United Church of Bernardston Transition to In-Person Worship
October 2021 update:
In our attempt to make our in-person worship as safe for everyone as possible, we neglected to consider one thing that we would now like to correct. Our guidelines state that those attending worship in person should be masked and fully vaccinated. We neglected to take into account the members of our church family who are not yet able to receive the vaccination. We extend a welcoming embrace (or elbow bump) to our children under the age of 12 who are not able to get the vaccine. They are most welcome at the in-person worship. We just ask that they, like the rest of the congregation, remain masked while inside. Welcome!!
On Sunday, June 20th, UCB transitioned into a hybrid worship experience. In addition to maintaining our current remote worship model, we will be welcoming people back into the sanctuary for in-person worship. While we are very excited to be able to worship together in person, our primary concern is for the health and safety of those who are in attendance.
We ask that those choosing to worship in person please respect the following guidelines to maintain the atmosphere of safety. First, we are asking that all who attend in person be fully vaccinated and that at least two weeks have passed since your last vaccination. We will not be checking vaccination cards, but we trust that all would be on their honor to respect the well-being of the members of their church family.
Second, we are asking that all who attend please wear a mask. Worshipping indoors and in-person is still a risky activity. And, though we will have windows open and mini-splits running, air exchange in our sanctuary is rather limited. Only when someone is speaking from the pulpit or lectern in the front of the sanctuary will masks not be required.
Thirdly, we are asking people to social distance. Every other pew in the sanctuary has been taped off to allow for proper distancing. Family units or groups of people who are in proximity with each other outside of worship may sit together, but otherwise please try to maintain a proper social distance.
Finally, we will not be singing the hymns or responses. Singing in a worship setting is still deemed as a very high-risk activity by the current standards. There will be two hymns as a part of the service and Liz will play two verses of each hymn. The words to the hymns will be printed in the worship bulletin (hymnals have been temporarily removed from the pews). We ask that you read or quietly hum the hymns.
Offering plates will not be passed but will be on the rail in the back of the sanctuary. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be mounted in the back as well as by the elevator doors and the main entrance.
On communion Sundays, we will not be distributing the elements. We invite you to bring your own communion elements to church with you if you wish to share in the sacrament in that way.
We will be limiting the number of announcements and streamlining the service to try to keep it to about 45 minutes. This is also in keeping with current best practices for churches worshipping in-person. There will also be no Sunday School, childcare, or nursery until these activities are approved.
We will be continuing our live-streamed worship on both Facebook and YouTube for those who choose to worship in that manner or those too far away to be with us in person.
It is both exciting and nerve-racking to dream about worshipping together in person. We hope and pray and trust that all who attend will do everything in their power to make our worship time safe and filled with the spirit of our welcoming God.