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ST. PAUL'S LUTHERAN CHURCH

St. Paul's Lutheran Church (LCMS)  |  37707 New Market Turner Road; Mechanicsville, MD

Church: 301.884.5184  |  Fax: 301.884.2063

info@stpaulssomd.com

                                                                                                              6-10-2020

My Beloved,

As promised last Sunday during our service stream, here is the plan for the upcoming opening services. Our Elders have met, and they have come up with some guidelines that will be adhered to as a part of St. Paul’s re-opening procedures. One of our elders (Steven Stowers) has been very much in the trenches of the medical communities’ response to Covid-19, and he has guided us with his medical expertise. We all came to a quorum on how we should proceed towards re-opening. I will insert Andrew Maack’s (Head Elder) outline below.

June 14th (10:30 a.m.) – We will be doing what is considered a “soft-opening.” All this really means is that we will be conducting a “practice service.” Just like we have modified our online service after we have had some issues, we intend for this service to stand as a checkpoint regarding things we need to improve on for the next week. This will allow the elders, council members, and myself to see where we need to improve. This service will also recognize our graduates. I ask that just the families of the graduates, council members, and elders attend this service. Like lessons learned from the online services, these “new” services will continue to become a learning process as we go. Please be patient with us and each other during this time.  This service will be live-streamed for everyone else to be a part of.

June 21st (8:00  & 10:30 a.m.) – We will provide both our services on Father’s Day as our official re-opening date. Everyone is welcome!

We all understand that everyone is different and has concerns with any type of re-opening.  I would ask that you approach returning with a heart of faith rather than fear. I understand this is a scary time, and we all have concerns about this pandemic and how we are supposed to act during this very unusual time.  I ask you all to follow your hearts. We need to be smart about this as well. This is not an attempt to force anyone to do anything. We are just going to provide you all the ability to assemble in God’s House and worship Him the way it was intended to be done. We will also continue to stream the 10:30 a.m. service for those of you who are more comfortable at home. I look forward to the day that we will all be one body again worshipping Our Savior Jesus Christ.

The Elders Guidelines:

Members of St. Paul's,

Under the guidelines put forth for the re-opening of Maryland businesses, places of worship and other activities, we are once again able to come together to worship in unison, and we thank Our Lord for that!  However, we must recognize that the COVID-19 threat is still present in our Southern Maryland community and, therefore, we will need to implement some mitigations against that threat during our worship activities.  We have obligations to do so as a responsibility for our own personal safety and also as a responsibility to protect others around us.

Effective for all services here at St. Paul's, please observe the following:

-Choose seats as a family unit that maintains an appropriate social distance from others.

-Wear a suitable face mask covering for the protection of others.

-Use hand sanitizer placed at different locations in the Sanctuary and Narthex or use your own personal product.

-We will refrain from handshakes, hugs and the like.

-We will follow any special instructions that the Pastor or other leaders guide us through relative to communion procedures.

We understand that some of these mitigations may seem unfriendly or regimental, but the spread of the disease remains a very real threat and these simple rules greatly reduce the risk to our congregation.  We will continue to review the advice from the medical community, relative to our risks and recommended best practices and will adjust accordingly.

We act out of love and responsibility, not fear.  If you are uncomfortable with abiding by the stated guidelines, then please continue to worship with us via the streamed service online.

                                           God's Blessings,

                                                         St. Paul's Elders

These guidelines will be posted on the doors along with the current CDC guidance. Also know that the sanctuary renovations are nearly complete and you will be returning to a sanctuary that is renewed. We are very proud of what we have been able to accomplish while we have been away from each other. If there are any questions, please feel free to contact your Elder, Audrey, or myself. We are back in the office from Tuesday -Friday from 10-3.

Blessings,

Rev. Gary R. Pomrenke
Pastor - St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (LCMS)
pastorgary.pomrenke@gmail.com
www.stpaulssomd.com
(240) 424-2451 (Cell)