March 16 Important Update Regarding In Person Worship

March 16, 2021

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

I am happy to announce that we are moving to a more hybrid model of worship for Holy Week and Easter at SCEC. To be able to safely accommodate a larger number of people, we will be offering an outdoor parking lot service on Palm Sunday, March 28th and Easter Sunday, April 4th, both at 9:30 a.m. We will also be live streaming these services to the best of our ability, and will make other recorded music and message resources available for those who are not comfortable attending the parking lot worship services in person. 

 

Our Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Logistics team as well as our Audio Visual Team is planning how exactly we will do this, so your patience and flexibility is appreciated! This is a new thing Jesus is calling us to do, and a new experience for all of us.

Here’s what you can do to help us coordinate these two outdoor events of prayer as a congregation:

  • Sign-up if you plan to attend one or both of these services using the Sign-Up Genius Link. This will help us plan for parking on both days, as well as Holy Communion on Easter. (note, there will be no Holy Communion on Palm Sunday, but there will be palms for each attendee.)

  • Please contact our Junior Warden, Diana Brown, if you are willing to assist with logistics on either day (parking cars, distributing communion, palms, etc.)

  • Plan to wear a mask and practice social distancing. You will need to be wearing a mask to receive palms and Holy Communion, even if you are seated in your car. This is to protect you as well as the people bringing items to you. You are welcome to remove your mask if you are in your car with the windows rolled up during the entire service. 

  • The ministers plan to be outside with you, and will have an FM transmitter so you will be able to sit in your car and hear the service through your FM radio. You will be able to see me, Deacon Steve, and Mark leading you in prayer from the steps leading into the hall from the parking lot. 

  • You may bring a lawn chair with you, as no seating will be provided. When you are out of your vehicle, face masks and social distancing are required. 

  • Plan to dress comfortably and appropriately for the weather. 

  • Please plan to arrive before 9:30 a.m. so our team can assist you with parking and seating, and allow us to begin our service on schedule.

  • While restroom facilities will be available, we encourage you not to enter the building unless the need is absolutely urgent.

Here is the full hybrid schedule for Holy Week and Easter:

Palm Sunday, March 28, 2021--9:30 a.m. Parking lot service and Livestream

Maundy Thursday, April 1, 2021--7:00 p.m. Zoom service at home, also livestream to Facebook. (There will not be a Compline service this evening.)

 

Good Friday, April 2, 2021--12 p.m. Zoom service with other congregations in the Aurora Deanery, also livestreamed to Facebook.

 

Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021--9:30 a.m. Parking lot service and Livestream.

 

Additionally, Kathy Heikkinen is coordinating the stations of the cross in a video we will publish in late Lent/Holy Week. You may contact her via email kathyheikkinen81@gmail.com to participate by providing a recording from home for one of the stations. 

 

In the event of inclement weather (pouring rain, blizzard, other extreme weather), we will post a notification of any change service plans on our Facebook page and group by no later than 8:30 a.m., and services will then be livestream-only broadcast from our Sanctuary. 

Additionally, we will plan to start our service on Easter Sunday by ringing our bell once for every 10,000 people who have died of Covid-19 in the United States. We are looking for 5 volunteers to ring the bell, as we anticipate the bell will be rung more than 52 times (527,000 have died in the USA as of 3/10/21). Sign-up to ring the bell in the Easter Sunday Sign-up Genius HERE.

 

We will NOT have Holy Communion on Palm Sunday. So we will not have Home Holy Communion pick up on March 28th. We WILL have Home Holy Communion pick-up available for those watching the livestream from home on Easter Sunday, April 4th, 2021. Pick-up will be from 11:00 a.m. to 11: 30 a.m., please sign up HERE so we can prepare accordingly.

Holy Communion is distributed using the World Communion Cup. It is gluten-free, you may choose to receive either wine or grape juice. It is completely hygienically sealed from the factory. More information is available here: https://wccups.com/ 

 

We are awaiting updated guidelines from our Diocese of Chicago regarding the conduct of worship and ministry in person. I hope these will be available by the end of March. At that point, we will announce plans and procedures for in-person worship later beyond Easter Sunday, either outdoors or indoors. Live streaming will continue as an option for connection to SCEC for the foreseeable future. 

 

Again, thank you for your faithfulness, patience, and flexibility. Jesus has called us to do a new thing in how we gather as church and live faithfully through the global pandemic. Thank you also for your best practices in preventing the spread of Covid-19. Wearing your mask, washing your hands, avoiding large gatherings indoors; all these things are saving lives and making it possible for us to dream of regathering in person as one congregation. Be vaccinated for Covid-19 when you are eligible. 

 

God’s Peace and Grace be with you,

Rev. Stacy+