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On this page you will find details regarding our Sanctuary service and Outdoor Service, as well as answers to common questions explaining the decisions that we have made regarding worship during the pandemic. You can read this information below, or download this information in the separate documents linked above.
Starting Date: to be determined
This communion service will take place at 8:30am on Sunday mornings. Please park in the main lot and come in through the office doors near the elevator so that we can maintain a one-way flow of traffic in our narrow aisles.
We will be taking the precautions outlined below in order to include the largest possible portion of our congregation in worship. It is important for all worshipers to recognize that some of their brothers and sisters in Christ will only feel comfortable in worship if they know that those who gather will be demonstrating this level of concern for the health and wellbeing of others.
The liturgy will be familiar but somewhat simplified.
Our sanctuary worship service will include the following precautions:
- The entire sanctuary will be disinfected before and after each service.
- Hand sanitizer will be provided in every pew.
- All worshippers will be asked to wear masks. Paper masks will be available for those who do not bring their own. Please note that our outdoor worship service will not require the use of masks.
- The pastors will wear masks except when preaching. The sermon will be preached from the chancel (platform) rather than the pulpit.
- Worshippers will be seated by an usher in a socially distanced manner, following the CDC recommendations.
- Communion will be distributed one family at a time at the base of the stairs, using the traditional communion elements. Worshippers will not queue in the aisle for communion. Rather, they will be ushered forward once the previous family has communed.
- Hymnals and Bibles have been removed from the pew racks. Liturgy and scripture readings will be projected. A single page of liturgy will also be printed and laminated. Worshippers should take their copy of the liturgy home with them, and bring it back each week for worship.
- After the service has ended, worshippers will be dismissed from their pews one family at a time to avoid creating a queue of people at the door.
- After service conversations are encouraged, but should take place in the parking lot outside. Please remember that those you are talking with may have more fear of catching the Corona Virus than you do, and respectfully observe social distancing recommendations.
The social distancing requirements will drastically reduce the capacity of our sanctuary. Once we have reached full capacity, overflow will be available in the Gathering Room in a socially distanced manner. Please note that with the currently available technology in our sanctuary, the quality of the video in the Gathering Room may be disappointing.
We look forward to worshiping together soon!
Starting Date: to be determined
This communion service will take place at 10am on Sunday mornings, weather permitting, from the outdoor stage. The liturgy will be familiar but somewhat simplified. The music will be contemporary, with simple instrumentation.
Those who are unable or feel unsafe leaving their cars will be able to park near the basketball court and worship from inside their cars. Sound will be provided through a nearby speaker. Note that no seating will be provided, so please bring your own chairs.
Our outdoor worship service will include the following precautions:
- Worshipers will be asked to seat themselves in a socially distanced manner using their own chairs
- Communion will be distributed using prepackaged elements (bread and grape juice). Worshipers will receive the unconsecrated elements before the service, and will open the package themselves before the consecration takes place.
- A single page liturgy will be printed and laminated. Worshipers should take their copy of the liturgy home with them, and bring it back each week for worship. A separate sheet with song lyrics will be distributed for use during the service.
- After service conversations are encouraged, but please remember that those you are talking with may have more fear of catching the Corona Virus than you do, and respectfully observe social distancing recommendations.
In the event of uncertain weather, this service will be cancelled, and the cancelation will be posted by 8am on Sunday morning to the Trinity website. Worshipers will then be advised to worship in their homes or attend the sanctuary service. If you choose to join us for the sanctuary service, please note that the social distancing requirements will drastically reduce the capacity of our sanctuary. Once we have reached full capacity, overflow will be available in the Gathering Room in a socially distanced manner. With the currently available technology in our sanctuary, the quality of the video in the Gathering Room may be disappointing.
We look forward to worshiping together soon!
Worship During the Pandemic
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we being so careful? Don’t we believe that God will protect us?
God is faithful to all of His promises, but God has not promised that we will neither suffer from the Coronavirus nor transmit it to others. Where God sends His people, we go with confidence, willing to submit to His will for us regardless of what it is (Esther 4:13-16). However, to take unnecessary risks is neither faithful nor loving, and God does not promise His protection or blessing under such circumstances. God’s people lost one of their greatest kings as a result of him putting himself in needless danger without the calling of God (2 Chronicles 35).
Why are we waiting so long to begin in-person services?
We are following the counsel of medical professionals who are working with COVID-19 patients on a daily basis. We certainly hope that the delay will not be more than one or two additional weeks. That extra time will allow us to make the decision to return to large group gatherings from an informed perspective with knowledge of how the re-opening of the state is impacting the risks for our members. This also allows us to demonstrate to our neighbors and medical community that we remain concerned for their well-being, and are willing to move slowly in order to avoid being a contributing factor in the event that there is a resurgence.
