A few rather surprising emails have been going around the parish over the last day or two. Seemingly out of the blue, you might have received an email about preparing for the return of in-person worship. I think if I had been on the receiving end of those emails that I would have rubbed my eyes a few times to be sure that I was reading the subject correctly. We have been doing online church for so long now, it did not seem like we would ever return to in-person worship. And then, suddenly, we are sending and receiving emails about participating in different liturgical ministries like being a server, reader, or usher. (Listed in no particular order, of course.)
The truth is that we are going to be learning how to do much of this in new ways because we still are not out of the woods in relation to COVID-19. We still have to maintain social distancing, and we continue to be limited in the total number of people that can attend a worship service at one time. Thus, I would like to provide you with a brief overview of the plan for Church of the Epiphany, and I want to invite you to be part of our liturgical ministries as we move forward.
In-Person Worship Schedule
Church of the Epiphany is going to launch in-person worship with an evening worship service on Sunday. The first service will be on Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 5:30pm, and it will be an outside worship service. You are invited to bring your own camp chair for the service and to help us by staying 6 feet away from others in each direction. The worship service will take place in our main courtyard and is going to be using Evening Prayer with inclusive language as the base liturgy. It will also include Holy Eucharist, although we are limited to communion in one kind (i.e. bread only) for the current moment.
For morning worship, we will continue to wait for the bishop to approve indoors in-person worship for groups of 50 or more. If we still have not received that approval by October 4, then we will offer a morning in-person worship service using Holy Eucharist Rite II with inclusive language options in an outside worship service.
RSVPing For Worship
In the new reality that is pandemic church, we will all have a shared responsibility to register for tickets for in-person worship. Thus, we are inviting each household to attend worship once every other week and to RSVP via EventBrite. As we get closer to the dates of the first in-person worship, we will publish the link to reserve your tickets via email, and we will post the link on the front page of our website for easy access.
Once you RSVP worship, you will receive electronic tickets in a confirmation email. We do ask that you either bring the tickets on your mobile device or that you print the tickets and bring them with you. You will be required to check in when you arrive on campus so we maintain appropriate numbers during this time.
Participate in Worship Ministries
As we gear up for in-person worship, we are in need of lay ministers. From readers to ushers to acolyte/servers, your faithful service is needed to make worship run smoothly. If you are interested in serving, you can use the links below to sign up as a lay minister of different stripes. And of course, you can signup to serve in multiple roles!
We are all anxious to return to in-person worship, and I imagine that we all feel a bit like Noah and his family did after 40 days and 40 nights of flooding. While we may not have two of every creature in our homes (though sometimes it feels like we do!), we are all hungry to return to dry land, to community, and to celebrating God’s love and goodness with other faithful Christians.
I look forward to serving alongside each one of you as we all anticipate a return to in-person worship.