While our state released guidelines in May for in-person worship to resume, Highland’s leadership is working diligently to think through carefully how we can welcome people back into the pews. Highland’s staff have formed two groups of church members to work on plans for how we safely welcome people back into our pews. These two groups will research and create recommendations for staff, deacons, and Ministry Council. Once leadership discerns that Highland is ready to invite people back into our pews for worship safely, we will include a re-opening date and guidelines in our weekly newsletter. Throughout this process, worship will continue to be open online for all people to participate safely from home. We anticipate that worship will continue online throughout these months as the pandemic presents risks to many people in our community.
The first group is our Attendance Group. They are exploring the number of people who can attend at one time, the process for registration to attend, and a covenant for how we can be together safely. This group includes David Bannister, Amber Burke, Phil Collier (chair), Jan Forren, and Doris Hornbuckle.
The second group is our Logistics Group. They are exploring how we safely welcome people into the building, abide by state guidelines, offer appropriate hospitality, and help people exit the building. This group includes Kathy Belcher (co-chair), Vaughn Bell, Lauren Blackwell, Bruce Carroll, Jeff Grey, Bill Martin, and Tyler Swim (co-chair).
We covet your prayers as we consider how best to lead us through these uncertain days. As we wait, we encourage you to begin imagining re-entry into our space, whenever we do proceed, as something that will happen in phases. When the time comes, we will do all that we can to keep one another safe and healthy. We will wear masks, we will take temperatures, we will not congregate in the Commons nor the Lobby, and we will seek to worship with physical distance from one another.
Highland, fear not: worship is open online. Our plans are not about “reopening” worship as if worship was ever closed. When the Holy Spirit leads us to take the next step, we will share with you how we will move through a phased approach of opening our pews even as our worship remains open online. We continue to value all people, no matter their age or risk factors, being able to participate in our broad and deep worship that invites us into the mystery of a loving God.
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