Updated May 13, 2020
Dear First Church Family,
I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” – Psalm 122:1
On Monday, May 11, Spiritual Council met to discuss plans to resume in-person ministry activities here at First Church. Based on the current guidelines and the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, we feel that we can safely and responsibly resume in-person worship services on Sunday May 24. As I mentioned in my letter last week, we will take necessary precautions to help ensure the safety and health of our church family.
Here is what you need to know:
- Sunday service will remain at 10:15 am for the time being to accommodate our continued livestreaming of services.
- Please enter and exit through one of two entrances: the parking lot door or the elevator door.
- Please refrain from entering areas other than restrooms or the sanctuary.
- All touch surfaces will be disinfected and cleaned weekly.
- Everyone is asked to follow social distancing practices. Families should sit together and keep six feet from other families. Pews may be marked accordingly.
- Bibles and hymnals have been removed from the pews. We encourage you to bring your own bible and the lyrics to hymns will be printed in the bulletins.
- Hand sanitizer will be available at tables at the entrances.
- Masks are not required but are strongly encouraged.
- There will NOT be childcare in the nursery for the time being.
- There will NOT be Sunday school. Normally Sunday school takes the summer off so we will resume Sunday school in the Fall as we normally would.
- There will be NO greeters or greeting time.
- We will NOT pass the plate for offerings. There will be offering plates at the two designated entrances for you to place your tithes and offerings.
- We WILL have children’s chat but kindly ask that children stay in the pew with their parents for now.
- Please remember these changes are temporary. This too shall pass.
As we resume in-person services, please consider carefully whether your family is ready to join us. Every situation is unique. You may be ready to come back. That is great! I encourage you to join us on May 24. Or you may not be comfortable returning to church quite yet. That is great too! If so, I encourage you to continue to worship with us through the Radio Ministry or Facebook Live. If you or a family member are part of the vulnerable population, I strongly encourage you to consider continuing worshipping this way. Whatever your choice may be, I respect your decision and First Church will continue to minister to you. Remember, we are a family and we are in this together. Let us continue to extend God’s love and grace to each other and do everything in our power to keep each other safe and healthy. That is how we continue to love our neighbor during this time.
In Christ, Pastor Joel Bucklin
Updated March 27, 2020
Check out our Facebook page for links to the Facebook Live broadcast on Sunday mornings, Pastor Joel’s mid week messages, Pastor Tory’s Sunday school lessons and even weekly fun challenges.
Updated March 18, 2020
Dear First Church Family,
On Monday evening March 16, Spiritual Council and Consistory supported my recommendation to cancel all in-person ministries, including Sunday morning worship, until further notice.
Our goal is to abide by current Ohio and CDC restrictions as long as they are in place. We make this decision out of love, not fear. Love for our church family and the New Knoxville community, and a desire to put your health and safety first.
Although in-person ministries are cancelled, we will continue our Radio Ministry. A small, predetermined group of people will put on a worship service so that we can still worship together as a church family, even if we are not able to gather together.
The broadcast is from 10:15-11:15 AM on T-102 (102.1 FM) and also on the iHeart Radio app. We will also post it to our website immediately after the service.
Please contact the church office via phone, email or reach out to us on Facebook if you have any questions or would like to talk with someone.
Pastor Joel Bucklin