It is a strange sensation making plans for returning to in-person services on July 4th. Writing this column out loud, I’m excited about the prospect, but also worried because so much will be different. As I think about it, I need to remember the physical location has changed. As yet, we have no music director or accompanist. Regular patterns of assembling, rehearsing, coffee getting, social hall hosting, will need to be reestablished or reinvented. In most ways, we really will not be picking up where we left off.
But, the water will eventually find its level. If the rate of infection continues to decline, and good news continues to be reported about the efficacy of the vaccine, I think comfort levels will increase. However, as always, we are prepared to change guidelines and no one who is uncomfortable participating in things should feel any pressure to do anything that makes them uneasy.
Somehow or other we will figure out the way to provide accompaniment for the music. That’s probably the biggest challenge. Up until now, the music has been a central element to our Sunday morning service, and we still have a lot of remarkably talented people to help. But, it’s not going to be quite the same. We were very fortunate and perhaps a little spoiled with Julie Sherlock and Sheila Plummer, and with those who stepped-up to fill in the gap between them. I remember Didi Hoepfinger especially stepping up to make a lot of arrangements during that period. We will do what we are able to do, as we are able to do it. Hopefully, before too long, we will figure out the way forward.
The worship committee is also considering the structure of the service. We had just started to use a revised order of service—that is, just had a couple of services with it—when the church closed. Since then, it seems that starting with announcements and going into meditation was a nice way to start. At the upcoming worship committee meeting, that will be further evaluated. And as for planning the big events, like flower communion, dedication of the addition, and water communion—I think it’s best we wait and see how things go with more simple services.
For the social hour, there are essentially few precedents for the use of all the new kitchen equipment or the expanded social hall. There will be some inevitable trial and error with this—it will take a while for everyone to remember where things are and for things to find their new permanent home. But, things will sort themselves out, and at least there will be an opportunity with a growing comfort to be together again.