Preparing to Return to Worship in the Sanctuary

Since we know you have questions and concerns, the Ad Council would like to share the objectives and criteria we are using to guide decisions and the planning process for Trinity’s return to the sanctuary, as well as our current status. The identity statement printed on the front of our bulletin each Sunday will continue to guide us as we plan for the future.

What are our objectives?

It is important to remember that, while we deal with the realities of the pandemic/quarantine and find new and creative ways to be the church, Trinity’s vision has not changed. In these unfamiliar and uncertain times, we all have different opinions and perspectives, true to our diverse congregation. As we prayerfully discern our next steps, we continue to be, first and foremost, a congregation united by the love of Christ.

We will remember that – even as we travel this path together – the church, our community and each individual person will experience a unique and personal journey, timeframe and comfort level. We will treat each other and the process with patience, respect, empathy, kindness and support. Because we embrace our ever-changing community, we are open and respectful of what makes you who you are, and glad that you are part of our church family.

We are mindful of the guidelines provided by state and local leaders, our denomination, and the CDC and local health officials. Our decisions are also influenced by our moral and legal responsibilities as part of a larger community. Every decision will be prayerfully made based on its impact on the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of all of Trinity’s members and our community, and with special concern for our most vulnerable members. Because we cherish our multigenerational congregation, we are caring and nurturing of all ages.

As much as we love being together and look forward to worshipping together in our beautiful sanctuary, we will remember that Trinity is more than a place. We will continue to be the church of Jesus Christ wherever we are, whether our worship services are in person or online. We will serve others and help our neighbors whenever we can. Because we are rooted in and guided by the grace of God, we continue to share the love of Christ in our community and in our world.

Our plans are to safely return to the familiar, traditional and welcoming worship that we love about Trinity. However, traditional worship must be structured to avoid harming others, whether that means worshipping online at times or adapting our in-person worship services.

What are our goals?

As we plan our return to the sanctuary for worship, our decisions will be guided by the following:

  • Maximize physical safety as well as our members’ sense of well-being.
  • Communicate clearly, regularly and in detail so that everyone knows what to expect when, how the process will impact them and others, and what their roles and responsibilities will be.
  • Plan to return to the sanctuary with an abundance of caution, with the understanding that resurgences of the virus may require starting and stopping in-person worship as needed through the coming year.
  • Listen to our congregation’s concerns and expectations, and involve members of the congregation as we move forward.
  • Make and implement plans now with the end in mind (based on what we can know now).
  • Clearly identify what success looks like for each phase of the return process, keeping in mind that our new normal will not be exactly like our old normal.

Where are we now?

We are eager to return to our in-person worship services. However, based on the information we have at this point, we do not believe it is safe to return to in-person worship in July. We will continue to gather information and will prayerfully re-evaluate this decision every two weeks.

In the meantime, please know that we are actively researching, planning and preparing for our return to worship in the sanctuary, based on best practices. We are developing a comprehensive plan and specific procedures that will hopefully mitigate some of the risk and maximize the safety and well-being of our congregation. We’ll be providing regular updates and asking for your input and involvement as we move through this process. Please let us know if you have concerns, questions or suggestions.

Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God.

John Wesley, founder of Methodism