January 14, 2022
in Pastor's Weekly Message
As Omicron continues to race through our community, we remind you once again to stay safe. Social distancing and masking are important for us to slow the spread. The news I hear most recently indicates the areas first hit with Omicron are calming down; experts say we can expect the same in the next few weeks. We look forward to that day, while we watch our hospitals and clinics fill up with COVID patients.
In the meantime, we are making the decision to remain open for worship and activities. As I shared on Sunday, churches all around us are choosing to return to online-only services. Bishop Grant has expressed his concern with continuing to remain open for large groups, while also assuring us that local churches are best aligned to make decisions. We feel the best decision is to remain open for in-person worship while offering online livestreaming options. We are doing everything we can to keep one another safe, and we feel the risks of creating a superspreader event are minimal. We continue to require masks, and we encourage you to upgrade to an N95 mask. We have some N95 masks available if you would like those. They cost about $2.50 each, but we offer them to you even if you can’t afford it. Masking, social distancing, and vaccines continue to be effective against this virus.
You will see a few changes with worship, however. We are moving back toward a service with less congregational speaking and singing. We will not use unison prayers and calls to worship. We will sing only two verses of our songs and will not sing the Doxology. We will aim to finish worship in no more than 45 minutes so we can move back outside. All of these changes will reduce the amount of time we are sharing germs in our space and will help us to remain in person for those who desire to come together for worship. However, we encourage you to stay home if you are concerned. You are not alone with your concern!
The Genesis Team, which addresses our COVID-19 protocols, will meet again on Wednesday to assess the situation. In the meantime, we invite you to join us for worship online or in person as we ground ourselves in the hope and promise of the kingdom of God. Join us as we read the beginning of the book of Revelation, seeking wisdom for this new year. Join us, however you are comfortable.
See you soon.
(Please note, masks are required during all services as well as inside all St. Mark’s buildings.)
Join us for worship:
- 8:30 a.m. Traditional service with choirs in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Modern worship service with Praise Team in Fellowship Hall
- 10 a.m. Traditional service with choirs in Sanctuary
- 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care
- 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website
To access our pre-recorded service:
- From the main menu on our website click “Worship.” -OR-
- Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.