This is the first Rector’s letter to be written in the Rector’s office in a long time! The hard-working Regathering Team jumped through all the hoops and dotted all the i’s and presented a fall Regathering Plan to the Vestry last week, which was unanimously approved. Now we can move forward with some well thought out ways of getting back into our building (including offices!) and getting together over the next few months. You can download the report here:
The Vestry presented all the details at Coffee Hour this past Sunday, but in case you missed it here are a few answers to questions you might have:
What I really want to know is can we worship in person?
Yes! We will have small outdoor worship opportunities very soon. The worship committee is meeting to plan them this week and we’ll start this month. Please note that we still cannot have Eucharist in person, sing, or have social time before or after worship. But we can worship God together and it will be wonderful to do that in person with those who are comfortable. There will be an online sign-up system, so watch your email for more details next week.
But we’ll still have Sunday morning services online so I can watch from home, right?
Right! Our main Sunday service at 9:30am will remain online as it has been. Thanks to our tech team, it’s even better now with improved camera work and sound. I’m very glad to be able to preach from the pulpit again!
I’d really like to be in the church on Sunday morning and feel like I’m participating more in worship, though.
Then please sign up to be part of our Tech Team and Liturgy Team. Tech Team members take turns being in the church on Sunday morning to run the cameras. Liturgy Team and Acolytes are part of the worship leaders Zoom meeting, which is a fun way to be more involved in worship. Please shoot me an email if you’d be willing – we could use a lot more help with both groups!
I’d really like my group or committee to be able to get together in person. Meeting in Zoom is… getting old.
We can do that, now, too! Small groups are welcome to meet in person outdoors on the church lawn. Now is the time to do that while the weather is good. Please email Peggy to schedule your meeting, get the protocol, and she will create an online sign up for your group. We need the online sign-up for contact tracing and so we have a record that people have attested to being symptom-free.
Can I drop by the church anytime now?
Sadly, no. We still need to keep track of who is in the church at what time for contact tracing and staff and volunteer safety. If need to come to the church building, just email Peggy and she can schedule your visit.
I just miss being in the sanctuary. Can I come and pray in person?
Yes! We can now welcome parish members for personal prayer and meditation in the sanctuary. Please email Peggy to schedule your visit.
Will regular church activities happen this fall?
Yes! Our Atrium Sunday School, youth group, Rite 13 and J2A classes, coffee hour, mission activities, weekly spirituality group, prayer retreats, and committee meetings are still going strong. We have guest and local speakers lined up for some fascinating adult forums online. We’re planning an “alternative” Parish Retreat instead of going to the Barbara Harris Camp that will include in-person and online events. The Blessing of the Animals is coming up, too! Read the weekly newsletter to find out about upcoming events.
Just curious, what are other faith communities in Lexington doing?
Right now only the Catholic Communities (St. Brigid’s and Sacred Heart) and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox are having in-person worship, with very limited capacity. Grace Chapel, Hancock Church, Temple Emunah, and Temple Isaiah have all announced the will not have in-person worship until January at the earliest. First Parish and Follen Church have announced no in-person worship before June.
How long will we be in this current phase?
That depends on local health metrics. If the situation continues to improve, the Regathering Team will work on putting a Phase 3 plan together where we can do more things together in-person. If health metrics get worse, then we’ll have to roll back. The Regathering Team plans to monitor the situation closely and we will revisit things by late fall at the latest. My guess is that we’ll be in this phase for a couple of months.
It seems like there are still a lot of things we can’t do.
Yes, this is true. We are still in the midst of a pandemic. We can’t all be in person in church, eating and talking and hugging, like we do when there isn’t a health crisis going on. This is indeed upsetting and a real loss. Although I was probably naïve back in March, the pandemic is going on longer than I expected and I’m getting tired of it. I want to visit my parents, celebrate my children’s milestones with friends, go the movies with a crowd, and eat at my favorite Boston restaurants. Most of all, I want to celebrate the Eucharist gathered with all of you. It is immensely frustrating not to be able to do these things. It helps to let off steam with our supportive community, talk to friends, get outdoors, and participate fully in the things we can do right now. It also helps to know we are making a difference when we wear masks in public, wash our hands, and follow health guidelines.
If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any member of the Vestry or Regathering Team.