October 14, 2020
To the community of West Bridgewater Community Church:
The past seven months have been strange and strained for all of us. Out of an abundance of caution, we have offered virtual worship services, Bible studies, and prayer meetings on Sunday mornings (10:30 a.m.) and Wednesday evenings (7 p.m.). Over the last few months, we have also had an in-person, outdoor worship service on Sunday afternoons (4 p.m.). Now that the weather is changing, and this season of pandemic has been prolonged, we feel the need to offer in-person, indoor worship. However, things will be a bit different due to regulations issues by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please read the entirety of this letter so that you can understand what we will be doing.
Here, very quickly, is what you need to know:
- We will begin worshipping together inside the building on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. this Sunday, October 18.
- We will begin with the 10:30 a.m. worship service inside. In subsequent weeks, we may also resume our Bible study that was normally held at 9:15 a.m.
- We may move our afternoon service inside. The evening worship service used to begin at 6 p.m. We may keep the 4 p.m. time because it seems to work well for many people.
- We will continue to live-stream the morning worship service for those who cannot attend in person. A worship guide (a digital bulletin of sorts) can be found each week on our website’s home page.
Let me re-state that last point: If you have been longing to join us in person on Sunday mornings and feel that you can do so safely, then please join us. If you are very worried about your health, because of other health conditions you have or because of your age, please do not feel pressured to come. You can continue to worship with us via the live-streamed worship service.
Here is some brief information about the live-streamed worship service:
- You can now join us online either on Facebook or on YouTube.
- You can find links to our respective Facebook and YouTube pages on our website, wbcommunity.org.
- On Facebook, you can search for the church name or go to https://www.facebook.com/wbcommunitychurch. Facebook is a great way to stay updated about what’s happening at the church. If you’re worried about privacy, you can always sign up without giving your full name, or you can use an alias.
- On YouTube, you can search for the church name, or you can go to www.tinyurl.com/wbccyoutube or www.tinyurl.com/wbccvideo. (The actual address of our YouTube channel is much longer.)
For those considering joining us in person, here is some critical information:
- We would love to have you join us in person. However, if you are not feeling well, please stay at home. If you have a fever or respiratory issues of any kind, please stay home.
- If you are coming, please wear a mask or face covering that covers both your nose and mouth. I think that many people don’t understand the logic behind masks. They are intended not to protect the healthy from getting sick, but to keep those with the virus (some may have the virus without having symptoms) from spreading it. It is an airborne virus, which means that it is mostly spread and caught through the air. More of the virus gets in the air when people talk, sing, laugh, cough, sneeze, etc. Wearing a mask keeps the bulk of any potential virus-containing droplets from circulating in the air. We will have some extra masks in case anyone needs one.
- We are asking people to maintain spatial distancing. We’ve all heard the six-feet measurement. We want to maintain a distance of at least six feet part from one another if possible. (Please note that this doesn’t apply to families. If you live together, you don’t need to maintain spatial distancing from each other.)
- Inside the building, Massachusetts regulations prevent us from having more than 50% of the building’s maximum permitted occupancy in the building. Also, there should be only 10 people per 1,000 square feet within enclosed spaces. This means that only one person should in a bathroom at any time.
- In the worship hall, most of the pews will be blocked off. This will ensure spatial distancing. Please sit only in open pews or chairs. Also, while families can sit right next to each other, leave some space between you and any non-family members in the same row.
- We are asking people not to congregate closely together before or after the service. Of course, you can say hello and catch up, but we don’t want people to get very close to each other (no shaking hands or hugs, no “close talking”). We’re also trying to avoid extended periods of being close to each other in the building. It will be better to have longer conversations in the parking lot after the service.
- Along those lines, please enter the pews through the center aisle of the worship hall and then leave the pews by using the side aisles. We will dismiss those in attendance by row.
- We will not pass plates of any kind during the service. There will be an offering plate in the back of the room. You can deposit your offering before or after the service. When we take the Lord’s Supper, we have pre-filled cups/wafers that will be available on a table in the back of the room.
- At the end of the morning service, we need a few volunteers to help clean key surfaces (door handles, sinks, toilets) so that if we hold our afternoon service inside, things will be clean. If we have four volunteers per week, cleaning all the relevant surfaces shouldn’t take very long at all.
That’s probably all that needs to be said right now. I realize that’s a lot of information. Things will likely change a bit, and we’re all having to play this season in our lives by ear. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and grace. We’re all trying to adjust to the “new normal,” and we may stumble a bit on our way to establishing new patterns of “doing church.” We want to worship together, but we also want to help protect the health of one another, out of love for one another.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 774–240–8374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I thank you all and I praise God for you all. “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:3–6).
Pastor, West Bridgewater Community Church