February 1, 2021

After much thoughtful discussion, the deacons have decided that each church member should make an individual decision about whether to attend Sunday morning service in person or virtually. For more than ten months, your deacons have sought to balance the hallowed constancy of Christian togetherness with the pandemic’s necessary calls for separation. As the circumstances have evolved during those months, the deacons have continuously reevaluated Northminster’s approach.

On one hand, the deacons remain acutely aware of the pandemic’s incalculable and ongoing impact on each of us, our congregation, and our community. For many of us, including some deacons, that impact has been personal and profound. On the other hand, many of us have been vaccinated or will be soon. Others of us have recovered from the virus and may now be less susceptible to it. We all ache to return to our familiar place in the pews and to the rest of our church’s sacred places.

For most of us, there is no question that the right decision will be to continue to worship virtually. For some of us, the right decision will be to worship in person on Sunday mornings. Personal circumstances differ, so we encourage you to consider carefully what is right for you and for your family. The deacons have discerned that, at this point, those decisions are best made by individual church members.

For those who choose to attend Sunday service in person, you will find the same masking, sanitizing, and distancing protocols we used when we last gathered in November. Attendance at our prior in-person worship services remained low enough to allow for appropriate distancing in the sanctuary. If attendance reaches 90 people (approximately 15% of the sanctuary’s capacity), we will add a second service the following Sunday. Childcare will not be available at this time. We continue to evaluate other church activities, and more information will follow as it becomes available.

Christian history is, of course, full of stories of disease and struggle, not to mention floods, fiery furnaces, lions’ dens, bondage, and other hardships innumerable. Likewise, Christianity teems with lessons of faith, of goodness, of redemption, and—especially relevant now—of hope. Remembering now some of those important and familiar lessons of hope, the writer of Hebrews reminds us: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

So, with unwavering hope, we will begin again to open the doors of the sanctuary.

Jeff Stancill, Deacon Chair