Your church misses you. Who would have thought 15 months ago, that it would be this long until our greeters would swing open the doors to our sanctuary again on a Sunday morning? I am dreaming of greeting you all again face-to-face. What a celebration it will be on July 4, 2021 when we come back together in person at our 9 AM and 11 AM services! Between services, we will be having a time of fellowship outside with popsicles and single-serving drinks for all.
On July 4th, you will have 3 different options to join us in worship. You may join us at either of our two indoor worship services at 9 AM or 11 AM. Alternatively, you may join our 11 AM service online as we stream live from our sanctuary to our website, to our Facebook page, to our Youtube channel, and to our Twitch channel. To find any of these online options on Sunday morning or afterwards, you can simply type uccaustin.org/live into your search bar. There will no longer be a 10 AM service.
Your In-Person Team has worked so hard to create the best possible in-person worship experience for you -- one that is safe, comfortable, and accommodates the number of people we anticipate returning to our building. They have also had to continually adapt their plans as the situation on the ground changes. Most recently, given several changing variables, they, along with your Council’s approval, have decided the best way for us to foster social distancing will be for us to move to two nearly identical indoor services at 9 AM and 11 AM, rather than trying to temporarily remove and store our pews. This means we will be asking you to social distance yourselves, keeping 6 feet between you and those next to you in the pews, and doing your best to stagger yourselves front-to-back so that there is six feet of distance between you vertically. We encourage our 11 AM worshippers to consider attending our 9 AM service to spread out our numbers, and we hope to foster that by making the two services very similar.
Two weeks ago we held a Town Hall meeting for those interested in learning more about our plan for coming back together. If you missed that Town Hall, you can go to our website at uccaustin.org/indoorworship. In short, you will be asked to mask, social distance, and refrain from singing for the time being. Our Nursery Care and Sunday School will be on hold for now, but two vaccinated children’s volunteers will be available to take children outside after the children’s sermon. Hymn lyrics and prayer responses will be on two flat screens hung on the pillars on either side of the sanctuary. Bulletins will, therefore, be optional but accessible on your mobile device. We will continue to use single-serve communion for now and refrain from passing the offering plates.
We return to worship as different people. Worship too will look a little different. Our practices will continue to evolve, however, as the situation evolves, and especially as our many children become vaccinated. If there is anything we have learned from the last 15 months, it is how to adapt. So thank you for your grace and understanding as we prayerfully balance your need to be together, to worship God, to be safe, and to feel comfortable.