New Worship Pattern Announced – We’re back in the building on Sundays!
For 14 months, we have waited for the day when it was deemed safe to return to in-person worship. St. John’s is excited to announce that on May 23, when we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the following change to our worship pattern will take place. Please read below for all the details.
- Sundays at 10:00 will be in-person only.
- A Sunday Zoom-only worship service will be scheduled for those who need to remain on Zoom. The exact time of this service will be announced by Friday, May 21.
- All weekday services will continue online-only for now – Tuesday Compline, Wednesday Centering Prayer, and Friday Morning Prayer.
Sundays at 10:00 am
This will be a full Eucharistic in-person worship service in the St. John’s Sanctuary, observing all safety protocols. We will NOT be broadcasting this service online in any way. You may wish to review the Space Use Guidelines for St. John’s: COVID-19 Response – St. John’s Kingston (stjohnskingston.org). Following are some important bullet points:
- Please enter and exit through the front door if you are able to. The ramp entrance is reserved only for those who need to use it.
- Everyone must wear a mask over nose and mouth while in the building.
- A 6 ft. distance must be kept by people at all times. The sanctuary has been marked off to assist with this.
- We will continue to have a cantor lead our singing and the congregation may sing but not at full voice. We are not yet ready to have the choir sing together.
- We will have Eucharist in bread only and the bread will only be handled by Rev. Michelle, including before service begins.
- Everyone will be encouraged to leave the building immediately after worship. People may gather outside to have conversations. We will not have coffee hour until further notice. NOTE: We will have food outside under tents on June 13th when we celebrate Deacon Sue’s ministry.
- No one may enter the kitchen or the parish hall until further notice so we can reduce the traffic and continue to keep the volunteers of Angel Food East as safe as possible.
Zoom worship will be offered for those who still need to worship online for whatever reason. We are still deciding the exact time. This second service will be provided until the end of the summer at which time we will reassess the need for its continuance. NOTE: The one caveat to this is on June 13th when there will be one worship service at 10:00 am to celebrate Deacon Sue’s ministry and her final Sunday as the deacon of St. John’s. We will broadcast this service via Zoom for those who cannot attend in person. If you intend to worship via Zoom, please use this link to help us decide if this service should be held at 8:00 am or 11:30 am: 2021 Summer Zoom Worship – Vote here – St. John’s Kingston (stjohnskingston.org)
Throughout the pandemic, the weekday services have been an important way to help members of our community stay connected. We added Compline on Tuesday nights at 9:00 pm and Morning Prayer on Fridays at 8:15 am. For now, these will continue.
We’ve had a group meet for Centering Prayer since 2018 and when the pandemic hit, we moved this service online. Throughout these 14 months, the community that has been formed by this service is a dispersed group – Arizona, Maryland, different parts of New York, and sometimes Ohio. So, we will continue Centering Prayer as an online-only service.
If you have questions or concerns about changes to the worship pattern, please contact Rev. Michelle.
Returning to the Building: Re-membering the Body of Christ
Dear Ones: It was the first week of March 2020 when we began to understand the full impact of what was coming as covid-19 spread with alarming speed across our country and as our region became a center of the outbreak. Within a week, our bishop Andy Dietsche ordered us to cease in-person worship and we, along with so many other congregations all over the world, began to worship in new ways.
First, allow me to say that I’m so grateful and deeply moved by how our community of St. John’s adapted to worshipping on Zoom, especially as we experienced “technical difficulties” along the way. Really, thank you for making the journey. I’m also aware that, for many of us, “zoom worship” was not a viable option for many different reasons. And I completely understand. For me, personally, Zoom has been an extremely helpful and necessary support in a deep time of need, but it cannot ever really replace in-person worship.
So, as I announced in my sermon this past Sunday, it is time to come back. It’s time to renew our community by re-membering ourselves as the Body of Christ. It’s been 14 months now, and I’m really looking forward to being with you in person! We will be in-person for Eucharist every Sunday at 10:00 in the St. John’s sanctuary. Please read the notes on safety protocols above. And, because we know that some people will feel a need to stay on Zoom, we will offer a second Sunday service (time TBA) through the summer.
Why not a hybrid service? When the leadership of St. John’s discussed this change, we also discussed the possibility of a hybrid service (broadcasting the in-person worship via Zoom/Facebook). Here’s why we decided that, for our community, hybrid worship is not a viable option: We tried it in the fall for several weeks and it never worked well. And, as so many other congregations are learning, in order to offer a good experience of hybrid worship, we would need more financial, technical, and human resources than St. John’s feels called to allocate for this undertaking. Instead, we believe we are called to focus our resources on the repairs we need to make to our building, the changes we are called to bring about as we make our space more accessible, and on actively reaching out to the large number of people who moved to Kingston during the pandemic.
I know the thought of being in-person brings with it some sense of uncertainty and anxiety, even if you are looking forward to it. It’s perfectly natural to feel this way and please know that I’m feeling it too. If you’d like to talk about this, please contact me. My door is open.
For this week, let us give thanks for this amazing tool called Zoom that has given us a way to be together while we are apart, and to all those who have made worshipping over Zoom possible and sometimes even enjoyable.
In God’s love and mine, Rev. Michelle
Announcements for May 16, 2021
THIS SUNDAY: The Pastoral Care Team meets after worship at 12:00 noon via Zoom. See the bulletin for the link to join.
NEXT WEEK: Beginning on May 23 at 10:00 am, the Feast of Pentecost, we will be in-person only. Join us in the sanctuary for worship as our 10:00 worship will not be broadcast on Zoom or Facebook any longer. If you need to continue worshipping online, look for an announcement this coming week for a separate Sunday morning Zoom service, exact time TBA. Questions? Contact Rev. Michelle.
Save the Date: Celebrating the Ministry of Deacon Sue Bonsteel as she retires from active diaconal ministry. Sunday, June 13 – worship at 10:00 am in the Sanctuary and afterwards, we will have a party on the lawn in her honor. Look for an email invitation with more details this coming week!
Organ Recitals Featuring Terry Earles: Old Dutch Church in uptown Kingston has refurbished their organ and has asked our Director of Music to help celebrate by offering his ministry of musicianship. On May 30 at 3:00 pm, Terry will perform in honor of Mary Mine. And on June 5 at 12:00 noon Terry will perform as a part of the Old Dutch Fine Arts Program.
Forward Day by Day The new devotional books are here to support your daily prayer and reflection for the months of May, June, and July. Available in both pocket-sized and large print. Email Rev. Michelle to claim a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Flower Memorial Dates Available! The dates are April 25th, July 18th, September 6th and October 31. If you’d like to have a date to honor someone, you can contact Elaine Lawrence at 845-532-6585 or by email at email@example.com.
The Page Turners is the St. John’s book club who meet every first Tuesday evening of the month for good discussion and good company. All are welcome to attend. For June 8, the book is, ‘The Midnight Library’, by Matthew Haig. Email or call Lynn Dennison for more information.
Have an announcement for the bulletin?
Please send by Wednesday at noon to firstname.lastname@example.org.