Our freedom to delay re-opening comes from a recognition that true worship does not come from gathering in a particular place, but rather results from the work of God’s Spirit, leading the believer to put into practice the truth of God’s Word. Both the Spirit and the truth remain available to us as we worship in homes for another week or two (John 4:19-24).
I loved worshiping in my home! Why return to worship in the sanctuary at all?
Our God meets us where we are, and it is certainly possible to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth no matter where we are. We are delighted when we hear that worshiping in homes has been fruitful.
In the longer term, however, it would be a cause for great concern if we would routinely choose not to participate in the fellowship that comes from gathering together with other members of our congregation. Love for God finds its primary expression, not in worship alone, but in love for others, and that begins with our brothers and sisters in Christ (1 John 4:20-21). Further, we simply need one another. Virtually every instruction in the New Testament is written to ‘you’ in the plural. We cannot be the body of Christ without one another (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). For this reason, we encourage even those who are worshiping in their homes not to do so in isolation from other families, but rather to invite other believers with whom they are already sharing life to join them in worship (Acts 2:46-47).
Finally, the precious gift of the Lord’s Supper is not available to our congregation when we worship in our homes.
Why did we wait so long to return to Open Sanctuary and the Lord’s Supper?
The initial direction from Governor Evers prohibited gatherings even as small as those that we had planned for Open Sanctuary. If these restrictions had been directed only against Christians then it would have been appropriate to answer, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29), but since these restrictions were temporary and applied to all, we submitted to the authority established over us by God (Romans 13:1).
As Governor Evers clarified his directives over time, it became evident that gatherings such as Open Sanctuary were permitted by law. However, we chose to wait until the end of the order to return to Open Sanctuary. This decision was made out of concern for the consciences of those who would be afraid to participate, but would feel like it would be a sin to stay home. It is spiritually dangerous to ignore one’s conscience (1 Timothy 1:18-19). Waiting the extra weeks allowed us to avoid turning a gift from God into a burden on the conscience of anyone who would not leave home until after the order was lifted.
Why is the common cup not available?
The blood of Jesus heals. It does not make a person sick, except when a person receives it unworthily (1 Corinthians 11:28-30). We are not concerned that the common cup would make a worshiper sick, under these circumstances or any other. However, the use of a common cup would appear reckless in the eyes of unbelievers, and so as a public witness that we are concerned about the health of others, we will offer only the individual cups for the time being (Colossians 4:5-6).
Are we drifting too far from what Jesus instituted by using prepackaged communion elements, removing the common cup, and/or distributing the Lord’s Supper on the floor instead of at the altar?
Admittedly, all of these ways of distributing the Lord’s Supper pale in comparison with the power and intimacy of gathering like the early disciples did, sharing a common table, common loaf and common cup. Much of the powerful symbolism with which we would prefer to surround the Lord’s Supper is lost under these circumstances, and it will take particular attention on the part of us as worshipers to recognize and revere the real presence of the body and blood of Jesus as well as the unity with Him and with others that the Lord’s Supper creates. That said, it has never been the method by which the Lord’s Supper is distributed that turns mere bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus, but rather the words of Jesus, “This is my body… This is my blood…” and these words remain at the center of our communion practice (1 Corinthians 11:20-34).
Is Pastor Chris ever going to preach again?
Yes! And soon! Because of how quickly we needed to re-invent the way in which we carried out ministry in our congregation, it made sense for our pastors to specialize. Pastor Carl invested most of his time in the creation of sermons and Bible Studies. Pastor Chris made hundreds and hundreds of phone calls to provide individualized spiritual care for our members. This allowed us to ensure that nothing was slipping through the cracks. Now that our staff is returning to the building, it is much easier to coordinate our efforts, and these responsibilities will begin to be shared again.
I heard that the congregation down the street is doing ________________. Why are we not doing that?
Every congregation is handling these unique circumstances in different ways. All followers of Jesus will love God and love their neighbors, but how that love is expressed will often look different. In our case, we have paid particular attention to those in our community who are most at-risk of complications from COVID-19, as well as taking care that we do not contribute to any resurgence of the Coronavirus.
Have we made the right decisions? No. We are under no illusion that our approach to the quarantine is somehow the ‘right’ approach. We have simply done our best to love God and love our neighbors with a clear conscience, and we rest in the grace and forgiveness of Jesus who forgives our sins and uses our unworthy efforts to accomplish His good purposes in the lives of His people (Romans 14:1-4).