Welcome back to worship in the Nave at St. Bede's!
We will gather for in-person, indoor worship in the Nave at 10 am starting on Sunday, May 30. Registration will be required. Please register by 2 pm on Saturday.
Our Sunday Morning Zoom Worship gathering online will also continue, but will move to a new time - 11:30 am - on Sunday May 30th.
Worshipping together again in-person is going to be GREAT! We will be able to worship God together, pray together, see each other, share in Holy Communion and have beautiful musical offerings from John Whitt (live - on the organ and piano) and from our choir (pre-recorded, for the time being).
While much will feel very familiar and comforting - dare we even say "normal" - some things will be a little different for a while and we just want you to know what to expect to help you enter into worship more gently when you arrive.
Here are some things to know:
1) MASKS REQUIRED – Masks will be worn at all times when we are in the building - regardless of your vaccination status. This is out of continued love for neighbor and to help all feel comfortable attending - especially those who are still not yet able to be fully vaccinated such as children and the immunocompromised (and youth - for at least a few more weeks).
2) ARRIVAL – We will all enter the building through the main doors from the upper parking lot. A greeter will check you in. We ask that you move through the Commons and find your way directly to your seat.
3) BULLETINS – Paper bulletins will be available on the round table in the Commons for you to pick-up yourself as needed. All that you will need to participate fully in worship will be included in your bulletin. If you prefer to print your own bulletin or download one to follow the liturgy on an electronic device, we will post the bulletins to the website and send them out in E-News prior to each Sunday. We will also have a QR code posted in the Commons that you can scan to access a digital version of the bulletin. If you take a paper bulletin, please take it with you when you leave and do not return it to an usher or leave it at your seat.
4) SOCIAL DISTANCING AND SEATING – We will want to maintain social-distancing as well. Several rows of chairs have been temporarily removed in the Nave to allow greater distance between rows. Alternating pews (in the side sections) have also been blocked off. This is to allow for appropriate distance between us as we worship. When you are finding your seat, please make sure to allow for at least two chair widths between you and your neighbor. If you are sitting in the pews, please try to allow six feet between you and your neighbor – sit at opposite ends of the pew. Also, please do not kneel for prayer immediately behind someone at this time.
5) COMMUNION – Communion will continue to be served as bread only. Also, for the time being, we will continue to serve communion from pre-consecrated bread that will be distributed in small paper envelopes. This will not be the case forever, but are retaining this method of serving communion for the time being as we adjust to all of the other transitions. We will consecrate bread each week during our worship that will be served at the next week's liturgy. As you arrive, packets of consecrated communion wafers (small brown envelopes with a picture of a communion wafer on the outside) will be available at several stations around the Nave. You may pick up your packet as you arrive or later in the liturgy during the music that follows the Peace. Each packet contains communion for two – either two individual wafers or a larger piece of one of the large hosts that can be further broken into two. Please consume all of your packet (as you are able) and do not return any unconsumed wafers – it’s okay to consume two wafers. Also, please take your used communion envelopes with you when you depart.
6) MUSIC – We will have beautiful music! John Whitt will offer music before, during, and after worship and we will have pre-recorded music from our choir (remember that the choir customarily takes the summer off - only this year, we have over a year's worth of hymns pre-recorded that we can continue to enjoy from their wonderful pandemic recording efforts). As we first return, we will enjoy just listening to the music that is offered. In the days ahead, we will add back in soft congregational singing with masks on, but not just yet - so for now, please enjoy the prayerful, meditational music as a lovely offering of worship to God.
7) CHILDREN – Children are always welcome! For the time being, families will need to sit together in worship. We will not be able to offer a nursery just yet. Also, you will notice that the children’s “Prayground” area has been temporarily removed. This will return when we feel better about the health and safety of small children playing together in proximity. Rest assured that we are planning for the Prayground to return and are already imagining ways it can be even better when it returns.
8) BATHROOMS – Please try to limit use of the bathrooms to urgent need and one-at-a-time use. Remember, there are also two single use gender-neutral restrooms in the Mission Wing.
9) FOOD & DRINK – Please feel free to bring your own water or coffee containers with you – Yes, even in the Nave. At this time, we will not be able to enjoy fellowship in the Commons with coffee and donuts. But please enjoy fellowship outside before or after worship.
10) DEPARTURE – When worship has ended, we will be able to exit through three doors. If you need to exit through the Commons, that is okay although we will not be able to congregate there for extended fellowship at this time. Please also consider exiting the Nave through the side doors. The side doors near the front - to the left of the Bede icon and the altar - lead down to the Memorial Garden and on to the lower parking lot – a lovely walk through beautiful gardens back to your car! The door next to the organ leads to a sidewalk that will return you to the upper parking lot. Please do feel free to visit outside for a while on St. Bede’s beautiful grounds.
If you need help navigating any of this that may feel very familiar and yet just a little bit different, please feel free to ask an usher or a greeter or a member of the staff or Vestry.
While reading this list may make it seem like things are going to be very different, we imagine that when we actually gather on Sunday that things will actually feel VERY familiar and we will all learn to live and love each other through this transitional period – adding in more familiar elements as the weeks and months go by. So let’s celebrate and hang in there as things grow into the “new normal” that will emerge for us.
We have been on a long journey together through the wilderness. Let us invite patience, kindness, and love to be our constant companions as we enter this next phase and celebrate our initial return to worship together in the Nave.