An Update from St. Tim’s Congregation President, Lee Wilson: Bernalillo County and Albuquerque are now in the “yellow” tier of Covid-19 state status. That allows for up to 33% attendance for indoor church services. This of course is subject to ongoing masking, social distancing and hand washing requirements. The church council executive team is considering our options relative to ongoing Sunday services (indoor versus outdoor), but no decision has been made on this issue. Council is aware of this update and will be monitoring the situation weekly. You may contact Lee Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or suggestions.
Introducing Outdoor Worship!
It feels like ages since we’ve been together for worship. Thanks be to God for the gift of technology that has allowed us to be “together” digitally even when we’ve been physically apart. Now, we have a small opening to come together in God’s grace and mercy to worship, thanks be to God! The St. Tim’s Council as well as the Worship and Music Team have been working hard to find a way we may gather while maintaining very clear physical distancing guidelines. Please read on to get the specifics about these important boundaries and parameters.
Before getting to the full description, however, here’s what you need to know: If you are in an at-risk population, especially if your age and medical situation place you at high risk for infection, please remember the stay-at-home recommendation from our Governor remains in place. We don’t want anyone to feel as if in-person worship participation is expected! Each individual needs to make a wise decision for themselves.
Unless further restrictions are again set in place, St. Tim’s will begin offering abbreviated, outdoor worship experiences beginning Sunday, June 7th. This will be an experiment for all us! We are excited to offer this worship opportunity and we fully expect to make changes as we move forward.
This is how it will work for now (i.e. important guidelines for participation):
- 12 or so people will gather at a time in the courtyard off of Jefferson Street (that 12 number sounds biblical, doesn’t it?). Seats will be placed at least eight feet from one another. A face covering is essential for each worshiper. If you don’t have one, don’t worry! Wonderful St. Tim’s folks will be making and providing them. Please bring your own if you have it!
- Up to three worship times will be offered on Sunday mornings. Two other worship times will be opened up on Monday evenings if we have the wonderful problem of having too many people who want to participate!
- Each worshiper will need to reserve their spot by signing up on our website – www.StTimsChurch.net, or following the link from our Facebook Page, or calling the church office 505-255-8001.
- You will need to make your reservation by the Thursday before worship. In other words, if you’d like to be in worship on Sunday, June 7th, you’ll need to reserve your spot by Thursday, June 4th. We’re sorry for the need to plan so far ahead!
- Worship will be abbreviated. It will last no longer than 25 minutes and will include a time of prayer, Bible readings, a short reflection on the readings from Pr. Rachael, and Holy Communion. Sadly, we will not be able to sing together. That activity has been found to spread the virus quickly. We’ll enjoy the gift of congregational singing even more when we are finally able to do it again!
- Worshipers will need to leave shortly after the worship experience so that the seats and communion plates can be disinfected for the next group. As much as we all love to just “hang out” together, thanks be to God(!), it is important that we do not congregate outside of the courtyard before or after each worship experience.
- Unfortunately, access to the church building will not be available. Please be sure to use the restroom before you arrive! The possibility of spreading the virus through a public restroom is too great to make it available for Sunday morning worship times. Again, we’re so sorry for the inconvenience!
- The full, on-line worship experience will continue for the foreseeable future, probably until a vaccine is discovered and has become widely available. Thanks be to God for Clara and her work to put this together for us each week!
Would you please consider if you’d like to participate in this worship offering? In order to plan the right number of worship services, we’d love to have some idea of how many folks are interested in participating. You don’t have to decide right now AND you can change your mind at any time! You can let us know by calling the church office 505-255-8001 or emailing Pr. Rachael at email@example.com. We’d love to have a rough number for worship on June 7th by Monday, June 1st.
Thanks be to God for the gift of one another as we navigate this extraordinary time together!
St. Tim’s is keeping with CDC recommendations, here is the latest: Holy Communion resumes Sunday, May 24!! Pastor Rachael is in the clear! The folks she was contract traced to tested negative, thanks be to God! She looks forward to greeting anyone who would like communion from at least a six foot distance wearing our masks in the courtyard.
During Sunday Holy Communion from 8:30-10:30 a.m., 5 or less people can gather, and not to exceed 5 people at one time; please remain at the CDC recommended physical 6 foot distance from one another. When you arrive at the St. Tim’s courtyard off of Jefferson, feel free to enter as long as your presence will not cause the gathering to exceed 5 people and keeping the 6 foot distance between people. If 5 people are in the courtyard already, simply stand outside the courtyard until someone exits, and then enter. Individual cups of grape juice will be placed on tables with much space in between in order for those communing to remain physically apart from one another. For those who feel comfortable, the gift of Christ’s body and blood is available for you. May God give comfort and strength to us all as we move forward each day, trusting in God’s promises of life abundant.
God’s Peace, Pr. Rachael
Community Prayer everyday at 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
In this time of physical separation, you are invited to join with members of St. Tim’s and others in our community at 10 am and 3 pm each day. It could be a simple prayer for healing and hope, the Lord’s Prayer, or an extended time of reflection, Bible reading, and prayer. As you are able to engage in these prayer times each day, know you are deeply connected through the gift of the Holy Spirit in a community held together by the power of God’s love in Jesus Christ
Stay up-to-date with Covid-19 in New Mexico https://cv.nmhealth.org/
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ELCA Resources to help leaders and members stay connected and resilient during COVID-19. https://www.elca.org/publichealth