moved away from the ministers. With continued care and attention, we can protect each other and ourselves.
Starting with the first Sunday in Lent, February 21, we are moving our worship times. The sanctuary livestream will take place at 9 a.m. and the outdoor service at 11 a.m. As circumstances allow, we hope to move some of our educational offerings back to Sunday morning, at first online and, as more people are vaccinated and the local conditions improve, in a hybrid model. We have no specific plans to announce at this time, but we are looking to and preparing for a better phase of this pandemic when more options are possible.
A few things we ask everyone to keep in mind:
- The sanctuary livestream will continue, and the quality of the online worship experience will be our priority even as in-person participation becomes more possible. Please do not feel any pressure to return to the sanctuary or to outdoor worship before you are ready.
- We continue to be mindful not only to the risks we voluntarily take in order to worship, but the welfare of our whole community. We work to keep the risk of transmission as low as possible to protect people outside of our church, to protect health care workers, and to do our part to keep hospitals from becoming overburdened.
- It is very possible, and perhaps likely, that there will be not be a clear and definitive “end” to the pandemic. Our return to normal worship and activity will be gradual, as more people reach some level of immunity and as community spread of the virus slows down. Continued precautions (even after we are vaccinated and/or recovered from an infection) will be needed even as more activity becomes relatively safe. We do hope to see more of you in person, either in the courtyard or the sanctuary, over the course of the spring and summer. But we are aware that nothing will change quickly or conclusively.
Yours in Christ,
The Re-Opening Task Force
Connie Uhri, Council President
Ginger Hagens, Council Vice-President
Sharon Karol, Secretary
David Marshall, Treasurer
Greg Nelson, Financial Secretary
Dr. Tina Tonti, Preschool Board
Joanne Osterland, Preschool Director
Dr. Hando Nahkur, Director of Music Ministry
Marc Hatcher, Director of Youth and Family Ministry
Rev. Ben Dueholm, Pastor