Dear InTown Family,
I cannot tell you how excited I am for us to begin worshiping in person again. I cannot believe how long it has been since I have seen your faces and heard your voices! Our whole team is hard at work to make sure that we are ready for Sunday morning’s service. We ask that you bear with us, as I’m sure we’ll be learning and adapting a good bit in this first week or two.
I believe it is crucially important for our church that we regather for worship, and that we do so safely. It is important for us to regather because real community requires presence. We give thanks for the ways that technology has enabled us to connect with one another during our season of necessary separation, but such mediated connections are not a sustainable way for us to connect relationally. We are made for one another, and made for physical presence. Worship is more than hearing and watching songs, and prayers, and sermons – it is a communal participation in the Body of Christ for the glory of God.
That being the case, I hope that you will begin to move towards gathered worship. I know that some of you have health conditions that makes caution appropriate, and of course, if you are not feeling well please stay home. We are glad to continue to accommodate those who need to stay home by livestreaming our services online. However, if you are able, please consider joining us out on the lawn or listening from your car.
Remember, the service is moving up one hour to 9 AM, both in person and online. The online service will remain accessible after the live broadcast as well.
While it is vital that we regather, it is equally important that we regather safely. We need to remember that we are a part of a community, living life and serving God together. Our gatherings need to be safe for our members and guests, and they need to especially be safe for our partners at the City Rescue Mission. As partners in mission together, we should be mindful that their ability to pursue their mission is contingent on them being able to offer a safe and healthy environment for their students.
While we love our CRM students and resident-alumni deeply, please remember that we can love them well by keeping our physical distance during this time. The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is “a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing (3:5).” While we look forward to that time to embrace, we recognize that right now is a time to abstain from embracing for the good of all.
So in that spirit, here are some guidelines for our worship services, starting Sunday:
Please wear a mask. If you arrive without a mask, we will provide one for you.
- Please observe six feet of social distance between yourself and anyone who is not a member of your household.
- Please bring your own seating (chairs, blankets, etc) and shade (tent, umbrellas, etc).
- Feel free to dress comfortably.
- Arrive in time to have your seating area set up before our 9:00 AM start time. You can set it up anywhere on the lawn, or in the parking lot directly in front of the stage. We have a limited number of picnic tables available for our CRM students, please leave those seats for their use.
- We will provide you with an electronic copy of our Order of Service. Please either print it at home, or bring a device on which you can view it. It will contain the lyrics to the songs that we will sing. We will have a limited supply of printed copies available for those without access.
- You will have access to the chapel building for restroom use only. We ask that you not congregate inside the chapel, but enter for the use of the restroom one at a time and if necessary wait outside. We will have the two doors open in the back of the chapel by the men’s and women’s restrooms. You should not enter the other CRM buildings.
- There is some playground equipment on the lawn that we should avoid using. We will block it off to the best of our ability, but we ask for your help in keeping your kids off of it.
- While you can continue to give online or by mail, we will have a box to receive your offering on the welcome table. You may drop your offering in before or after the service.
- The service will be shortened and simplified a great deal. At this time, we will not be celebrating communion together. We hope to add that back into our services soon.
- In the event of rain, we will cancel the in-person service by 8:00 AM. We will then offer an online service only. We will communicate this change by email and text message.
Friends, this day is a long time coming and our team cannot wait to see you and to worship together. We ask for your patience and flexibility as we start these services. Look for greeters and staff to direct you to parking and seating if you have questions.
Finally, if you have not completed it yet, please take a moment to fill out the survey below to let us know how you plan to participate. See you soon!
Yours in Christ,