Emmanuel & St. John’s Lutheran Church Worship Service Restart Plans

*Watch the Latest Sunday Service Recording Here*. Worship Service Restart Plans

Dear Members and Friends of Emmanuel/St. John’s,

The time is fast approaching for us to be able to come together for worship – but not quite yet. And when we do begin in-person gathering, things will still be different for a while. There are several precautions and restrictions that will need to be in place.

Your congregation leaders have been closely monitoring the situation and are staying up to date with governments directives and guidance for resuming group gatherings. We have also been following the information and encouragement being offered by our synodical leaders, as well as communicating with and sharing information with neighboring congregations. 

The following plans will be put in place at Emanuel/St. John’s. Please read the following information. Please be understanding and patient as we try to navigate these uncharted and troubled waters. You are welcome to speak with the pastor or church leaders if you have questions or concerns.

  1. General Information
  1. Worship times: 8:00 Emmanuel (Emmanuel members only). 10:00 St. John’s Sunday (St. John’s 55 and older).6:30  St. John’s Wednesday (St. John’s under 55) by way of emailing the church secretary (scsecretary@stjohnsmontello.org) or calling the church office at (608) 297-2866.
  2. The service will be recorded and made available on the church’s website as we have been doing for several weeks.
  3. Pastor Zietlow will provide private personal and family communion to anyone who requests it.
  4. Encouragements 
  1. Anyone experiencing  symptoms of COVID-19 or who is sick should stay home.
  2. Those who are at high risk or uncomfortable with the latest service format should stay home.
  3. Those who have access to and are comfortable with online worship are encouraged to continue worshiping in that manner.
  4. Wearing a mask when in the church building  is strongly encouraged. 
  5. Worshipers are encouraged to practice good hygiene and social distancing. 
  6. Distancing 
  1. Worshippers will be directed to use every other pew. Worship bulletins will be placed in the designated pews. 
  2. Worshipers should enter through the south main church entrance unless they need the elevator. Only the main entrance and elevator entrance area will be open.
  3. The school, gymnasium, church balcony, and basement will not be available.
  4. Gathering inside the building before or after worship is being discouraged. People may gather outside the building following social distance recommendations.
  5. Sanitation and Cleaning
  1. The sanctuary, entrances, elevator, and bathrooms will be cleaned before and after each worship service.
  2. Hand sanitizer and masks will be available. 
  3. There will be no hymnals or other materials in the pews. Worship bulletins are for one use only and should be taken home after the service. 
  4. Offering Plates will be in the narthex.
  5. Worship
  1. Lord willing, we will resume gathering together in limited fashion on Pentecost Sunday, May 31.
  2. The 8:00 am worship at Emmanuel will be for Emmanuel members only.
  3. The 10:00 am Sunday Service at St. John’s will be for those members who are 55 and older and cannot receive the service via technology. Limited capacity of 50.
  4. The 6:30 pm Wednesday Service will be available for everyone who is under 55 and cannot receive the service via technology, and for those who are 55 and younger who have signed up and wish to worship in person. Please sign up for the Wednesday service by emailing the church secretary (scsecretary@stjohnsmontello.org) or calling the church office at (608) 297-2866.
  5. The large screen at St. John’s will be used to project the order of service and hymns. Bulletins will be placed in the designated pews where people are allowed to sit. 
  6. There will be limited congregational singing and speaking.  A cantor will assist with the singing and liturgical responses. 
  7. Ushers will wear masks, and the offering plates will be placed in the narthex.
  8. Holy Communion will be celebrated at every service as we reopen. Each person or household will come forward to front using the center aisle and return by way of the side aisles. A “continuous flow” format will be used with individuals and/or families keeping a safe distance apart.
  9. Worshipers will be asked to exit the church from the back to the front.

Some final thoughts. These are unusual times for our world and Christ’s church. Patience, caution, respect and consideration for others, and more is required from all of us. But the Word of the Lord is forever, and we continue to pray, “O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”

1 Corinthians 1:4-9 New International Version (NIV) – Thanksgiving – I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

In Jesus Christ our loving & protecting Savior,
Pastor Pete Zietlow (608-408-7830 talk/text & ZietlowPL6@hotmail.com)