In-Person Worship Services Resuming
In-Person Worship Services have resumed. The service will also be held live on Zoom for folks who would prefer to attend worship in that way.
We aren’t going “back,” we are moving forward! It will be a learning curve as we figure out new ways of doing things. As we’ve all experienced this year, there’s no manual for how to handle this! Lots of time has been spent by Elim’s SMART Team to get to this point and they know that plans on paper may need to adjusted when actual people are involved - Your patience, understanding, and grace is greatly appreciated. We are glad to be able to start worshipping and hearing God’s Word in person again, while protecting our church community.
August 17, 2021 the Elim Council adopted the following:
Elim Lutheran Church Covid Recommendations
As of August 18, 2021, the Duluth area had a vaccination rate of 57.2% and a new case rate of 14/100,000.
Given the rapid increase in cases due to the Delta variant, the Elim Council voted to implement these changes -
1. We recommend prioritizing life and health of the vulnerable as a Gospel witness.
2. Immediately reimpose masking requirements.
3. Immediately halt coffee hour.
4. For Wednesdays in Sept – no meal or worship; education time only, masked and podded by family units in Fellowship Hall. If Duluth schools move to virtual learning, we will also move to all virtual education.
5. All groups meeting in the church must be masked and distanced at all times. No food to be served at these meeting.
6. Sunday worship – shorten service; continue with communion in pews; masked for entire service; soft singing allowed; continue offering at entrance; resume sign in to enable contact tracing.
7. If someone who was in worship tests positive for Covid, we will do contact tracing with all who were present and will contact those identified as close contacts. An announcement will be put on the Facebook page and the website to inform all attendees that they may have been exposed. Additional steps will be taken on a case by case situation if we determine it is necessary. If members are notified by the Elim SMART team, the MDH or other agency, we request that they adhere to the guidelines sent forth by the MDH and the CDC and quarantine as appropriate.
ALWAYS preserve the privacy of the positive individual.
8. Events such as Trunk or Treat may go ahead outdoors, maintaining social distancing.
9. Once New Case number drop below 10/100,00, we will consider slowly reinstating looser restrictions.
10. Plan on event modifications, mitigations and protective behaviors for many months to come.
11. As much as we long for a different truth, the pandemic is far from over.
So what can you expect to happen on Sunday Morning? Here’s a run-through for you:
At this point, Worship reservations are not required. Feel free to show up Sunday morning for worship at 10:15am.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ARRIVE
Enter the church through the upper main doors.
In the vestibule you will be invited to sanitize your hands and pick up a mask if you do not have one with you. Everyone will be required to wear a mask which covers your mouth and nose. Those who have completed their second vaccine dose are also required to wear a mask.
The next stop will be to check in for worship.
Please take your coats with you to your seat.
As you enter the sanctuary, there will be a table to pick up communion elements (on communion Sundays). There will also be hymnals and bibles, if you like to use one. (They have been removed from the pews—words for the liturgy and hymns will be projected on the screens.)
Offering plates will be located by the exits of the sanctuary for you to place your offering. Plates will not be passed during the service. Electronic giving is encouraged.
We will follow social distancing guidelines in the sanctuary with 6 feet between household groups.
During hymns we invite you to hum or sing softly to yourself. We are erring on the side of caution for the time being when it comes to singing.
Communion will be taken at your seat. Pastor will share the words of institution and will then invite you to partake in the meal. Remove your mask, eat the bread, drink the wine/juice, and then replace your mask. Paper bags will be available in each pew to dispose of your container.
For the time being the Nursery is closed - children will be seated with their family.
At this point there will be no coffee hour or social time within the church building.