November 13 Update
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is probably safe to say that all of us are tired of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. However, the recent rise of infection and hospitalization rates here in Eastern Iowa make it quite clear that the virus is not tired of dealing with us. Therefore, despite our weariness, now is the time renew our efforts to help control the spread of this plague.
At Bethany, as we continue to Live and Share God’s Love, this means we will reinstate some practices that we were doing in the Spring and that we have since done away with. Simply put, I’m asking that all non-worship activities of the congregation stop being done in-person and move online until further notice, with the exception of our voters’ assembly on November 15 and our blood drive with the American Red Cross on November 19. The cessation of in-person activities would include meetings of boards and committees, as well as Bible studies, Confirmation class, and fellowship events. On Monday, November 16, the Board of Elders will continue to discuss plans for our congregation, including upcoming worship services. However, please note that our traditional midweek Advent services on Wednesday evenings have been cancelled for this year. In their place, we have already begun recording Advent worship videos that will be available online and sent out on DVD’s to those without internet access.
In summary, please note the following:
- As of today, (November 13) Bethany will continue to have Sunday Morning worship services, including our services on November 15.
- All Bible studies, including our Sunday Morning Bible Study on November 15, will only be available online until further notice.
- Our Voters’ assembly will take place immediately following the 11:00 service on November 15. Voting members are encouraged to practice all of the necessary safety pre-cautions and may fully participate in this meeting by attending in the Family Life Center or by listening to the meeting in their cars in the back (south) parking lot of the church on their FM radio.
- Both first and second year Confirmation class will be online until further notice. Zoom links will be sent to students and family
- The blood drive on November 19 will also take place in the Family Life Center. While this is not an essential function of the church, I think we all know that giving blood directly saves lives, which is especially important these days.
These have not been easy decisions to make, as I know the importance of actively living out our faith with other fellow believers. And while the technology available to us today is wonderful, it is no substitute for being with fellow Christians in-person. However, as mentioned above, the spread of the Coronavirus is currently out of control and poses a severe threat to our community and the people who live here. While we will only trust in the Lord to deliver us from all evil (1st Commandment and 7th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer), we as Christians have a responsibility to do what is best for others, even at great expense to ourselves. As we have recently celebrated Veteran’s Day, we are reminded that loving self-sacrifice is an ideal virtue for all Americans, if not practiced by many. But it should be a natural fruit of our faith for those of us who know what Christ has done for the world on the cross and in the empty tomb. It will not always be easy. And it may bring about even more suffering into our lives. But with God’s love in Christ, we have His promise that we can and that we will endure as we Live and Share God’s Love!
Pastor's Procedures for Services
- Two services are held on Sundays. The 8:30 a.m. service is traditional, and the 11:00 a.m. service is contemporary.
- Sign ups are no longer required. Those attending at 8:30 are asked to sit in even-numbered pews, and those attending at 11:00 are asked to sit in odd-numbered pews.
- Those who are over the age of 65, have medical conditions that increase their risk of complications, are feeling ill, or have been recently exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 are asked to consider waiting to worship with us.
- A mask that covers your nose and mouth must be worn by everyone over four years old. There will be a limited number of masks available at the church. Attendees are asked to wash their hands in the bathroom or make use of the available hand sanitizer. In addition, please keep 6 feet away from people not in your family group.
- Congregation members will not sing during indoor services.
- Holy Communion will be celebrated on the first and third Sunday of the month. During the distribution, ushers will invite one family group at a time to the altar.
- Offering plates will not be passed during the service. Tithes and offerings may be placed in the plates in the back of the sanctuary or worshippers may use one of Bethany’s electronic giving options.
- At the end of the service family groups will be dismissed starting in the back of the sanctuary.
- There will be no coffee, or doughnuts between services. If you desire to mingle, you will be asked to do so outside of the building, while keeping a safe distance from each other.
- We will continue to provide service resources for people access from home. This way, everyone will still have the opportunity to worship and hear the message.