Some GREAT news!
I am so excited and grateful to be able to share with you that our in-person worship attendance numbers continue to grow. Of course, our online numbers are still higher and this is to be expected. Many of our congregation are rightly concerned about their vulnerability to COVID-19 and are wisely worshiping with us from home. But those who are returning have discovered the many precautions that we are taking to provide a safe worship environment. And they have rediscovered how wonderful it is to worship with your brothers and sisters near you. We were created for community and we have a God who put on flesh so that he could dwell with us. There is something life-giving about singing and praying and learning in the presence of others.
So, I’m thrilled that we are seeing our Sunday morning numbers beginning to climb. In fact, in order to maintain a safe environment, we are going to add a third service.
Beginning on October 18, our worship schedule will be as follows:
8:30 am: classic service
10:00 and 11:30 am: modern service
These new service times will require a 30-minute shift in our present two services which will allow for a third service to be placed in between. Our wonderful maintenance team has assured us that, with our slightly shorter services and the row-alternating, there will be adequate time for a thorough disinfecting between services.
We considered other options including weekend evening and midweek evening services. But in consultation with members of our staff, our consultant, and in conversation with other churches, we are persuaded that a third Sunday morning option will be the best alternative for the most people. The alternatives to a third service, such as placing a cap on the services or requiring tickets, just do not fit Chapel Hill. But for this to work, we will need 125 of you to commit to our third service. Maybe our faithful high school worshipers will lead the way.
I realize, friends, that this represents yet another adjustment to your routine. And we know how popular change is. But considering the fact that in some places, in-person worship is “forbidden”—another topic for another blog some time–I hope you’ll agree that this is a small price to pay in order to provide more people the joy of joining with the psalmist in declaring, “I was GLAD when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’”
I hope you are glad, too! We are doing our best to lead in these challenging times. Your good-tempered, “let’s give it a try” attitude will make all the difference.
This Sunday, by the way, is Communion Sunday. Yet another reminder of the joy of being together. I look forward to sharing that with you—and will tell you a story about a hike of mine that was almost disastrous.