On Opening..

June 10, 2020

Dear Friends and Members of St. John’s UCC, Sheboygan;

Greetings to you from the entire Staff of St. John’s!

“I(We) thank my(our) God in all my(our) remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my(our) every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1: 3-5

I am writing to you all after 100 days of the Covid-19 Pandemic to bring you up to speed on what is happening at St. John’s. We are in a very fluid time as you all know. The rules and regulations that govern us from the Health Department are constantly being reviewed and changed and the best medical information on how to be gathered together is also constantly changing.

The Worship Committee is meeting every week on Zoom preparing for each Facebook Live Sunday, for Online Vacation Bible School for our Children and working on what we need to do to gather again. How we will get it done, how do we let everyone know and finally when can we safely do it.

I need to communicate to you the many things that are happening and the many things that go into the thoughts of our staff and council as we discuss the procedures for safely gathering to worship again.

We are working weekly toward a time when we can gather together for worship. Sheboygan County just moved into Phase 2 which allows us to have up to 25 persons gathered at one time. We must remain in this Phase for at least two weeks. We have spoken with the Sheboygan Health Department and they have indicated churches are hot spots. In our conversation they thanked us for helping to keep our community safe by postponing our start time for opening the church for worship.

These are the reasons that lead us to tell you we cannot honestly tell you that is would be safe to return to gathered worship at this time. If we gather, we will have to social distance and what we miss most about our gathered worship is our warm and personal greeting complete with hand-
shakes, hugs and warm expressions of friendship. Tracking attendance would be necessary and in the event that someone was infected we would have to notify those present to self-quarantine.

As things stand now, we are looking at possibly being able to gather for outside worship in July and to gather inside hopefully in August or September. Taking the precautions necessary to keep everyone safe. We will also continue to have worship online, even when we gather together again for those who are not comfortable with in-person worship.

How can you help? Now more than ever it is important that we have your current information; please make sure the Church Office is CURRENT 1) email address 2) phone number and 3) mailing address. I know from trying to call many of you in the past 3 months that our current phone numbers for members are far from up to date. If you have an email address and have not been receiving our weekly updates please make sure to up-date. Staying in touch and keeping you informed is how we are the church even when we can’t be together.

I want to thank all of you who have faithfully supported the financial needs of the congregation and St. John’s Food Pantry Ministry. Thank you to those who continue to drop off food for the pantry. And thank you to the volunteers that put fresh wood chips in the garden beds here at
church. You are all lifted up with thanks to our Heavenly Father for all you do.

We will continue to share in community through our Facebook Live Services and Bible Study until we can be together again. We know this is not a viable option for all so please let us know what we can do to keep you engaged in the ministry at St. John’s. Please know that your health and
safety are our utmost concern.

May God continue to keep you all safe and healthy as we go through summer and may please enjoy some rest time.

On behalf of the Staff of St. John’s,

– Pastor Greg