“Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him!” (Psalm 68:4)
This is both a command and an invitation.
A welcome opportunity and a necessary practice.
Let us lift up a song and sing to God!
Our vestry met last night and began the process of dismantling our pandemic practices in accordance with the new guidance from the CDC and Governor Northam. These practices have gone by a sequence of names: Phase Alpha, Phase Beta, and currently Phase Gamma.
Now we are just calling it: Reopening.
We know that some of you are ready to rip off your mask like a scene from Grey’s Anatomy and that other’s are still getting used to what is becoming the new normal. I am glad that so many of you have been vaccinated. We continue to pray for vaccines to be available for all ages. For those who have been vaccinated, the guidance has really changed what you can safely do. For those who have not yet been vaccinated, the guidance is that you should still wear a mask and that you would take caution before choosing to be in crowded places.
Recognizing that our community is large and in different places of vaccination and comfort, the vestry has created a four week transition plan to what will be our new normal starting June 27.
Here’s what to expect at Restoration on May 30, June 6, 13, and 20:
At the 9am: We will maintain the sign-up genius with 23 quarantined pods of seating at 10 feet of social distance. Everyone will wear a mask at this service and you need to pre-register to attend. This has been our practice for most of 2021 and we will maintain it for four more weeks.
At 10:15am: We will offer the Eucharist outside, under the tent, for four more weeks. No one is required to wear a mask at this Eucharist.
At the 11am: If you are vaccinated, you do not have to wear a mask. You may sit wherever you want. We will not have a sign-up genius or social distancing. We will offer the Eucharist inside and we will not offer it outside under the tent.
Kids’ Small Groups at the 9 and 11: We are offering these for three more weeks and we will keep the same format we have had since Easter: Kids will start inside the sanctuary with their parents. They will go outside to the tent for their small group. Both kids and adult volunteers will wear masks. At the 9am, parents will meet their kids under the tent. At the 11am, kids will return to the sanctuary to join their parents for the Eucharist. News Flash! We increased the number of kid participants to 20! Spaces are now open.
Apex Gatherings: These will follow the same format until the end of the academic year.
Big Change on June 27: Both the 9am and the 11am will follow the same format: If you are vaccinated, you do not have to wear a mask. No sign-up genius. No social distancing. The Eucharist will be celebrated inside. No tent.
In anticipation of some of your questions, here are some quick answers:
- At Restoration, anyone can wear a mask at any time and in any place. There are a variety of reasons for why you might choose to do so. Feel free to wear a mask any time you are on our property.
- Will you be asking for proof of vaccination to be at Restoration? Most definitely not. It is in your interest to be vaccinated and we encourage you to follow CDC guidance to wear a mask and avoid large gatherings if you are not.
- We are putting the Bibles and Books of Common Prayer back in the pews. No worship guides yet. Look for those in the autumn.
- We will close the windows in the sanctuary and give the HVAC system the best chance of working efficiently as we come into the hot summer months.
- We are taking down the plexiglass barriers that our musicians have been singing behind.
- The celebrant will be unmasked as he or she celebrates the Eucharist.
- Our dear friend ‘the tent’, who has been such a faithful pandemic companion, is going away at the end of June.
- The shuttle will be coming back! Stay tuned for the exact Sunday, but this is a chance to get reacquainted with our parking deck at the corner of 15th and Quincy. We are going to be regularly reminding you to park there.
- No after service snacks yet. Weren’t those cookies good on Pentecost?? That was so much fun.
Do you know how Psalm 68 ends? Check this out:
“Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel- He is the One who gives power and strength to His people. Blessed be God!”
Awesome is God from his sanctuary. Come see.
We are reopening Restoration and we can’t wait to bless God with you.