Details for our new outdoor worship services

Details for our new outdoor worship services

By Pastor Ruttan

[Please read all of this post/document.]

Early in August 2021 our elders approved a plan to add an additional Sunday worship service starting on September 19, 2021.

Here’s why:

We anticipated that in the autumn we would be able to increase our in-door capacity for Sunday morning services in the sanctuary. But with the Delta variant, increasing cases, and with vaccination numbers being lower than anticipated, we are not currently able to increase indoor capacity based on current government restrictions. In fact, we are at our allowable indoor capacity. Therefore, we are trying this new idea to increase the number of people who can gather (safely) to connect and to worship at Westminster.

The 10:01am (indoor) service will continue with the live-stream and with the limited in-person gathering.

The new service will be an additional 40-minute family-friendly outdoor service on Sunday afternoons at 3:30pm in the front parking lot and lawn. There will also be Sunday School for ages preschool and up. Unfortunately, there is no nursery care at this time.

Pre-registration is not required at this time.

Remember that this a 40-minute family-friendly service. So noise is welcome. There will be songs, prayers, and a Bible reading with a 5-minute summary teaching.

The services will be led by myself and our Music Director Jenn Harris. Only the 10:01am service will be live-streamed.

Outdoor worship services are allowed under the current government regulations, and we are following the health unit guidelines.

Details:

Since we will be having the service in the front parking lot and lawn, that lot will be blocked off. Park in the back lot or on the street (where permissible).

Important: Only attend if you are feeling well. You will be required to respond to Covid-19 screening questions when you arrive.

Bring your own lawn chairs or seating. If you don’t have a chair, we’ll have some on hand; but please make an effort to bring one—those we have on hand are intended for those who simply don’t have one of their own or for those who are unable to carry one. They will be plastic and properly cleaned.

Individuals or households will set up six feet apart.

There will be handouts with the lyrics to songs (since there will be no projection or screens).

Masks are not required outside unless 6 foot distancing is not able to be maintained.

About 15 minutes into the service, there will be a ‘kids time’ as usual. However, children and youth will remain with their households—i.e. they won’t come to the front to be with the pastor. When directed by Pastor Ruttan, any who wish (preschool and up) can go with Laura Ruttan (our Sunday School Coordinator) and helpers to an outdoor Sunday School on the back/lower half of the property. We will have two basic groups: preschool to grade four, and then grade five and up. Children and youth will be required to wear masks at that time since it can sometimes be hard to maintain distancing at all times with children. We will try to help children maintain distancing, but masks are a precautionary safety measure.

This will be rain or shine, so dress accordingly.

Bathrooms are available inside the church; if anyone needs to use those facilities there will be a greeter inside the building to direct them to the right location. Masks are required inside.

Unfortunately we can’t have a social/coffee hour afterward; so congregants are asked to disperse (and maintain distancing protocols) after the service and Sunday School.

Hand sanitizer and appropriate signage will be present.

This is a challenging time. All of us are facing new difficulties in a weekly—and sometimes daily—basis. In and through all of it we seek to fix our eyes on Jesus, serve him and our neighbours, and worship the living God as his people of perseverance and hope!

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