Challenger for September

Your September Challenger is in the mail, but here’s this month’s article From Robert’s Round Table:


During August we have hosted three Parking Lot worship services attended by about 25 people. The Church Board met Sept 2nd and we plan to offer two more weeks (9/6 & 9/13) of outdoor worship, weather permitting. We plan to resume in-person worship on Sept. 20th as long as the status of our county or the state does not require us to stay at home. Everyone is asked to make reservations either by calling during office hours or online through our website/church center app as we will be limiting attendance to 30 persons. Please, do not text or message your reservations to the pastors. Overflow may be arranged in the Fellowship Hall should the need arise, or you may listen in your car on the Parking Lot via 90.5 FM. Virtual Worship will continue to be offered via a recording of the live service on Sunday morning. We hope to make it available no later than 2PM each Sunday.

Worship & Covid 19

Our guidelines for Return to In Person Worship (limited to 30 persons) are as follows:

• Everyone is asked to wear cloth face masks in the building at all times and use the provided hand sanitizer stations.

• High risk individuals should consider not attending in person. Online worship and DVDs will continue to be available.

• We ask that you use only the South Doors (facing First American Bank) which will be propped open when weather permits, or designated ushers in gloves will open all entry doors. Temperatures will be taken at the door and anyone with a temp 100.4 or higher will be asked to return home.

We will print and hand out bulletins using masks and gloves.

• We will provide individual communion sets and will not pass the communion trays or offering trays. A receptacle will be provided for those wishing to leave an offering. We encourage online giving through our Church Center App.

• We will not be singing in the sanctuary, when the congregation is gathered, as the spreading of droplets/aerosols would be a risk, even with masks. You may hum along to familiar tunes. We will have music, just no singing, until we move to Phase 3 (vaccination is available or recommendations change).

• Individuals should be spread out in the service with one family unit per row with empty rows in between.

• We will encourage people to leave the building after worship rather than mingle. We will not be offering coffee. Bottled water will be available and we ask you to refrain from using the water fountain.

• Restrooms near the entrance will be open, however the restrooms near the office will be closed.

Our number one priority is to protect one another and stay healthy. Unfortunately, that means we have to adjust to the above guidelines for awhile. Worship in community is also important and we want to do our best to honor God’s commandment “to love one another” safely as we gather together.

The church office remains open for members and friends of the church on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9AM to Noon. If you plan to visit the office, please call ahead so that we may greet you and open the door, which will still be locked at all times. Please, plan to wear a mask as you would for shopping or visiting a medical office. If you would like to visit the sanctuary for prayer and meditation, you are welcome to do so by appointment. We are glad to be available for you and we want to practice the safest hospitality possible.

Other Updates:

Since our last publication in July, we have installed automatic faucets in the education building restrooms and automatic flush kits on the urinals in both men’s restrooms. Handsfree soap dispensers are available in those restrooms as well. We have redecorated and organized the conference room next to the office, which doubles as Pastor Kelly’s study for seminary and sermon preparation. The books in the conference room are Pastor Kelly’s personal library and are not for borrowing.

Speaking of books, during July and August we received hundreds of books from the estate of Rev. Clarence & Lois Bangs. We are working on developing a location to display the books and a system to allow them to be checked out and used by our congregation and students locally and remotely. The library has an amazing collection of Bible commentaries, theological books and more. We are grateful to the Bangs family for the contribution.

In early August we were very busy. I was in the midst of four weeks of funerals. First, we celebrated the life of Marsha Haggard Peters (50) with whom I was baptized 39 years ago at our Oak Street campus. Next, we remembered the full life of our beloved historian Merwyn Cook (88). The third week I officiated at the graveside internment of ashes for my first cousin Chester Kadow. And, on the fourth week we recorded and produced a virtual Memorial Service for our beloved Betty Sebastiani (87).

In the midst of those four funerals, we hosted the Catholic Charities Back to School Drive-Thru Fair on our parking lot. Thanks to eight Central volunteers who joined CC staff and helped distribute school supplies and food for nearly 600 families. Pastor Kelly, employed for the summer by CC, organized the daylong event and the two-week-long follow-up afterwards. I helped plan for logistics of setting up, handling the flow of traffic and preparing the space for a great first impression.

Special thanks to Josh & Nick for hours of volunteer landscaping prior to the event! And, while continuing our on location filming and producing for our creation series, we began planning for a sound system, staging, etc. for outdoor worship! We were very busy and apologize for not publishing an August Challenger during that time. Stay safe! Keep others safe by wearing a mask when you are out and about. And, stay strong, as we continue to be church in the midst of a global pandemic.

Peace & Joy,