On Palm Sunday, March 28 at 10:00 a.m., we will resume our live-streamed, Cameron Street parking lot worship, weather permitting. If the weather is inclement, the worship will be live-streamed from the fellowship hall with no congregation present indoors.
In-person, indoor worship resumes onMaundy Thursday, April 1 at 7:00 p.m. with communion in the fellowship hall. The service will also be live-streamed.
On Easter Sunday, April 4, our in-person worship schedule will be:
7:30 a.m. with communion on the lawn fronting Loudoun Street, weather permitting [Please bring your own chair; some chairs, however, will be available]
9:00 a.m. in the church parking lot, weather permitting [Please bring your own chair]
11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary, live-streamed
In the event of inclement weather on Easter Sunday morning, the 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. worship services will be held in fellowship hall with pre-registration required in order to maintain appropriate capacities as well as have the ability to contact trace, if necessary. In the event of fair weather, the Cameron Street parking lot should be available for use for parking by 10:15 a.m.
Beginning Sunday, April 11, the initial phase of our transitional in-person worship schedule will be:
9:00 a.m. in the fellowship hall, live-streamed and available for viewing after the livestream
11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary
There is one exception to this initial, transitional schedule and that is Sunday, April 18, which is Youth Sunday. Youth Sunday will be at 10:00 a.m. in the church parking lot, weather permitting [the back-up location is fellowship hall; again, with pre-registration required].
The Session approved this schedule upon the prayerful and thoughtful recommendation of its Infectious Disease Task Force and Worship and Discipleship Council. Thankfully, at present the trends of the virus in our community are downward and the trends for vaccinations are upward. That said, the virus is still very much present and many of our neighbors are not yet vaccinated. Appropriate measures are necessary to mitigate against transmitting the virus in an effort to help to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Here’s what to expect at in-person worship during this initial re-gathering phase:
Worshippers and worship leaders will be masked and distanced
Ushers will seat worshippers with proper distancing in mind
The capacity for each worship space will be capped appropriately [fellowship hall: 71; sanctuary: 80]. These numbers are exclusive of worship leaders, ushers, and greeters
Worshippers will pre-register for their service space and time via our website, fpcwinc.org/register, or the telephone, 662-3825, ext. 25 only [Note: This number and extension is available seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day]
Worshippers may softly sing hymns with the song leader or leaders
Worshippers may softly speak responsive or unison prayers
Worshippers may “pass the peace” with a wave or an “air hug” or another appropriate gesture
Persons with COVID-19 symptoms or who have been in contact with a person with COVID-19 symptoms in the past two weeks are asked to remain home and worship virtually
Persons attending worship in the fellowship hall are asked to enter the fellowship hall through the Loudoun Street doors
Persons attending worship in the sanctuary are asked to enter the sanctuary through the Loudoun Street doors
Following worship, please visit outdoors with your neighbors but please do so at least six feet apart
As trend lines improve, for example more and more persons in our community are vaccinated and the prevalence of the virus in the community lessens, the capacity cap for each worship space may be raised and other precautions relaxed accordingly. Conceivably, however, the trends could change for the worse, which would require other decisions but we are hoping and praying that won’t be the case.
We want to thank you for sacrificing indoor, in-person worship over the past year. It was an act of selfless love for your neighbor just as Christ commanded. We followed public health practices to reduce the spread of a virus that has sickened so many brothers and sisters. This virus has killed 138 persons in Winchester and Frederick County, more than 10,000 Virginians, more than 535,000 persons in our nation, and 2.67 million persons in the world. Lord, in your mercy heal and comfort the ill and grieving. We also want to thank you for worshipping virtually as well as finding new and creative ways to engage with our church family. Our congregation’s education, care, and service ministries found fruitful and imaginative ways to continue their mission. We are grateful and inspired by all you have done in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic.
The pandemic has been difficult and challenging on so many fronts, including congregational life and ministry. With God’s help and as a united faith community, you rose to the occasion. We are honored and humbled to lead a congregation that did its part to help in this historic and tragic pandemic. God presented all of us an opportunity to be Christ to our neighbors in this moment and we said yes.
One final note, this regathering plan is transitional and will be evaluated monthly in order to determine the wisest and most faithful way to proceed. Everyone’s flexibility is greatly appreciated.
May your Lenten journey continue to be holy and your Holy Week blessed.
Dan McCoig, Pastor
Amanda Maguire Thomas,
John Fisher, Clerk