Pastor’s Post 6/5/2020

Dear brothers and sisters of Immanuel Lutheran Church:

We rejoice that Immanuel is now permitted to resume offering its Divine Service at 10:00 AM each Sunday, beginning on June 7, 2020.  We will strive to conduct our services in the safest manner possible consistent with the “Safer at Home: Places of Worship” guidance issued on June 4, 2020 by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (“CDPHE”).  I have summarized below certain CDPHE recommendations and the actions that Immanuel plans to take with respect to this guidance.  The actions are generally listed in the same order as they are found in the CDPHE guidance, and therefore the order does not necessarily reflect Immanuel’s opinion of the relative importance of any one action over another.

The CDPHE strongly recommends that those who are at higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. 65 years and older, chronic lung disease, serious heart conditions, immunocompromised, severe obesity, diabetes, liver disease, chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, etc.) continue using online options.

The CDPHE strongly encourages that masks be worn at all times while on the premises by staff, volunteers, and congregants attending worship services.  Children 2 and under, those with trouble breathing, or those unable to remove a mask without assistance should not wear a mask.

Immanuel will limit attendance to 50 people per service.

While entering and exiting the church, or when walking to or from or utilizing restrooms, please maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing by party.  A “party” consists of individuals or members of a household who live together.

Seating in the sanctuary will be restricted in such a way as to maintain at least 6 feet of distance in every direction between individuals or parties.

Doors entering / exiting the church will remain open before and after services.  Doors inside the church will remain propped open throughout the entire service.

Hand-sanitizing units will be located near the front and rear of the sanctuary, as well as in the narthex.

During the Lord’s Supper, direct interaction between the Pastor and the congregants will be touch-free.  Distribution of the elements will be on the rail with the recommendation that no one kneels.  The use of the common cup will be temporarily suspended.  For those requiring additional assistance with communion, the Pastor will mask and sanitize his hands before and after each party.

Offering plates will be set near the library at the left front, and near the center rear, of the sanctuary so that attendees should not need to touch the plates when they give.  The plates will not be passed among attendees.

Hymnals and Bibles (with the exception of the Braille editions) have been removed from the sanctuary.  Photocopied worship folders will include all liturgy, hymns, and Scripture readings needed during the Divine Service.  These may be taken home or they will be discarded after one individual use.  Should you require or desire to use a hymnal, best practice is for worshippers to bring their own books, or utilize digital copies that can be accessed on a cell phone.

No food or beverages will be offered or provided by the Immanuel.  Additionally, no food or beverage may be brought in by individual attendees to share with others.

We ask for your cooperation and understanding as we work through these new procedures, but we give thanks and rejoice in our Lord that we may again gather as a community of believers to hear the Word of God and receive His grace, mercy, and forgiveness in the Sacrament of the Altar.

In His Service,

Pastor Jim Tuell

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