April 21, 2021
All Peoples Friends & Family,
Grace and peace to you from the God who binds us all together in love!
What a journey we have been through over the last year of life and ministry. It was scary and hard, busy and exhausting. And yet even in the challenge I have been so moved by the way the All Peoples community has risen to the occasion. This year has been filled with so much innovation, problem-solving, and beauty as we watched folks rally around each other to offer support, resources, and love. Talk about the Holy Spirit moving!!
After so much waiting and prayer, it is finally safe for our community to begin the process of regathering for in-person worship. While I wish this meant that we could run back into our building and resume worship in the pews as before, we still must continue to walk slowly, with an abundance of caution and care for the most vulnerable in our community. To start this next step in our pandemic journey, we will be gathering outside in our church parking lot for worship together!
We know that this next step comes with so much joy and lots of questions and we want to make sure everyone is clear and prepared for how we will be moving forward. So please take a minute to read through these particular details of important safety measures, contingency plans, and save the dates!
- What should I expect for safety stuff? We will continue to take the usual precautions of mandatory face masks, social distancing, and lots of sanitizing. If you don’t have a mask, we will have tons of extras available for you as you arrive. We will be encouraging everyone to disperse after worship in a timely way so continue to limit our risk factors. If you or someone in your household has been sick (even if you aren’t sure if it’s COVID) please stay home for the safety of the community.
- What should I expect service to look like? Our worship will continue to start at 10:45am but will be shortened (approx. 30 mins) and will limit public responses and group singing. We will also be modifying a few of our usual practices to make sure we keep folks as safe as possible including prepackaged communion elements that are received as people depart. Folks are encouraged to bring your own lawn chairs as you are able but we will have additional chairs available for you as well. Although we won’t be having large group singing yet, we will have lots of tambourines and musical instruments that you are encouraged to use to participate/respond in worship. There will be wipes to sanitize them before you put them away at the end of our worship. If you are unable to join us in person or don’t feel comfortable yet, the service will continue to be live-streamed so that everyone can participate.
- What happens if the weather is bad? Weather will be assessed each week to determine if it is safe to have worship outside (including our electrical equipment). We will make that call by 9pm on Saturday and share that information via email, our website, our Facebook group & page, and an updated message on our answering machine at church. You can check in with any of those options as you make your Sunday plans. On days that we are unable to meet in person, worship will be online on Facebook live as it has been for the past year. If you need help logging in, send an email to Anna in the church office and she will get you sorted. If it is not otherwise indicated, we are meeting outside as planned!
- How is all of this decided and when might it change? Pastor Lindsey and the church council will be keeping a close eye on local COVID metrics to make decisions about the safety of current decisions. If we start to see a significant rise in daily positive case rates, we may make the decision to return to online worship. (So many prayers that this will not happen!) We will also be watching vaccination rates in MKE County and that will help us to determine when we can relax our restrictions (i.e. add back in congregational responses and singing, etc). The Wisconsin Council of Churches has been an amazing resource used around the country to work through safe practices for returning to worship and help to guide our metrics. Until the vaccination rate reaches 75-80% of people fully vaccinated, we will continue to keep our current safety measures. Our current rate is a little over 26% in MKE County so we have a ways to go still. If you would like to check out these metrics or recommendations, we encourage you to check out the data at The Wisconsin Department of Health Service and COVID studies released by The Wisconsin Council of Churches. If you have not yet gotten your vaccines and need information about the process or help locating a place to receive your shots, contact the church office and we will help you out!
- What are important dates that I should be aware of? There are two main dates to be aware of and mark on your calendars. The first is our start date, Mother’s Day (May 9, 2021). The second is June 13, 2021 which will be our annual meeting & box lunches following our worship. There will be more information about what will be happening at that event but we really need as many people present as possible to make our plans for the future steps of All Peoples. We are aware that there are many folks who have started getting their COVID vaccinations and as this
As Mother’s Day rapidly approaches, I find my heart buzzing at the opportunity to see your faces in real life in so very long! Although it won’t be “normal” yet, it will most certainly be filled with God’s Spirit as we gather again around a common table to hear the Word and partake in the Holy Meal.
Keep working hard to be safe and keep others safe. Encourage folks to get their vaccinations. Reach out for support or clarification where you need it. Know that you are deeply loved and prayed for by name.
Filled with Resurrection Joy,
Pastor Lindsey Beukelman