At St. John’s, the Safe Operating task force and Church Council have been guiding our changes in operations due to COVID-19
Update June 28:
This month, our Safe Operating Committee recommended and the Church Council affirmed that we take the next steps in returning to a more normal worship pattern. Lower infection rates along with robust vaccination rates in our congregation lead us to believe that we can take these steps to encourage everyone to return to in-person worship.
Beginning June 28:
- We will continue with two services at 9 and 10:30, open to everyone without registration.
- All pews will be available for seating. Ushers can help you find a seat at some distance from others if that is your preference.
- Masks will be optional for vaccinated persons in our Sunday worship. Infection rates have fallen to a level where we now feel that it rests with individuals to decide whether to mask for their own protection or not. Unvaccinated persons should still wear a mask.
- We will allow singing together.
- We will share the peace in a way that respects one another’s wishes for contact.
- We will continue to encourage social conversations outside.
We recognize that there are many reasons one might still wear a mask – because you are not yet vaccinated, because you are vaccinated but immunocompromised, because you are simply more comfortable wearing a mask, or for a sense of solidarity with a family member who still needs to mask. We know that our congregation will be respectful of these individual circumstances and at the same time want to celebrate that the pandemic has waned enough that many of us can gather unmasked.
We hope you will return to worship in person, even though the new options for accessing worship remotely will continue. The summer worship schedule at 9 and 10:30 will continue until after Labor Day. We hope to resume Holy Communion on Sundays on August 1.
The church is open for summer office hours. The office will be staffed Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Phones will be answered from 2-5 as well, and the building will be accessible by appointment at other times.
GROUPS may schedule events in the church building, following current CDC guidelines which recommend masks for all unvaccinated persons. Please contact the church office for any building use.
The SAFE OPERATING TASK FORCE is continuing to recommend safety protocols as we re-open. Pastor Pam Fickenscher, Pastor Jonathan Davis, President-Elect Ruth Dahl, Dr. Rod Christensen, Leah Garlie, Nathan Proctor and Paul Beck meet regularly to help the Church Council and staff plan for ministry in the weeks and months ahead. Members should be prepared to continue the changes in how we do ministry. Click here to read our Principles for Safe Operating.
Please continue to guard the health and safety of others. Remember as you interact in person with others that anyone can spread the virus unknowingly. Wash your hands frequently, and if you have any symptoms, please stay home from in-person activities.
Vaccines are available for all ages 12 and up locally and throughout the state. Currently, the best way to schedule a vaccine is through your local health care provider. For your information, here is a link for the Minnesota Department of Health’s vaccine finder in Minnesota. https://mn.gov/covid19/
Ways to Stay Connected with St. John’s
- Listen on KYMN Radio: 95.1 FM/ 1080 AM (kymnradio.net) to the worship service on Sundays. (9:00 AM) The bulletins will be available online and can be accessed on our homepage.
- Livestream Video of Sunday Services. Sunday services are livestreamed and linked in on our homepage. Audio recording of the sermons will be archived under the Worship tab of the website.
- Audio of sermons and worship videos are posted of each Sunday’s worship later in the week. You can listen to a large audio archive of sermons on your phone via the SoundCloud application.
- RADIO and Livestream WORSHIP every Sunday at 9 a.m.
- Preschool through Grade 5 have summer outdoor activities coming up. Contact Julie Brehmer at children@StJohsNorthfield.org to receive weekly updates on children’s ministry.
- Middle and High School youth have finished their official program year but are continuing to meet with outdoor gatherings and service projects. Space is still available for a summer canoe trip. Contact youth@StJohnsNorthfield.org to receive details on upcoming events.
How Can You Help?
This question continues to be asked every day. It’s heartening to know that we have a community that is ready to step up in a crisis.
- First and foremost, stay safe and follow state guidelines for distancing. Connect with neighbors and friends and support each other remotely.
- St. John’s continues to need your regular financial gifts. Although we can’t be with you all in person, we want to continue to pay our staff. Give online here. Or mailed offerings will continue to be welcomed. If you are in a position to pay ahead on your annual pledge, that will also help us get through this difficult time. Contact Leah Garlie at 507-645-4429 if you would like to set-up automatic online giving.
- Our Sunday School’s Blessing Box is seeing a high level of both donations and people receiving these blessings. Nonperishable foods, cleaning supplies, feminine hygiene supplies, and toilet paper are especially welcome donations.
- The Red Cross still needs blood, maybe now more than ever. Go to the Red Cross website at redcross.org if you are eligible to donate. Drives are still happening locally, including at St. John’s.
- The Community Action Center is experiencing a high demand for assistance, especially for housing assistance. The quickest way to help is to donate financially. The CAC can make those gifts go further than your own grocery store donations. They are also building their volunteer base. For more information visit their website.