Epiphany United Methodist Church of Loveland plans to regather in person beginning this weekend
By Chuck Gibson
LOVELAND, OH (August 20, 2020) – Epiphany United Methodist Church (EUMC) is coming back in person starting with the 5:00 p.m. service Saturday, August 22. Two more in person services will follow Sunday, August 23, at 9 a.m. followed by 10:45 a.m
This weekend marks the first time in just over five months members of EUMC will gather in-person for live worship in the sanctuary there. Rev. Kathy Currier, Senior Pastor at EUMC, and all the staff there have been planning diligently for a safe regathering for months. As restrictions were relaxed from quarantine to limited reopening’s, they planned to regather as early as July. That was postponed, and then again plans to regather the first weekend in August were postponed due to reported spike in Covid-19 cases in Ohio – especially surrounding counties. Now, as August draws to a close and schools have begun reopening, the plan is in place to regather this weekend.
“I still have a bit of anxiety about it,” said Currier. “There’s excitement mixed with some anxiety because I know it is still out there. The virus is still around. It’s exciting to finally be at this point. We’ve been ready, we’ve been preparing for months.”
It’s going to be different. Worship will be taking place with masks on – as required by orders of Governor Mike DeWine. Currier is excited about the return, but also acknowledges the important role of fellowship for the people at EUMC. The usual fellowship pieces the people enjoy just won’t be there.
“The fellowship won’t be able to happen here,” Currier explained. “You can see each other, but you can’t hug, you can’t hang out in the area we call ‘The Well’, you can’t hang out for coffee. It really will be strictly worship.”
Guidance from the local Bishop calls for procedures to eliminate anything which would put people at higher risk. There will be no singing at EUMC. There will be music via video except at the traditional service where the organist will be playing.
“He (the organist) just told me the prelude will be ‘God of Our Fathers’ which is just sort of a foundational hymn for our faith,” said Currier. “It’s celebratory. The whole service is quite celebratory. It is purposeful. We have finally gotten to the part where we can be back in the building. We want to celebrate that.”
At the same time, Rev. Currier does not want those who cannot return, or are not ready to return to feel like they are missing out on something. Epiphany United Methodist plans to continue with the same level of virtual worship as they’ve been doing.
“They’ll have excellent worship at home if they’re not able to be here,” Currier said. “We really feel like that is excellent, so we’ll continue. We do not want to make it feel like it is any less because we’ve opened up the doors again. Excellence in person and excellence at home is what we’re aiming for.”
Members of EUMC have expressed a desire to be back. Currier understands not everyone feels the same desire or comfort yet. She expects that will come much later, maybe even a year from now before they’ll be all the way back.
One thing is certain, she and the staff are doing everything they know to make the regathering at Epiphany safe for everyone. As one who considers herself a hugger, Currier admits it has been hard being away. She’s excited to finally see faces – even if they are wearing a mask.
“They’ve been seeing me,” she said. “I’ve been in their living room for the last five months. I haven’t seen them. It’s just hard. We’ll be following all the rules. The whole staff has been really supportive of me taking our time until it is safe for everybody to come back; doing what is right for Epiphany and not what everybody else is doing. I feel like it is time. We should be fine.”
For more, go to www.Epihanyumc.org
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