1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Dear Bethel Church community,
A good friend of mine has rightly insisted on not using the phrase “new normal.” We are adjusting to new circumstances and situations in every aspect of our lives, but so far nothing resembling normal has emerged. For the church, worship has continued to be a moving target. Tomorrow morning June 21 we will embark on a new adventure here at Bethel UMC, returning to in-person worship for the first time after a three month break!
Yes, with safety precautions in place, it will be different and at times perhaps even a little awkward. We will be sitting six feet apart and our smiles will be covered by masks. However, I am confident any inconvenience felt by taking these precautions will be quickly melted away because of the joy we feel being back in the House of the Lord with our fellow believers!
A few reminders:
- We will have one worship service at 10:00 a.m. in the sanctuary.
- We will require everyone to wear masks while inside, with gloves being optional (we have masks and gloves available if folks do not bring them from home).
- We will ONLY be using the front center doors to the sanctuary and the side doors closest to the front parking lot (with the handicap accessible ramp.) With this in mind, it may be easiest to park in the front lot.
- Greeters and Ushers will encourage folks to use hand sanitizing stations as they enter.
- We have painters tape outside to remind you to keep a safe distance upon entering, and also inside on the sanctuary floor marking aisles one way.
- We have painters tape on pews, marking off every 2 pews to aid us in worshipping at a safe distance.
- Collection plates will not be passed during the service but available as you enter and exit the sanctuary. We encourage folks to continue to mailing in their gifts or giving online if possible.
- Bulletins will be placed at the end of each available pew.
- At the end of service, worshippers will be dismissed by pew, and asked not to congregate inside the church.
- No Nursery care or Sunday School will be offered for now.
- The bathrooms are available for this who need them, but the water fountain has been taped off. If you would like to bring your own water bottle from home you are welcome to do so.
Here are a few pictures to give you a visual of what to expect. We hope the “pious pithy” signs meant to help with social distancing in the pews will give you a smile.
A huge note of thanks to our volunteers who came out last week for our “dress rehearsal” to ensure we are prepared and as ready as possible.
My friends, your safety matters. As much as we all desire to worship together, we must approach this carefully, diligently, and above all with love for those in our community, especially the elderly and those with underlying health conditions who are especially susceptible to COVID-19.
Our main concern is your health and well-being. If you feel sick in any way, or if you are uncomfortable being back at church right now, please stay home.
Although we are beginning in-person worship, we will continue producing a virtual worship service for the foreseeable future. A strong online presence both nurtures members of Bethel and serves as an evangelism tool for those who are not part of our Bethel Methodist family. We are treading new ground, learning from every experience as we go. I ask your continued patience as we move forward. I also welcome your feedback and input.
There are some things everyone can do to help enhance the Sunday morning experience.
• Subscribe to the Bethel YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOPfIqRQ6Nt6B3-bxNyPJDA/. If we reach 1000 subscribers, YouTube will give us access to new tools and resources.
• Like the Bethel Methodist Columbia Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bethelmethodistcolumbia/. All our YouTube videos are linked to Facebook. Facebook likes and comments encourage people to visit the YouTube page.
• Regularly visit the virtual worship page at https://bethelmethodistcolumbia.com/sermons-2/. You can stream all video content directly from our website.
• Whichever platform you use, click the like button on the videos you watch, comment on them, and share them on your personal social media pages. This helps other people see them as well.
These are new ways to live into our mission of following Jesus by loving God and loving our neighbors. Thank you for your faithfulness to God through Bethel UMC and our shared mission: Knowing, Loving, Serving… so the world will know Christ’s Love!
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Julie Belman