About worship from our Healthy Return Task Force:
Worshiping together is an essential part of our mission. Bethlehem is committed to providing various opportunities for worship (in the building, online, on the radio, and outdoors). Because worship involves activities that pose higher risk of transmission of the coronavirus, our indoor worship practices will be adapted to reduce risks, especially for the most vulnerable.
What is worship in the Sanctuary be like?
Jesus is the center and worship will include:
- connecting with God through prayer including confession and forgiveness,
- hearing God’s Word and preaching of the Gospel,
- receiving the gifts of grace through Holy Baptism and Holy Communion,
- praying together for the church, the world and all those in need, and
- offering our resources for the mission and ministry of Bethlehem.
Because we love of our neighbors and many typical worship practices pose significant risk of transmission, we will be refraining from some practices at this time. As we worship in the sanctuary, we will not be:
- sitting close to people not in our “family circle,”
- physically touching one another, (for example sharing the peace),
- group singing, or
- leading in close proximity to the people in the pews (the 25+ feet from pulpit to pews provides safe distance for leaders to remove masks when leading).
In order to protect the most vulnerable, we will expect all to:
- respect a safe physical distance from others,
- wear a face covering over their nose and mouth (unless younger than 2), and
- stay home if you are not feeling well or have been exposed to a COVID-19 situation or person.
So that the sanctuary may be a safe place for all, if you are unwilling to worship with these restrictions, please continue to worship online or with our radio broadcast.
How can we protect the health of our neighbors, especially ones in higher risk categories?
We cannot protect everyone against every risk. Maintaining a safe distance and wearing a mask protect others. We do encourage those in higher risk categories to continue worshiping through our online or radio broadcast services. If you are safeguarding your health by worshiping with our radio broadcast, please contact us (605-225-9740) so that we can send you weekly bulletins.
High-risk categories include, but are not limited to:
- Aged 65 or older
- Immune Compromised
- Heart Conditions
- Lung Conditions
- Kidney disease
Please refer to the CDC Guidelines here for further information.
If you are worshiping in the sanctuary, please follow these steps:
- Monitor your own health, and you are not feeling well or have been exposed to the coronavirus, please worship online or on the radio.
- Bring a face covering that covers both the nose and mouth. These will be required for all worshipers. If you do not have one, we will be glad to provide you with one upon arrival at the church.
- Practice 6 ft. social distancing as you enter and during the worship service.
If you or a loved one experiences any COVID-19 symptoms, please contact your local health care provider or emergency room.
Sincerely in Christ,
Your Healthy Return Task Force
Jeff Whillock, Lead Pastor
Vicci Stange, President
Dr. Shirlene Smook
Dr. Lyle Biegler
Sue Helling, RN