By Kenneth Kovacs and Melissa Lambdin
With the number of people now fully vaccinated in Maryland, the COVID-19 positive infection rate under 1%, and Governor Hogan’s recent announcement that the State of Emergency will end on July 1, it’s clear that things are opening up at a faster rate than we anticipated. Thanks be to God!
Catonsville Presbyterian Church will reopen for in-person worship on Sunday, July 4th at 9:30 a.m., as we had planned, but with a greater capacity. Our focus will remain on keeping everyone safe, so we respect- fully request that attendees wear a mask to protect those who are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine.
The bathrooms will be open, and no reservations are required. We ask that family members sit together and practice social distancing. The balcony will be closed. While we cannot yet include congregational singing in worship (at least on the first Sunday), we do plan to provide soloists or small choral groups so we can all enjoy music in the sanctuary.
For those who are not yet ready to worship in person, we will set up livestreaming on Facebook and YouTube. Instructions for access will also be available on our website. If there are any technical issues on any given Sunday, a recordings of the service will always be available, posted on You Tube later in the day.
Our Opening Up Task Force includes healthcare professionals who are monitoring Covid-19 data in the area and across the state. We will continue to monitor and evaluate our in-person worship plan and revise it as needed, using science and best practice examples as our guide.
Memorial services are being scheduled and we have increased our capacity for attendance to provide seating for 25 family members close together in the front rows and up to 75 additional family members and guests in the remaining rows in a socially distanced arrangement. Reservations will be required for the 75 guests.
We ask for grace and patience during this period of transition. As Presbyterians, it is our aim to do everything “decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). Our reopening will take place in phases and, of course, everything is subject to change. We are incredibly grateful for the ability to worship together over these past sixteen months, and we look forward to seeing you in person very soon, worshipping together safely.