When will we be back IN church?

Rev. Steve Boutell   -  

This is the information that will come out in the newsletter.

Thanks for being the church!

I continue to be amazed at the ways you all continue to be the church!

We have adjusted well to online worship. I want to express special thanks to Barry Richards for all the work he has done from a technical side.  I also want to thank Neil Murphy, Heather Boutell, and Melissa and Eric Wilson for the music they have provided.  What a great job our folks have done reading scripture from their home.

We have also made DVD copies of worship available for those few homes that don’t have the ability to worship online.

I also want to thank you for the ways you have continued to be generous with your giving.

While online worship has been great, the most often asked question these days is “When are we going to go back to church?”

First of all, I would say that we have been at church all along.  Although it has been online the church has not stopped meeting.

Second of all, this is not an easy question.

I want to meet in-person again as the church more than anybody, but it just hasn’t been safe thus far.  Our bishop, Bill McAlilly , in his blog (https://bishopbillmcalilly.com) has asked that churches not meet in person through the month of May.

That means the earliest we could be together for in-person worship at Cross Plains Church is Sunday, June 7, 2020.

For me, here is the decision making process and the preparation process for that to remain true.

What must happen:

  1. Tennessee must continue through its phases of reopening.
  2. Bishop McAlilly must not recommend further suspension of in-person worship.
  3. I have to be convinced that in-person is an appropriate way to care for you.
  4. The leadership of CPUMC must agree that in-person is best at that time.

What we must do:

  1. The church must be deep cleaned.
  2. All surfaces must be sanitized.
  3. Necessary items to protect you while at church must be provided.
  4. We must practice social distancing while at church (this includes how we sit in the pews – you might not be able to sit in “your seat” right away).

What won’t happen (right away) when we’re back:

  1. Sunday school classes will not be meeting immediately.
  2. Passing the Peace/Greeting time will not take place.
  3. We will not pass the offering plates (other options for giving will be offered)
  4. There won’t be a choir.

What will continue:

  1. Online worship will still be offered each week.
  2. Online/Text giving options will still be available.
  3. Innovation.
  4. THE CHURCH!!!

One of the things we will continue to discuss is how we will celebrate Holy Communion together.

My promise to you is that I will do my best to continue to communicate with you about this process. I will also continue to pray for you.  I ask that you pray for me as we make important decisions about what’s best for us all.

Our world has changed.  I am convinced that many things will never be the same again.  But, we take hope in this truth – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

Pastor Steve7