From September 12 to October 3, we will be offering two services each Sunday – one outdoor service, one service on Zoom. This is our attempt to meet the varying, conflicting needs of People’s people as best as we can right now.

Both of the services will focus on similar themes, but they will have very different formats. Here’s what you can you expect from these services:

The outdoor service will be at 10:45 a.m. on Sundays. We will gather under the new tent on the east side of the church building. (One of our children dubbed it ‘The Manta Ray,’ which I love.) We will be together for about 20 minutes of music, a chalice lighting and opening words. Then we will invite the group to move across the grounds to engage in various stations at their own pace. There will be storytellers, joys and sorrows, rituals of grief and celebration, crafts, and more. These services are for all ages and we will be limiting risks as best we can to keep each other safe. Everyone over age 2 who attends the outdoor services needs to be masked. There will be no food or drink. (Please caffeinate yourself appropriately before you arrive!) There will be no congregational singing (though you can hum quietly). The building will only be available for brief visits to the bathroom. Dress for the weather. If the weather is terrible, the service will be cancelled. Bring a lawn chair, if you are able. These are a lot of restrictions – and given the surge of cases in our community, they are necessary to keep each other safe.

The Zoom service will be at 7 p.m. on Sundays. It will be a more contemplative service with poetry, meditative practices, and preaching. You will likely see the return of some of the best music and meditations that People’s people have created over the past 18 months.

Please know that this is a temporary plan. Having two very different services each week is a short term strategy for meeting as many divergent needs as possible. It is not a “new normal.” The hope is that by mid-October it will be safe enough to have a limited attendance indoor service that is simultaneously livestreamed on Zoom. Your regathering team and minister will be following the data and the science as we decide our best next steps.

This is an experiment; feedback is welcome. Please drop Rev. Rachel a note if there are elements off these services that are meaningful to you, don’t work for you, or if you have ideas for what’s next. I hope that in these improvisations we might discover some practices that we want to carry forward.

Leave a Reply