Zion Updates on COVID Policy on Nov 17

The Zion Consistory met on Tuesday, November 17th and made the following decisions for our church family for the next few weeks. They are grateful for the prayers and support of the congregation as they have sought to follow Governor’s mandates, health protocols, and – first and foremost – Scriptural wisdom. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact a Consistory member or get in touch with us at the church.

For Sunday, Nov 22nd
This Sunday, we will have the same schedule for worship: 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. We will be live streaming the 10 am service. However, there are two changes for this Sunday: we will be asking everyone who comes to the 8:30 service to wear a mask, and we will be reducing our singing in worship. If you come to the early service, please wear a mask/covering, and we will have extra masks at the door if you forget. Social distancing and masks are still encouraged at the 10 am service, but not required.

We know that some in our church family cannot attend worship if everyone else is not also wearing a mask. By ensuring that everyone wears a mask at the early service, this will be a blessing to our church family members that we love so much.

November 29th and Following Sundays
On the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, Nov 29th, we will be changing the schedule for the next several weeks. Sunday mornings will be as follows:

8:30 – 9:20 | Early Worship service (masks required)
9:30 – 10:15 | Sunday school for all ages
10:30 – 11:20 | Second worship service (livestream, masks not required)

This schedule allows us to bring our Sunday school program back, as well as sanitize the sanctuary and rooms in between time blocks.

In all of our worship services, we will have reduced singing. We have been advised that singing is a key form of spreading coronavirus, and that steps taken to reduce the amount of singing is important. During music, we will provide the lyrics to songs to silently meditate upon in the pew, and we will still sing the Doxology at the end of the service as usual.

All children’s Sunday school classes will meet in the Fellowship Hall in the basement, and have singing socially distanced before going to their Sunday school classes. The adult Sunday school class will meet in the sanctuary. Our class sizes and rooms fall within the parameters set for Iowa congregations.

Christmas And Special Events
We recognize that many things could change over the next weeks and months, but we wanted to encourage you by sharing some of the ways we are praying the Lord will lead us going forward.

We will have the church decorated for Advent and Christmas, but we are canceling the Advent/Caroling party.

We will have Women’s Bible studies on Tuesday mornings at 9:30 am, but we are canceling the Women’s Christmas Brunch.

We will have a Christmas Eve program, even though we are not totally sure yet what shape that will take. Our children will begin practicing their songs and parts in upcoming weeks at Sunday school.

We are anticipating that we will not have a live Christmas Eve prelude, with children performing their individual songs. However, we would ask parents to record their child/children singing, playing, or performing their Christmas Eve piece. Zion will compile these videos, and provide these to our church family at Christmas time. Kids, get those Christmas Eve songs ready! Parents, brush off those recording skills! More information will be posted in the future.

We will be having Christmas Day worship & communion.

Pray For God’s Leading
With all of the above information, please know that none of these decisions were arrived at lightly, and if you are concerned or wish to give input, the Consistory welcomes your feedback. Also, if it becomes clear that one of the above policies isn’t working, don’t worry! We will admit the mistake, ask for forgiveness, and try something different. None of this is permanent! No one – other than the Lord above – knows exactly how things will proceed. We are praying for a joyful attitude to trust God in this uncertain time. We ask you, our church family, to joyfully come along with us as we follow together.

About blund

Brian J. Lund is minister of Word & Sacrament at Zion Evangelical & Reformed Church. You can follow him at his website or @BrianJLund.
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