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in the Elora UC Sanctuary
September 19, 2021
Worship Begins at 9:30 am
Good news! We're going to make our first attempt at returning to in-person worship in our Sanctuary, this Sunday (September 19). This is after 78 weeks away.

It's taken quite a bit of preparation to get us to this important step, and a great team has been working on it. We're trying to make a meaningful gathering and worship experience for people, and one that is healthy and gives a sense of safety. Doing all this requires a lot of balancing. We won't get it perfect. Still, it will be good.

This email has a lot of information you'll need to know before you come, including how to pre-register and screen before Sunday. Please read on.

The Sanctuary is ready. All we need is you.
9:30 am! Why so early?
Elora UC people are used to worship begin at 11:00. (Though the Bethany folks think that's too late, and like theirs at 9:20!) Eventually the Elora UC services will return to their 11:00 time.

But we need to keep our online services too. With physical distancing requirements, we cannot accommodate everyone in our sanctuary. As important, many are not able or ready to return to large gatherings. And some cannot join us in-person, even in the best times.

So we're installing equipment that will allow us to broadcast our Sunday services over the internet. We'll then be able to combine our in-person and online worshippers in one service. Until that's ready, though, we need to keep our online worship separate.

So Online Worship will be continuing too?
Definitely. For many, the experience of praising God together while online has been excellent. We're going to keep it going. For now, we'll continue using Zoom as we have for these many months. The online service will be at 11:00 am.

Will Worship be like it was before?
In some important ways, yes! We'll pray together, hear and reflect on the Scriptures, and enjoy God's Presence in a place that's meaningful to many of us. However, some things will be different.

We won't be able to sing together, at least for the time being. We will have music, played on our organ, piano, or other instruments. We will also have pre-recorded music. And we hope to have soloists too.

There won't be as many as we're used to having. Physical distancing requirements mean we need to cap our capacity at about 14 households/groups, as well as volunteers. Since household/group sizes can vary from 1-6 people, the total number we can have varies from 30-100 (compared to our normal capacity of 260).

We won't be able to rush over and greet each other. Certainly many  of us would like to. The need to protect one another's health, however, means we need to keep that 2 metre/6 feet distance. Sorry.

We won't be able to have our fellowship time after worship. We hope we can resume it soon, but for the time being we'll need to leave the building soon after the service ends.

Where will I Sit?
We’ll sit individually, in households, or in small groups. Each will be distanced from the others. The Sanctuary has been laid out to help this happen. Ushers will guide you to your seat.

Basically, your household is the people you live with. It might be one person. Or it might be a few. Or, it might be some people from different households (such as a couple of friends) who agree to sit together during the service. If you’d like to sit with people who are not in your household, please make arrangements with them beforehand and make sure you register together.

What about Masks? Sanitizing? Vaccinations?

Everyone needs to wear a mask within our building. Please bring your own. Or, you can use one that we'll provide. If you cannot wear a mask, please continue to enjoy our worship online.

Some people will be helping in ways that will put them physically close to people. They will being wearing medical masks and eye protection (goggles). People who are leading worship from the sanctuary platform at a distance from others might take off their mask while doing this.

Everyone needs to use hand sanitizer when they arrive. Please use it at other times too. We have plenty.

Before and after the service, the Sanctuary and other spaces will be disinfected. This will help keep all those who use our building safe.

Everyone is strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated. The vaccines are safe, effective, and part of our collective effort to overcome this disease. 

Unfortunately, some people are ineligible for vaccination at this time. This includes children younger than 12, and people with some medical conditions. That's why we haven't made vaccinations mandatory to come to worship. For their safety, it is important that everyone else be vaccinated. If you have not been vaccinated, please speak with your doctor for reliable and up-to-date information about its effectiveness and safety.

What about Bethany?
The Bethany Board is still deciding about resuming in-person worship. At this point, we hope we can start up again on Thanksgiving Sunday (October 10), but that might change. In the meantime, please join us for worship online or the in-person services at Elora UC.

What if things change?
We hope this is the beginning of a gradual return to doing things together. Still . . . when this all began we thought we'd be back after 3 weeks, not 78! So we will continue to be flexible, adapting to the changing pandemic situation, the needs of our congregation and community, and unforeseen things that happen. We've learned how to do that! And we'll keep you well-informed as we go along.

Will we be going back to normal? No, a lot has changed, and we will continue to envision what our congregation's worship and mission will be in the future.

Can I Help?
Yes! We need people to serve as Greeters, Ushers, Cleaners, and Tech System operators. We'll train you and give you plenty of support. Please let us know if you're interested ( | 519-846-0122)

What Now?
Before coming to in-person worship, you'll need to pre-register. This will include answering the screening questions we've become so used to doing. The next section of this email will tell you how.
Pre-Register for In-Person Worship
To keep our worship gatherings as safe as possible, we’re needing to limit the number of people who can attend.

But we don’t want to have to turn people away at the door.

So having an idea how many are coming beforehand and the size of their household/groups is important. Your pre-registration will help us.  If we reach our capacity, we’ll let you know (so be sure to include contact information).  

Please pre-register no later than 11:00pm on Friday evening. Thanks.
Click to Pre-Register for this week's worship.
Mailing: 75 Geddes Street, Elora ON, N0B 1S0

Bethany United Church
4th Line East & Sideroad 10 (near Inverhaugh)

Elora United Church
75 Geddes Street
Greg Smith-Young:
Barb Smith-Young:
For both: 519.846.2542
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Elora, On N0B 1S0

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Elora & Bethany United Churches · 75 Geddes Street · Elora, On N0B 1S0 · Canada

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