THE RETURN OF IN-PERSON WORSHIP
APRIL 3 & 17, 2022 | EVERY SUNDAY BEGINNING MAY 1, 2022
To our church family and friends,
Let’s try this again! In December of last year, we were excited about our return to in-person worship. However, due to increased COVID cases in our city, we felt it necessary to return to a virtual-only worship experience. At the time of this letter, there is a 1% COVID test positivity rate in the city of Chicago, which is substantially less than the 23.6% positivity rate we endured during the first week of January, when we returned to virtual-only worship. We have trusted God and followed COVID caseload trends during this time. We have sought the advice of health professionals, listened to feedback from our church leadership, and, above all, we have prayed for clarity and direction. We have concluded that now is the right time to re-open our doors for in-person worship!
As we noted last year, we are comfortable with our decision, but we also understand that there may be some who either have reservations about returning this weekend, or prefer we reopen without restrictions (including no vaccination requirements or masks). We understand your hesitancy and preferences for reopening. However, please know that these are temporary measures. Our ultimate goal is to return at normal capacity, without restrictions as soon as we can. Until then, our re-opening has been planned with the health and safety of all members in mind, especially those who are the most vulnerable. Thank you for your patience, understanding, prayers and continued support of your church!
Please note the following:
1. There is NO pre-registration requirement to attend worship! For now, we will only require full vaccinations (for ages 5 and older), masks and social distancing.
2. If you uploaded your vaccination status online earlier this winter, we still have those records and you do not need to upload those details again, unless you did not have your full vaccination. For those who would like to upload their vaccination status, you can do so at bit.ly/ctvaccinereg – you may also text the word vaccine to 773-966-0080 to register your details. Note: if you upload your vaccination status on Saturday or Sunday morning, we will not have those records until the following week - you will need to show proof at the door. Additionally, you can simply show vaccination proof (card, copy, screenshot, etc.) at the door weekly each Sunday if you choose to not upload those details. Please note that proof of vaccination will not be required in perpetuity to worship at CT.
3. When you arrive, please enter and check-in through the main narthex entrance doors (located at 79th & Wabash). There you will get your temperature checked and show proof of vaccine if you haven’t already uploaded your details. It’s always a good idea to have a copy of your vaccination status on hand, just in case. We are requiring masks to be worn correctly over the mouth and nose for the duration of worship. A mask will be provided in case you forget yours or a replacement is needed.
4. As always, our ushers will assist you in finding a seat. For the purposes of social distancing, some rows will be restricted. On 1st Sundays, you will receive your individually packaged communion as you enter the sanctuary, or prior to. You will be dismissed by row, as directed by our ushers and other volunteers. Please do not congregate in the narthex (front entrance) as you exit.
· Q: How early can I get into the sanctuary on Sundays?
o You may enter the sanctuary 15-20 minutes before 10am worship begins.
· Q: Do I have to pre-register for worship?
o A: No
· Q: Which restrooms are available?
o A: The restrooms in the lower level (the stage of the SJ Laws Hall) are available. For the physically challenged, the restroom off of the pulpit/choir stand, through the doors on the west side is available.
· Q: Can I enter the Educational Building?
o A: No, not at this time. We are asking that persons enter/exit through the main doors off of 79th or Wabash. The Educational Building will be used for officers who need to handle Sunday morning responsibilities.
· Q: Will Sunday School, Bible Study, or Kingdom Kids be held on Sundays or during the week in-person?
o A: No, all of our Christian Education activities will remain virtual until later this year.
· Q: Should I come to church if I am not vaccinated or don’t feel well?
o A: No, if you are unvaccinated, or are not feeling well, even slightly, we invite you to continue worshipping with us virtually. While we respect everyone’s right to not receive the COVID-19 vaccine, we are asking only those who are vaccinated to attend worship at this time. We will inform those who are unvaccinated of the proper time to return later this year. For us, this fulfills Christ’s command to love one another, but also Philippians 2:3-4, “…in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
· Q: Can I bring my physical offering to church?
o A: Yes, you can bring your offering to the church on Sundays. While we still encourage electronic or giving by mail, there will be boxes and stewards at the door for you to give your tithes and offerings.
· Q: What should I expect during Sunday morning, in-person worship?
o A: You should expect an uplifting worship experience, full of singing, dancing, praising, and powerful preaching when you join us in-person or online!
Thank you for adhering to these measures that support our shared responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our faith community. As we return, we are praying that our in-person worship experience is safe and a blessing to all who are able to join us. If you have any questions, please call 773-874-0175 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you soon, either virtually or in-person on the first and third Sundays of April, and every Sunday beginning May 1!
Pastor Joseph B. Gordon & Carter Temple CME Church