The Birth of the Church
April 4 – Luke 24:1-12, Jesus Has Risen!
April 11 – Luke 24:36-51, Jesus Reveals Himself to the Disciples
April 18 – Acts 6:8-15, 7:51-8:1, Stephen’s Witness
April 25 – Acts 8:26-39, Phillip Baptizes the Ethiopian Eunuch
May 2 – Acts 15:1- 18, The First Church Council
May 9 – Galatians 1:13-17; 2:11-21, Saved by Faith
May 16 – Galatians 3:1-9, 23-29, A Church Divided
May 23 – Acts 2:1-4; Galatians 4:1-7, Pentecost, God Sends the Holy Spirit
Starting April 11 we will have worship in the sanctuary for the first time in over a year. With vaccinations increasing and new cases levelling out, if not decreasing, it has been decided that we will gather again in the sanctuary for worship at 9:30 a.m. At the same time, we will strive to continue to produce excellent worship and discipleship ministries online as well. The Worship at Home video will be released at 2:00 p.m. on Sundays.
Grace and flexibility are important values as we move back into the sanctuary. There will be some significant safety precautions and procedures that may take some time getting used to. All of these policies and procedures are based on guidance from the CDC and the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church, and have been discussed in great length by our Re-Entry Task force for months. This is our plan for the three Sundays in April. We will review how things are going and make changes if needed. Any changes will be published in the May edition of The Compass.
· Masks must be worn at all times. Well-fitted and properly worn masks (over both mouth and nose) are the most important thing we can do to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
· The West Entrance will be closed to limit foot traffic through the more narrow hallways of the church. The doors on 5th Avenue and the accessible entrance on 19th Street will be the only ways to get into the sanctuary.
· At the two entrances, ushers will ask permission to use scanners to take guests’ temperatures. If the temperature is over 100, people will be asked to return home.
· Every other pew will be roped off to help guests sit with the adequate six feet of separation. Family units may sit together, separated from other units.
· The tables in the back of the sanctuary have been removed.
· Bulletins will be placed in the pews. Guests are asked to fill out the attendance slip each and every Sunday and leave it in their seat as they leave.
· A photo of the congregation will be taken by Pastor Robb at the beginning of the service. This will aid in contact tracing if the need arises.
· All music will be either pre-recorded or leader-sung. The congregation is asked not to sing at this time and there will not be responsive readings. The Lord’s Prayer will be recited, but voices should be kept low and heads bowed.
· The offering plates will not be passed through the pews. Instead, offering stations will be placed at the exits of the sanctuary.
· There will not be a coffee and refreshments time after the service.
· Rows will be dismissed one at a time so as to avoid “clumping” on the way out of the sanctuary.
· The entire service will last around 45 minutes.
· The balcony will be open.
· All bathrooms will remain open.
· The nursery will not be open.
· Sunday school will take place after the service.
* Adult Sunday school class led by Pastor Robb will meet in Epworth Hall at 10:45 a.m. A Zoom option will be available to those who want to participate from home.
* Kids Sunday school will meet in the back of the sanctuary.
* The African Sunday school class will meet in Asbury Parlor.
All of these policies are set for the last three Sundays of April. We will do our best to evaluate how things are going. We will also remain vigilant in monitoring the situation according to the Rock Island County Health Department numbers and the guidelines set out by the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
If cases rise significantly in the area it is possible that we will move back to online worship only. If cases in the area continue to dip, some of these precautions may be loosened. For now, both the Monday Bible study and the Wednesday Prayer Service will remain online only.
Every Sunday at 9:30
We worship together every Sunday morning from 9:30-10:30. Immediately after worship, there is a time for Sunday School for all ages. There is a traditional feel to our worship, with an informal and welcoming atmosphere. That’s why we call it “Casual Traditional.”
At this time there is no Nursery available but, there are activity bags available for kids in the sanctuary.
The dress is varied. There might be a few people wearing ties, but there will also be some guys wearing t-shirts. Same thing with the ladies, for every dress and pumps, there is also a woman in jeans and a blouse.
Pastor Robb is an energetic preacher, who seldom remains behind the pulpit. Each week he also shares a short children’s moment. If your children feel comfortable, they are welcome to come forward. If you prefer, parents can accompany their little ones up to the front.
The choir is lively, and shares rousing anthems, melodic spirituals, and introspective responses. Our African choir has musical offerings about once a month, many of the songs they share have direct English translations in addition to the native language in which they are singing. It is a truly beautiful experience to hear some of the old favorite hymns sung in two different languages at once. Who knows, you may even learn a little Swahili.
Our newly remodeled sanctuary includes a “Cafe Seating” section. These round tables, with coffee, water, and cookies nearby, offer a new way of experiencing worship. There are kids bulletins available. There is also a room adjacent to the sanctuary for parents with little ones that want a little more privacy. The room is furnished with a glider, a few activities for little ones, softer lighting, and a big window out to the worship space.