The Emotions of a Physical Return

As the number of people vaccinated increases, and as the positivity rate decreases, and with the CDC’s new mask guidelines, many people are anxious to return to in-person church activities. It’s been a long 14 months since the lock down began. Some are saying, “I can’t take it anymore!” They are ready to return.
Others are more cautious. Even among those who have been vaccinated, there are some who are still waiting for the US to reach “herd immunity.” They are saying, “Maybe I’ll return in July or September, depending on how the numbers are trending.”
Ultimately, the decision to physically return to in-person gatherings at the church is an emotional one. Some of it is based on science, but much is based on how we feel.
We all want to be safe, and we care about the safety of those around us. So, we don’t want to return prematurely and engage in undue risk. And yet, we are social creatures, created for community – “It is not good for a man or woman to be alone” (Genesis 2:18, paraphrased). The human and spiritual need for relationship is hard-wired within us.
The leadership of UMCL is aware of the range of attitudes and emotions related to this issue. That is why we are taking a measured approach to returning to in-person church activities, particularly worship. See below for the steps we are taking regarding singing in church and fellowship time.
These are exciting steps for us to take, even if they are a bit scary for some. But by taking these small steps we are seeing hope on the horizon.
As we return, some will say, “It’s still not normal.” It’s true. We will not go back to the way we were. We are going forward into something better! The future will be different, and the transition will take quite a while.
Others will say, “I really like watching church on my couch at home.” We have heard from many about the great job our worship and tech teams have done broadcasting our worship services on Facebook and YouTube. We will continue to live-stream our worship, but as our worship services become more in-person oriented, the on-line experience will change as well. There will be fewer pre-recorded videos and more interaction with the in-person congregation.
Over the next several months, we will be taking steps toward re-engaging in worship as we balance the risk/reward ratio and the range of emotions involved. If you’re ready, “Come on down!” If not yet, see below about the changes and join us just as soon as you are able.
Blessings on you all,