Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Steele County, we are suspending in-person worship.
Youth and Children’s ministry events are also suspended, including Sunday School and Youth Group.
Thanksgiving Eve worship will be online on Wednesday, November 25 at 6:30pm.
Good Shepherd Preschool remains open.
While the state guidelines for churches have not changed, we want to protect our congregation by proceeding cautiously and prayerfully. Future changes in programming will be announced by email, and on our website: goodshepherdowatonna.com.
Please join us in prayer for our community as we follow Jesus together.
COVID GUIDELINES Fall 2020
9:00am Worship with Hymns
10:30am Worship with the Praise Band
Online service: 9:00am
Communion will be held at both in-person services. Offering will be collected in offering baskets outside the worship center. We continue to encourage online giving
. If you need assistance in setting up online giving, please contact the church office.
What Guided Our Decisions
In developing Good Shepherd’s response to the pandemic, there are several Bible passages that guided our decisions:
- God is not confined to a space (1 Kings 8:27). He can and should be worshipped at any time and in any place. We are His ambassadors in the world and can be with Him everywhere. In-person worship is a great thing, but God is not confined to our physical space on 7th Avenue.
- We are to obey those in authority over us (1 Peter 2:13-17).
- We are to continue worshipping God, with other believers (Hebrews 10:19-25). We can’t use the pandemic as a reason to stop worshipping God and encouraging other believers. It may look different than before the pandemic, but we are still to support and encourage one another.
- To effectively love and support others, we may be asked to do things we don’t totally agree with but aren’t in opposition to what God says (1 Corinthians 9:20-23). To allow all to worship God, together, we may be asked to do things we are personally opposed to doing (like mask wearing). It is out of love for those around us to allow them to also worship, even if we think it isn’t necessary.
- We cannot judge the decisions of others and need to love our neighbor (James 4:11-12, Luke 6:37-42). Our goal is to live in peace with our believers, not causing them to stumble in their relationship with God (Romans 14:13-23).
In order to maintain a safe experience for all, the following guidelines have been adopted:
If you are physically vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, we encourage you to worship on-line
. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Older adults (65 and older)
- People with underlying health conditions: those with asthma, those with liver disease, those immune suppressed, those with disabilities, those pregnant and breastfeeding
Out of love for your neighbor and our community, we are requiring masks to be worn in the building, including during worship
. The masks are there to keep us all healthy, and to allow us to continue meeting on a regular basis. Our position on mask wearing is driven by medical community recommendations, not solely by the governor’s mandate. If you don’t have a mask, one will be provided to you.
We ask that you practice social distancing and maintain a distance of 6 feet from non-family groups.
- The nursery will not be staffed at this time and should not be used on Sunday mornings.
- Feel free to bring your own coffee/water to the service. Coffee and food will not be served at this time.
- Please bring your coats, purses, and other personal items with you into the worship center. We are asking that the coat room not be used at this time.
- The restrooms will be open. The restrooms will be cleaned after the conclusion of the services, but not between services. Be aware if this causes you any concern.
This is a constantly changing environment, so we will update you as modifications are necessary. Our goal is to provide a safe worship environment for all
, so our guidelines are balancing that need. We realize you may not agree with the positions taken, but we believe this is the only way that all of our members can attend services.
What will Sunday look like?
The look of worship may be different, but we continue to worship the same God. He is our focus, not what our worship looks like to others.
- All entrance and exit doors will be propped open to allow easier access. We are asking that you enter by the main doors on the upper level (two sets of double doors).
- By the entrance, there will be a table with masks and with hand sanitizer if you need them. There are also hand sanitizer stations available throughout the upper level.
- We ask that you remain on the upper level of the church building. At this time, the lower level doors will remain locked. Once in-person children’s programs start, we ask that only those with a reason to be in the lower level do so (dropping off, picking up children from the classroom).
- We are requiring masks or facial coverings to be worn throughout your time in the building.
- Communion practices will follow what we were doing at the outdoor service. You will receive the bread and the wine as you enter the worship center. We will take Communion as a congregation, at the indicated time. You may remove your facial covering to take Communion.
- Offering can be placed in the basket either as you enter or leave the worship center.
- The expectation is that masks will be worn during the service except as Communion is taken.
You may see the worship teams, pastors and scripture readers not wearing masks when in front of the congregation. For improved vocal clarity, that is a recognized mask-exception.
- At the conclusion of the service, please wait for the ushers to dismiss you, to maintain appropriate distancing as we leave.
- We encourage all social gathering to be done outside of the church to allow appropriate traffic flow for those leaving the sanctuary.
We appreciate your understanding on these difficult decisions. It is been a long time since we have seen each other (inside), so we are excited for this opportunity. Please pray for safety for our congregation and our community as we return inside (and beyond!).
Any questions or issues can be directed to an Executive Team member or Staff member.
Please pray for those affected by COVID-19.
Pray for those who are most vulnerable.
Pray for medical professionals who tend and care for them.
Pray for those who are affected by this health crisis economically.
Pray against a spirit of fear.
Pray for health and well-being for all of God’s people.