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Church Reopening

Our staged reopening process is well underway.  After experiencing socially distanced outdoor worship periodically during the summer months and each Saturday evening this fall, we are preparing for indoor in person worship to begin October 24-25 with one socially distanced Saturday evening worship @ 5 PM and one socially distanced Sunday morning worship @ 9:30 AM.  Below are some common questions that folks have been asking.


St. Andrew's Reopening Q & A

1. Why have we not opened sooner?

As has been stated in several of our worship recordings, it really has come down to the three C's:

COVID19 - The opportunity to increase our school / work / community interactions enough to see if we are comfortable reopening with precautions in place or if increased activity results in a serious spike (We will continue to monitor this situation along with recommendations from the state, Montgomery County, and  the Southeastern PA Synod of the Lutheran Church)

COOLING - Demolition / Renovation /  Construction started over the summer resulted in the removal of our HVAC unit in the church building. As you may have noticed in some of the recordings, it has been toasty in there and not safe for groups.  By the end of the month, we should be past any possible Indian summers and will have a temporary heating unit installed (Yes, winter is coming!)

CONSTRUCTION - With major construction going on throughout the building and grounds, we wanted to make sure that the worship space was accessible and safe.  It is very possible that we will have another hiatus from the worship space at the beginning of the new year, not COVID related (hopefully) but associated with work taking place in the sanctuary.  We anticipated this before the construction began but assumed in a pre-COVID world  that we could simply rent another indoor venue for worship.  During this brief time period, we will simply return to digital content.

2. Why are we only having one service on Sunday morning (alongside Saturday night worship)?

After analyzing congregational surveys of who was or wasn't able or comfortable returning to the building for indoor, in person worship, it was determined that we have enough space to socially distance our worshipers in one service on Sunday morning, especially if we open narthex doors and place clusters of socially distanced chairs in the narthex. 

Furthermore, surveys and subsequent conversations with members have helped leadership to realize that it will be challenging to have enough trained volunteers (ushers, readers, musicians, altar guild, etc.) to safely facilitate three services at this time.  (Ample volunteers have been secured for Saturday night.  We are still  seeking volunteers for Sunday.)

Finally, by only having one service on Sunday, we do not have the pressure of having to quickly clean / sanitize between services.

3. How will this schedule impact Christian Education?

This has been a challenging question to address and therefore leaders of Christian Education have been carefully consulted along the way. Sunday School will be gathering mostly in their homes with materials they have picked up at church as well as pre-recorded materials and Zoom meetings on Sunday mornings.  Occasionally during this program year (and we consider this a very temporary arrangement) families who have Zoom meetings may choose to miss those for in person Sunday worship and watch a recording later.  However, most families have indicated that they would prefer digital worship or Saturday evening at this time.  Teachers who wish to worship in person on Sunday  will rotate with rest of staff so that they  can worship at that time at  least half the month.  Confirmation meets on Monday nights and is not impacted by this change. 

As for Adult Education, Sunday classes will be offered in the Narthex or on the Zoom platform @ 10:45 AM.  Since worship will be briefer with no fellowship to follow, those who live in the community can return home for Zoom offerings.  This will chiefly be a challenge for Sunday morning worshipers with longer commutes.  However, we  will continue to offer our Thursday Noontime Bible Study on Zoom, a Bible Study (socially distanced)  at Shannondell will resume in November, and we will be exploring additional learning opportunities for groups through social media in the months to come. 

4. How will a return to the sanctuary impact worship that I have enjoyed on line?

We are committed to continue to provide digital resources for those who are unable to worship with us in person for any reason.  Included in these resources this fall will be scripture, prayer, song, a children's message, and sermon.  We may streamline content from time to time and may need to give our tech team a break once in a while.  However, most weeks out of the year, you will be able to find worship resources through YouTube, our Facebook page , your e-mail links, and the church website.  Even if there is a week when  we are not recording, we are committed to providing you with weekend spiritual resources for your growth.  

 

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