Survey for Onsite Worship

Survey to Begin On-Site Worship Services   Many of you are looking forward to starting our transition into on-site worship services again.  The first step in that process was the congregational survey that was sent to everyone via e-mail and for those we did not hear from via the postal service.   We sent out through Janine and the church office 108 surveys and 81 were returned. Of the 27 who did not respond we sent out 20 via the postal service with 7 determined to be not applicable to the survey because they have moved or are unable to attend worship for various reasons. These are the results of the 81 surveys that were returned and we are still waiting to hear from those who have been mailed the survey.   The survey had 4 parts.   The first part of the survey asked which response best describes your attitude toward returning to worship at St. Peters?   17.1% responded “I will return at the first opportunity” 32.9% responded “I will return but with some concerns and precautions” 30.5% responded “It may be quite a while before I return” 19.5% responded “Not sure”   The second part of the survey asked which precautions are you willing to make to encourage others to return to worship at St. Peter’s?   97.5 % responded “I will wear a face mask” 97.5% responded “I will stand and sit in places where I am asked” 96.2% responded “I will avoid shaking hands” 94.9% responded “I will avoid all physical contact”   All others responses were 50% or less.   The third part asked what precautions do you expect St. Peters to make?   85.7% responded “Avoid all physical contact” 79.2%  responded “Encourage social distancing in the sanctuary” 75.3% responded “Prop open all doors and openings” 72.7%  responded “Use a new method to distribute communion” 71.4% responded “Using a new method to receive an offering”   No other response was above 56%.   The third part asked “Are there signals that you would like to see before returning to worship?   No response was made by over 50% of the surveys returned.   As I look over these numbers and the responses to the survey questions there seems to be no real consensus.  There are slightly more (19.8% vs 17.3%) who are not sure if they will return to worship than those who would return at the first opportunity.  About one third will return with concerns and precautions and another one third that will not consider returning for some time.   There is a group made up of myself, Jim Grutkowski, Nancy Aeling, Charles Lauger and Janine Morrow who are considering the next step.  Talk with one of these members of the committee if you have an opinion you would like to share.  I am open to considering how we at St. Peter’s can make this happen in a safe and reasonable manner.   One church I have been made aware of at Bethlehem Lutheran in Encinitas has started on-site worship outdoors.  That seems to be the one area not asked by the survey.  I think it is very clear that outside gatherings are much safer than indoor gatherings.  At Bethlehem each worship participant is given a designated space.  They have designated 60 spaces and that can accommodate half the congregation so they are assigned a worship space every other Sunday.  Each worshiper is asked to bring their own chair, their own shade and their own communion supplies.   We do not have a big enough lawn at St. Peter’s but perhaps we could worship in one of the parking lots and park in the other.   A couple of the comments were telling.  One said “I am worried others will not follow protocols” and another commented “Lots of older folks in our congregation.  Will everyone wear masks?  I would frankly want masks to be a requirement.  Frankly, I like the YouTube and Zoom”.   These are hard times but there has been a lot to be thankful for.  The fellowship hour via Zoom has created a new sense of intimacy in the church.  The book study had 22 participants and that would have been harder via in person and was easier via Zoom.  I had a boy from my youth group 35 years ago who said he saw me on YouTube and wanted to thank me for his faith. He said he was active in a church and many from that youth group remain close and in touch. His reaching out to me was a blessing that I am thankful for!!  Please keep this process in your prayers!   Pastor Rick