March 16, 2021
Dear St. Philip the Deacon Friends,
One year ago last Sunday, we suspended in-person activities at St. Philip the Deacon due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, I am delighted to announce that we will return to limited in-person services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
While we have explored and experimented with in-person services a few times over the past year—during October, November, and again during Wednesday evening services during Lent—our hope is that these Holy Week services will mark a return to ongoing in-person worship opportunities at St. Philip the Deacon.
Since in-person services are still constrained by social distancing requirements, the number of individuals who can occupy the Sanctuary for any single service is still severely limited. As a result, Holy Week services will require people to sign-up, and will be limited to 100 individuals. You may sign up online at spdlc.org/register beginning Monday, March 22 at 10 a.m.
We recognize that we may not be able to accommodate everyone who will want to join us for these in-person offerings, so we will also offer these services via livestream. Indeed, as we have announced in other places, we will continue to livestream our worship services permanently moving forward, since virtual participation in worship will be an ongoing part of our life as a congregation.
Because congregational singing is still discouraged, our in-person Easter Sunday morning services will feature music from our vocal quartet and instrumental soloists, but will not include any congregational hymns. Our livestream Easter Sunday morning service, on the other hand, will include congregational singing, as we have been doing all year.
Masks will still be required for in-person services, and we plan to assign specific entrances for those who have signed up to simplify the paths of individuals coming in and out of the church building. We will have check-in stations at these entrances, and obviously anyone who is not feeling well should plan to join us via livestream rather than in-person. And, while we pray this does indeed represent a permanent shift in our worship moving forward, we also recognize that if the current trajectory of the pandemic changes, we may need to adjust these plans.
Our Holy Week schedule will be as follows:
- Maundy Thursday (April 1): One in-person and livestreamed service at 7 p.m.
- Good Friday (April 2): One in-person and livestreamed service at 7 p.m.
- Three Services Easter Sunday (April 4):
- 8:15 a.m. in-person only
- 9:45 a.m. livestream only
- 11:15 a.m. in-person only
After Easter, we anticipate holding one in-person service and one live-streamed service every week. We will add additional services over time as necessary, based on demand.
I once again offer my profound gratitude and appreciation to everyone who is part of the St. Philip the Deacon family. During a disruptive year filled with challenges and difficulties, we have been able to remain focused on our mission, and, as a result, have continued to be a blessing to a world in need.
As we enter into a new—and hopefully concluding—chapter in the story of this pandemic, I extend my thanks for your patience, flexibility, support and prayers over these past twelve months. During this time we have learned many lessons which will serve us well in the future, and—as a result—I have never felt more confident that the best days of St. Philip the Deacon are still ahead of us.
As always, feel free to reach out to me personally with any questions, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Grace and Peace,
Tim Westermeyer, Senior Pastor
On behalf of the Pastoral Team, the Church Council and Executive Team:
Pastors: Pastor Mark Schmid, Pastor Cheryl Mathison, Pastor Valerie Strand Patterson
Church Council: Beth Jacob (President), Bjorn Berg, Ben Bienert, Debbie McIntyre, Heidi Hukriede, Sarah Johansen, Greg Lindberg, Alyssa Porubcan, Jason Scherschligt
Executive Team: Tom Abrahamson, Mike Braun, Lana Jones, Bob Paulson, John Schultz