“Here I am to worship; here I am to bow down. Here I am to say that You’re my God!”
PHASE 2’s implementation will be subject to a review of New Jersey’s COVID numbers during the next few weeks.
Here is the PHASE 2 plan for St. Paul’s:
Effective Sunday October 4, 2020 the OVERFLOW section of St. Paul’s sanctuary will be opened for church members and friends to restricted worship inside the church during the 9:30 worship service, which will continue to be streamed on FACEBOOK and other online media. The Trustees of the church will work with the Reopening Leadership team to ensure that the seating for worship maintains 6 foot aisles and 6 foot distances between worshipers. The number of potential worshipers for each service will be announced no later than September 15 but it is expected that we will only have space for 25 or fewer individuals.
1. Attendance will be by reservation only and those reservations will be made through St. Paul’s website or by calling the church office.
–> In the beginning weeks of PHASE 2 no one will be allowed to worship in person two weeks in a row.
2. Those worshiping in the OVERFLOW section will not be allowed to enter the primary Sanctuary, which will be roped off and open only to worship leaders. There will be no up-close social interaction between worshipers or between worshipers and the worship leaders.
3. Those worshiping in the OVERFLOW section will enter via the ramp entrance at the direction of an usher. They will enter and move immediately to their assigned seats. The exiting of worship will be directed by a leader and will be made through either the ramp door or the double doors at the bottom of the Sunday School wing stairs.
–> We are asking individuals to avoid touching the railings during their entrancing and exiting of the building.
4. Worshipers will be masked at all times while in the building or they will be asked to leave the worship service immediately. Singing will not be allowed by those in the OVERFLOW area.
5. Toilet facilities WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE under any circumstance.
6. We will continue to offer an afternoon service in St. Paul’s “backyard” but the starting time will be adjusted due to the shortening of the days. In September the starting time will be moved up to 6 p.m. and in October it will be 5 p.m.
All of the leaders of the church wish that we weren’t in these difficult times that are keeping us away from being together in person, but we are in agreement that our primary goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy! We are doing church 24/7 and offering more worship services to church members than ever in our history. It’s very clear that hundreds of people are choosing St. Paul’s as their choice to worship God and Jesus Christ. They use our Sunday services, our Wednesday Holy Communion moments, and our other streamed opportunities as their connection to worship where they can humble themselves to bow down before God.
As we strive to make the right decisions for our church and for the safety of people we love, as well as for their extended families, we realize that other churches are doing things differently. This week one of the largest churches in South Jersey announced that it will not have any in-building worship services until at least January 2021. Its leaders believe that their members’ and friends’ lives will be at risk if they open the church doors any time soon, so they are continuing to stream. I have spoken with several other pastors who are considering February or March as their potential reopening dates. So we are going to attempt to implement PHASE 2 but we will be watchful, careful, and loving as we move forward.
Stay well and safe!