Preparing for In-Person Worship

On July 5th, Good Shepherd began holding in-person worship in our parking lot on Sunday morning, while also continuing our online gatherings. We welcome you to join us virtually or in the flesh on Sundays. If you choose to come to outdoor worship, please read on to learn what you’ll need to bring and how to let us know you’re coming!

Preparing to Come:

  • Check the weather. Our service will be outdoors, so it is weather-dependent! In the event of inclement weather, we’ll send out a congregational email to announce cancellation no later than 8 a.m. Sunday morning.
  • Sign up to come. (Here’s the link!) We are planning for a service with the capacity for 25 households. Our best preparation depends on an accurate count of who expects to come, so please sign up in advance by using the link above or calling the church office.
  • Pack what you need. Bring chairs to sit in, water, sunscreen, bug spray, sunshades—whatever will make you comfortable for 30-45 minutes in the height of a New England summer.
  • Remember your mask. Following the governor’s order, we ask that everyone wear a mask except young children and those with medical needs that preclude their use. We’ll have some cloth masks on hand for the forgetful, courtesy of our mask-makers.
  • Bring your phone. This will be a paperless service, but you can follow along through the bulletin uploaded to our website.
  • Check in with your body. If you have experienced any signs of illness, especially fever, coughing, or shortness of breath, or if you’ve been exposed to someone who has a confirmed or suspected case of COVID, please join us online for virtual worship instead.

Arriving:

  • Find your spot. Please set up your chairs in a physically-distanced spot where you can make yourself comfortable. Ushers can help you locate a spot that will stay shaded throughout the service.
  • Honor physical distancing. We are beyond excited to see you in person! But please remember to continue physical distancing. Our goal is to make sure that those who have promised themselves that they’ll only attend in-person worship if it seems as safe as possible will come back the next week, and the next!

Worshiping:

  • Rejoice and be glad! It’s God’s day, so let’s be joyful in it! The service won’t be like “normal,” but we will be God’s people, gathered by God’s Spirit to worship and to pray. However different things are, nothing changes that eternal truth about who and whose we are.
  • Rest your voice. Research has shown that singing produces a higher volume of aerosols, which have been implicated in the coronavirus’ transmission. For that reason, we will have a soloist offering our hymns of praise. Each of us is invited to raise our spirits rather than our voices, and to pray through the lyrics of each hymn as the soloist sings.
  • Expect a communion of people, but not bread and wine. We won’t include the Lord’s Supper as part of our celebration for now. We want to make sure other logistics are in place before addressing the puzzle of how to mitigate the risks associated with communion—but doing so is on our to-do list!

Leaving:

  • Practice your peace sign. At the end of the service, we’ll share a physically-distanced sign of peace with one another.
  • Don’t forget to leave that envelope you’ve been carrying around. We’ll have a plate (or plates) out to collect offerings at the end of the service, but it will not be passed around.
  • Use the building if you have to—but only then, please! We encourage everyone to remain outdoors for the whole duration of the service unless the needs of your body controvert your best intentions. If you need to shelter from the heat or urgently use the restrooms, the building will be unlocked.

We hope this walk-through helps prepare you for a worship service that’s different than usual, but nonetheless one where Jesus shows up, because he promised to do just that “wherever two or three are gathered.” We look forward immensely to encountering him alongside all of you, whether we gather with you virtually or in-person.

Archived Congregational Communications during the Pandemic

As COVID cases began arriving in our area in early- to mid- March, we sought to keep communication going by adding a pastors’ message to each weekly e-newsletter. In the midst of rapidly changing circumstances, they’ve become one of our primary means of keeping the congregation connected and up-to-date. We’ve archived these weekly and monthly communications here to help keep a record of how our community’s life has unfolded in these past few months.

Weekly News July 26, 2020
Blessing of the HS graduates and Baptism 

Weekly News July 19, 2020
Change in time and location of in-person worship to mitigate summer heat.

Weekly News July 12, 2020
Review of how in-person worship went; adjustments to come.

Weekly News July 5, 2020
Beginning in-person worship on July 5th.

Monthly July Messenger

Weekly News June 28, 2020

Weekly News June 21, 2020

Weekly News June 14, 2020

Weekly News June 7, 2020

Monthly June Messenger

Weekly News May 31, 2020

Weekly News May 24, 2020

Weekly News May 10, 2020

Monthly May Messenger

Weekly News April 26, 2020

Letter from Bishop Eaton of the ELCA

Bishop Eaton’s Easter Message

Monthly April Messenger

Weekly News, April 5, 2020
Pastors’ Message, including Holy Week schedule. Updated schedule and other news.

Weekly News, March 29, 2020
Pastors’ Message, including Holy Week schedule. Updated schedule and other news.

Weekly News, March 22, 2020
Pastors’ Message, including news that we will be closed through Holy Week. Updated schedule and other news.

Pastors’ Letter, March 16, 2020
Good Shepherd updates cancellations to include April 5th and all public gatherings.

Pastors’ Letter, March 13, 2020
Good Shepherd cancels public worship; moves to livestream through March 22nd.