UPDATE: Thursday, June 10, 2021
As cases continue to decline and restrictions are lifted in many contexts in Minnesota, St. John’s will also begin to lift some of our restrictions. Because children under age 12 cannot yet be immunized, we do not believe it is wise to suspend the mask wearing requirement for indoor worship at this time. Here is what to expect over the next several Sundays:
As children aged 5-12 are anticipated to be immunized toward the end of the summer, our remaining restrictions will probably ease at that time. As always, since this pandemic has been a time of constant and rapid change, please continue to check the weekly e-news for the most current information.
UPDATE: Thursday, May 20, 2021
Recently the CDC, the Governor of Minnesota and our own Bishop Craig Loya have provided updated guidelines about COVID safety precautions, some of which have been relaxed or eliminated. Because Hennepin County positivity rates are now below 5%, and because vaccination rates are steadily climbing, we will begin our beautiful indoor worship including music and Eucharist every Sunday at 10:00am, starting May 30! (This coming Sunday May 23, we celebrate Pentecost outdoors at Beard’s Plaisance). We will also livestream these services so that you can access them remotely.
Because things remain very fluid, St. John’s leadership has decided not to select predetermined dates for our staged re-entry. Rather, we will update you on a month-by-month basis about what the following month’s COVID protocols will look like. This communication will always be in the Thursday e-News falling 1-2 weeks before the first of each month, and it will also be on the COVID page on our website.
Here is what you need to know about the indoor services in May-June (May 30, June 6, 13, and 27; June 20 is an outdoor service at Beard’s Plaisance):
As with all aspects of our lives right now, we are in transition, so you can expect some trial and error as we see what works. We have been so grateful to continue to journey together in life and faith, and can’t wait to see you in person in our beautiful sanctuary.
UPDATE: Thursday, May 13, 2021
Because positivity rates remain at 5% in Hennepin County and several surrounding counties, we will not have indoor worship on May 16. Given that rates have steadily been declining, however, we hope to be able to begin limited, socially-distanced indoor services on Sunday, May 30.This plan is not yet confirmed, but we will let you know in next Thursday’s e-news either way. Please plan to RSVP to any indoor service you attend in order to ensure we do not exceed the number of people that can safely be in our sanctuary at this time.
UPDATE: Thursday, May 6, 2021
Because positivity rates remain above 5% in Hennepin and neighboring counties, we unfortunately must postpone our plans to have indoor worship until further notice. Please check the e-news each week for updates about when our plans can resume.
UPDATE: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Because Hennepin County positivity rates remain at 7%, and up to 11% in neighboring counties, we unfortunately must postpone our plans and will not have indoor worship beginning on May 2 and until further notice. Please check the e-news each week for updates about when our plans can resume.
UPDATE: Wednesday, April 14, 2021
As you may have seen, COVID cases in Hennepin County and throughout Minnesota have been rising sharply despite the huge numbers of people getting vaccinated. Currently, the 14-day positivity rate in Hennepin County is 7%. Unless these numbers go down, we will be forced to delay our current plans to resume limited indoor services for those 65 years old and older on May 2. However, because we believe we can minimize risk during outdoor services, we will still plan to have our outdoor services at Beard’s Plaisance this Sunday, April 18, as well as May 23 and June 20 regardless of what happens with our indoor worship plans.
We will be monitoring the positivity rate closely and will make a final decision about the May 2 indoor worship date and communicate that decision in next week’s e-news, on Thursday, April 22.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these unprecedented times. We are seeking to provide indoor services as soon as we safely can. Meanwhile, we will continue to provide virtual options for worship every week until this pandemic is well and truly over. Please continue to pray for the St. John’s community and our nation throughout this time.
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Dear people of St John’s,
With the Governor’s most recent guidance on “turning the dial” to loosen some COVID restrictions, and the fact that both Minnesota and Hennepin County have trended below 5% positivity rate for COVID, we are now able to envision more ways to gather together in person in our beautiful sanctuary! These changes build on the information we shared in early March and follow the required “return to church safety plan” approved by the Episcopal Church of Minnesota.
More details will be shared as dates get closer – but, God willing, here’s what we have planned. All events will follow safety protocols, including masks and social distancing:
Upcoming in-person outdoor services of Holy Eucharist at Beard’s Plaisance:
The in-person indoor events will also require advance registration and be limited to approximately 40 people:
Upcoming in-person indoor offerings at church:
What we will continue:
What else will change:
Important: Volunteers needed
We’re so excited to be able to start transitioning back to in-person services! And, this moment of transition and return will require many hands on deck to ensure we can come back together safely. In particular, there are five roles we need additional volunteers to help fill: 1) Altar Guild, 2) Ushers, 3) Greeters, 4) Cleaners between services, 5) Technology/Filming support. Each of these are critically important jobs in the life of the church and we particularly need new people to join us as we move back into the building and offer some online and outdoor options. If you are interested in volunteering (or just learning more) about these roles, please reach out to the people listed below. Thank you for considering being part of these ministries!
What else is coming?
While no one has a crystal ball, our hope and prayer is that we can return to full in-person worship in August or September. This will depend on current vaccination and COVID rates, and ECMN, MN Dept Health, and CDC guidelines. We will continue to monitor Hennepin County 7-day COVID positivity rates. If they again approach or exceed 5%, we will have to go back to our former online-only worship, though we have every hope that this will not happen as more people are vaccinated.
We also plan to lead the congregation through reflection about what we have learned during this pandemic and how that impacts or changes our future worship and way of being church. If you would be willing to be part of the team that engages this deeper discernment, please email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please share any comments, concerns or questions with me, as our staff prepares to once again open our red doors! I am delighted, and deeply moved, to even imagine seeing your lovely faces again, to break bread together, to pray and see one another in person. I can’t wait!
Faithfully, in Christ’s love,
The Rev. Lisa Wiens Heinsohn, Rector
St. John’s Episcopal Church