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We have waited a long time for this!  At the stated June meeting of consistory Tuesday night, changes were enacted to our policies instituted to deal with the pandemic. 

Certain principles have guided us all along.  The first of those is God’s love.  From the outset, we have been concerned for the health and safety of one another.  It has been and will be our overarching concern.  We are concerned not only with our own welfare, but care about each other and willingly adopt practices that are beneficial for others.  In this we reflect the love of Christ.  The second principle has been to follow the advice of the medical professionals and government policies.  The third principle has been that if we err, we err on the side of caution, trying to make sure all of our measures are not just as good as but better and more careful than those recommended.

The consistory prepared and sent out to the congregation a survey about what people were thinking now as we seem to be approaching the end of the pandemic.  Many thanks to Erin Kelly for her skills with this.  Dozens of you responded and your input was invaluable to the consistory as we grappled with the decisions. 

Here are the decisions consistory has made.  Please be aware that we will constantly monitor things related to the virus and safely and swiftly make changes when they are in order.  Not everyone will be happy with all of these, but let’s work together to be united in love and cooperation.

MASKS - Optional but masks are recommended for all who are not vaccinated and all children under 12.  (Hillsborough School District requires all children to be masked.)

SOCIAL DISTANCING - None for the center pews – ribbons will be removed.  Social distancing of three feet in the side pews.

LIVE STREAMING - Will continue

SINGING -  no congregational singing (see endnote below)

TITHE.LY will continue to allow on line giving

OFFERING PLATES will stay in the vestibule and not be passed.

PASSING OF THE PEACE will be as it has been during the pandemic with no physical touch just an “air” passing of the peace.

COMMUNION will be served at the Table in the front with individual prepared pieces of bread in individual souffle cups and individual cups of grape juice.  We will come up to the front using the side aisles and return to our pews up the middle aisle (To avoid congestion at the cameras)

PASTOR FRED AND KELLY will greet worshipers on the front porch after worship.  Fred and Kelly will be masked then and when at the communion table.

AIR CONDITIONING will be operating.

It was suggested to consistory that we not call this “re-opening” but “reuniting,” which certainly sounds more faith filled!

There are many people to thank but let’s thank Cheryl and Dave Egan.  Cheryl has been more than vigilant leading the Worship and Music Committee and she and sidekick Dave have done most of the work in changes to the arrangements in our sanctuary.

We are grateful first of all to Akiko who started our live streaming, then to Barry Graziano, Jr. for setting up the current system, and to the newly formed tech team of David Egan, Tim O’Connor and Al Rogers.