Worship Sunday at 10:30

Bethany Evangelical
Lutheran Church

Ishpeming, Michigan † Est. 1870

 
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Pastor's Reflections

On July 12th at 10:30, four months after services were shut down, we will resume an in-person worship opportunity.  Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as saying, “We’re back!”  There are many cleaning and sanitizing and physical distancing guidelines that are recommended to prevent further outbreaks of the virus and that complicates things.  You’ve perhaps noticed that while restaurants have been allowed to re-open for quite a while, many have not because of the difficulties in doing so.  For us then, while the doors will be open again, it will not be business as usual so please read this carefully.

  • Worship for up to 50 people will take place in the Fellowship Hall with plastic chairs set up at safe distances.  A plastic table will be used as an altar along with the movable podium as a pulpit.  Any music will be on the portable keyboard.  All of these are furnishings that are more easily sanitized than would be the case for those in our regular worship space.  Also, the Fellowship Hall allows for multiple entrance and exit points which is another safety recommendation.
  • Masks must be worn.
  • Worship will be a spoken service that will include confession, the scripture readings and prayers for the day, a sermon, the creed, music played on the keyboard and wafers only communion.  Communion will involve a momentary breach of the 6-foot distancing rule but with the pastor and those receiving wearing masks one hopes that the risk is minimal.  All congregational responses will be softly spoken.  There will be no singing.
  • There will be no hymnals or bulletins used.    
  • The bathroom at the back of the Fellowship Hall will be available but it’s use will be discouraged, again due to sanitization requirements before and after each use.  
  • There will be no coffee hour.
  • Fellowship before and after church should take place outside.
  • A list of the names of those present will be kept so that, in the event that someone tests COVID positive, others can be contacted.

The online worship option will continue to be available.

According to the governor’s order, gatherings are limited to 50, so…those who are in what are considered to be higher risk categories due to age or underlying health issues are strongly urged to continue to worship at home using the online option.  If you feel that the in-person guidelines are too restrictive in any way, or that what is being proposed makes you uncomfortable in any way, you are strongly urged to continue to worship at home using the online option.  If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, COVID type symptoms or otherwise, you MUST continue to worship at home using the online option.  Those who continue to worship at home and who would like to receive communion are encouraged to contact me so that arrangements can be made.  

This is not a perfect solution.  The general consensus of the Church Council, the Worship and Music Committee and me as pastor is that there is no perfect solution and that if we wait for one it might be a year to a year and a half before we have any in-person worship.  What we are proposing is a good faith effort to provide an in-person option for those who desire it while still making health and safety a priority.      

You know that this situation is fluid and changing constantly.  If things continue to move in a positive direction it may be that some of the restrictions can be loosened and/or we can move into our regular worship space.  If there is a spike in cases or if there’s another wave of the virus late in the year as many expect, more restrictions could be required.  Right now though, we’re hoping that this represents a meaningful, safe option for those who desire to gather in person. 

Pastor Geier

 
 

Bethany Lutheran Church
715 Mather Avenue
Ishpeming, MI 49849

Phone: 906-486-4351
Fax: 906-486-9640
contact@bethanyishpeming.org

Rev. Warren Geier, Pastor
pastor@bethanyishpeming.org

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welcomes me, and whoever
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