Heart of the Rockies Christian Church in Fort Collins, CO

Returning to Our Sanctuary!

We are SO EXCITED to welcome and worship with you in our sanctuary on Sundays at 10 a.m.!

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), county, and state guidelines to guide our decision-making. We’ve also referenced ongoing advice from the Wisconsin Council of Churches–an organization that has worked diligently to interpret these guidelines in the particular context of worship.

They’ve undergirded their recommendations in the way we’d expect a community of faith to do–with an understanding of scripture and solid theological underpinning. In their most recent update, issued after the CDC advised that fully vaccinated Americans can go without masks or social distancing in most public settings, they shared this:

As we have stated previously during the pandemic,
we are not required to do something just because it is allowed.
The apostle Paul advises Christians that “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up
and that they should “take care that your liberty does not
somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Cor. 8:1,9).
The minimum standard is not necessarily the guide
by which the church should operate.  
The current CDC recommendations presume a fully vaccinated group. We know that is not the case in most faith communities – including ours. We do not want to put our church leaders in the position of needing to check vaccination status in order to admit people to worship AND we know that some have not had the opportunity to be vaccinated.

Therefore, we are taking the “two out of three” approach the Wisconsin Council of Churches recommends:

  • When we are inside, we will wear masks and maintain physical distance.
  • When we are outside, we will ask folks to either wear masks OR maintain distance.

Here’s what this means for our return to in-building worship on Sunday at 10 a.m.

  • Masks will be required at all times during worship and any time a large group is gathered indoors. Masks will be available on-site for those who need them.
  • In lieu of registry pads, you’ll check in before entering the building for both attendance and contact tracing purposes, so plan to arrive a few minutes early.
  • Seating on the north side of the sanctuary will be arranged to maintain 6 feet of distance between households. Seating on the southeast side of the sanctuary will allow people to sit closer together.
  • Individual servings of communion will be available for you to pick up as you enter the sanctuary. For those who may have difficulty opening the packages, we will have an usher or pastor available to assist. You may also bring your own communion elements if you wish.
  • Congregational singing will not be introduced right away. Our musicians will continue to provide musical offerings, and the congregation will be invited to participate in songs in ways other than singing.
  • Childcare and children’s church will not be provided at this time. We will have individual-use age-appropriate activities for our kids available for every service.
  • Fellowship will be outside following worship. Masks will be optional. We ask you to respect each individual’s choice and to do what works best for you, including distancing. We’ll start with coffee, tea, and juice being served. (Yes, our sacramental donuts will eventually return!)

The WCC says it best: “Our faith calls us to resist the temptation to assume that being vaccinated means our actions are without consequence to those we claim to love the most.  Let us build up the Body of Christ with wisdom: by using growing scientific knowledge together with our best theology and pastoral practice. We can gather more people in physical space, more safely now. Let us continue safe practices so that we can be part of a global effort to subdue this coronavirus.”

May it be so.

Love,

Melissa St. Clair, Senior Minister

For those who wish to continue to worship with us online, a live-stream of the service will be available at 10 a.m. MDT on Sundays and anytime after that. Check your inbox in the next week for more information on how you can participate virtually in worship going forward.

Thank you to our COVID-19 Response Team for their ongoing work:

  • Carrie Campbell-Broughton, MD (Mountain View Family Medicine)
  • Kristen Cochran-Ward, MSW (Health District of Northern Larimer County)
  • Kate Cooley, MPH (Centers for Disease Control)
  • Stacy Poncelow, Moderator (Poudre School District)
  • Lynnette Thayer, Elder
  • Melissa St. Clair, Pastor

Please direct questions and requests for clarification to our Board Moderator, Stacy Poncelow, or our pastor, Melissa St. Clair.