WORSHIP & ACTIVITIES PHASED REOPENING
The Session of Erin continues to monitor the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic closely.
UPDATE: 5/24/2021 In-person Worship Resumes
At last month’s Session meeting, our church elders decided to change some of the safety precautions we have been adhering to for our indoor worship services. Recently revised guidelines from the CDC have given us the opportunity to review our precautions. The following information contains our new guidelines.
Beginning Sunday 30th May, we will no longer require worshipers to sign up for seating reservations. We believe that we can accommodate everyone who wishes to attend the worship services safely with the following requests.
- Anyone who is fully vaccinated, as per the CDC guidelines, may remain maskless on entering the building and throughout the worship service.
- Anyone who is not fully vaccinated will be requested to wear a mask for their own safety, as well as for the safety of others in the sanctuary. This is not just a CDC guideline; it also reflects our Christian compassion for one another.
We will still cordon off every second pew for the time being, in order to retain some social distancing. Worshipers will still be asked not to shake hands or hug one another.
The service will remain abbreviated to about 35-45 minutes, with limited singing. At the conclusion of worship, attendees will be advised to maintain social distancing until they are outdoors in the parking lot.
Our church elders believe that these precautions are in the best interests of our congregation and we all look forward to the time when we will no longer have to make these requests.
Please note that if the local Covid numbers spike upward again, we will have to reinstate added safety measures.
Finally, we will continue to produce our pre-recorded worship services for those who still feel uncomfortable about being inside or who may be immuno-compromised.
The Session thanks you for your great patience and understanding, as well as your voluntary compliance with our safety precautions. The well-being of all our church folks is at the heart of these measures.
May God bless you and all of your loved ones. We are grateful for your support and great care of our people.
On behalf of Erin Session
UPDATE: 8/16/2020 Phased Reopening
We have begun limited, on-site Worship on Sunday mornings from 9:00-9:30 am. The service is conducted outdoors, in the parking lot by the front door. Services consist of prerecorded music for the prelude and postlude, prayers and readings, and a sermon. Please bring your own camp chairs and be prepared to sit widely spaced by family groups. Masks are required, and we are following all CDC recommendations for safety and hygiene.
Cancellations due to rain will be announced Sundays by 8:00 am via email, the telephone tree, and on Erin’s Facebook page.
Pre-recorded online video services will continue to be produced every week for those who prefer to worship remotely.
The following programs and activities remain suspended until further notice:
- Sunday School classes (moved to online gatherings for most classes)
- Youth groups on Sunday evenings (moved to online gatherings)
- Wednesday night programs
UPDATE: 6/2/2020 Reopening Survey – We Need Your Input!
Session has been meeting weekly since March to stay abreast of the relevant Covid-19 information, to ensure that worship, Sunday school and other church ministries and activities continue to happen virtually, as well as to plan for next steps.
As most of you probably know, Tennessee and Knox County are in the process of reopening businesses and non-profit organizations using a phased approach. In accordance, Session is discussing what the re-opening phases will be for Erin and what should be included in each. The first phase will focus on returning to in-person worship, but we need your input to help us plan.
Below you will find a link to a very short survey we would like you to complete. The survey will help us know your thoughts and feelings about returning to in-person worship and better determine how we should plan. The survey will also help us to know how well our alternative ways of ensuring that Worship, Sunday school, church ministries and activities and communication are meeting your needs.
Please complete the survey and provide us your input!! We need to hear from you!
Survey will close Monday, June 8th at midnight.
Session updates: 5/7/2020
Our elders continue to meet each week to pray for the church and to discuss various issues.
Here is a summary of what was discussed & decided at last night’s (5/7/2020) meeting.
The church will continue to be closed during May. Online worship services will take place and be made available to the congregation each Sunday. We will decide whether or not we can open in June at our next meeting. This will depend on many circumstances beyond our control.
The PCUSA has produced a twenty-page document to help congregations make informed and safe choices about re-opening churches. The document can be read at this link:
Session has responded by deciding to set up a Task Force to discuss the document and make recommendations to Session about how to re-open our church. Once those details are finalized, the congregation will be informed.
Our church has a new Mission Statement which will be widely publicized throughout the congregation in the coming weeks. If you are watching our online services, you will see the statement at the end of each video.
We are getting good feedback about our online services, midweek devotions, and phone-tree calls. The pastor is sending a phone message on Monday and Friday mornings using an external program. You may see this come to your phone via this number: 1-877-333-9336. If you do, please answer it to listen to the special message and then save the number as “Erin Church Message.”
All of our teams are using Zoom to host their meetings online. A few of our social groups and classes are doing this, too. This is keeping us all up-to-date and connected. A weekly Coffee Club Check-in takes place on Tuesday mornings and Wednesday evenings. If you would like to participate, just send an email to April our administrator – firstname.lastname@example.org – and she’ll send you the linked invite.
On Sunday 17th May, most of our teams will be represented at our annual Budget meeting. Hopefully, the meeting will create a budget for the 2020/2021 fiscal year which begins July 1. Once this is approved by Session, the whole congregation will be notified and this year’s Stewardship Campaign will commence. The theme for this year is “Keeping Connected.”
Finally, we are working on what we may do as a church this summer. A lot of things are in abeyance right now due to the pandemic. However, as summer progresses, we will keep you informed about the re-start of any of our programs.
Thank you for your continued support to the church your online donations and mailed-in checks are helping to sustain Erin Presbyterian. May God bless you all for your faithfulness and devotion.
Letter from the Pastor
Dear Erin Family,
May God be with and look after you all.
These are unprecedented times, but the faith, hope, and love that we share will enable us to endure.
Our elders and staff are praying for all of you and looking for ways to help us through this coronavirus crisis. We all trust in God and seek His presence with us. As in ancient days, He will lead us through this pandemic.
Today our elders decided to cancel all of our worship services and programs for the remainder of March. We did this not just as a precaution, but through a ministry of love and care. Every person at Erin – church member, regular supporter, friend, and visitor – is an important part of our spiritual family. We want you and your loved ones to be safe during this time. We want to encourage and support you as one family of faith.
As we persevere, can I ask you to do several things:
- Will you focus on your loved ones, both near and far, and ask God to bless them all?
- Will you pray for the church and all of our people each day?
- Will you think about your neighbors and help them if they need you?
- Will you make time to read the scriptures and study God’s word?
- Will you also pray for our elders, staff, and ministry teams regularly?
On Sundays, instead of meeting personally in the sanctuary, we hope to have an online worship time via Facebook Live or other social platforms.
Bulletin material will be available on our website [click here].
Bible studies will be produced which you can easily download to read on your computer, tablet, or cellphone and can be printed out at home.
Prayer requests will be taken at any time – you may call the church at 865-588-5350 and leave a message which will be answered. You can also send an email to either John at email@example.com or April at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our church staff will work from home and will answer any incoming calls between 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Outside of those hours, calls will be directly forwarded to the pastor’s cellphone (865-454-3942).
Pastor John will be in the church building each day unless he is needed elsewhere at a hospital or home. He will be there most days from 9:00 to 5:00 PM. He will also be at the church on Sunday mornings, too.
Our ministry and mission will still continue even when our building is closed. We will be church together, to help one another and to spread God’s love. Please keep in mind the on-going expenses of our church and people. Even though we cannot be there in-person, we can all contribute our pledges, tithes, and gifts by doing so securely online [click here].
You may also mail your gifts via check to the church office at:
Erin Presbyterian Church
200 Lockett Rd
Knoxville, TN 37919
Thank you for your faithfulness and love, encouragement and support. May God bless & be with you all.