Dear church,

Back in March, as our communities became more aware of the importance of limiting physical contact for the sake of our society’s most vulnerable, our church quickly moved to Zoom for our worship services. I know that worshiping on Zoom has its limits and frustrations, so I want to express my deepest gratitude for your flexibility and your willingness to stick it out Sunday after Sunday. On Zoom, it’s been encouraging to see people’s faces, to welcome new people to Boulevard, and to keep up our weekly practice of prayer, confession, hearing God’s Word, and singing praise together. As a church, we’ve found creative ways to serve safely through delivering groceries and meals, working in community gardens, making masks, writing letters to seniors, giving of our mercy fund, praying for racial justice, and doing community clean ups. Book discussions, Bible studies, prayer, planning, and counseling meetings have continued to happen virtually. Thank you also for continued faithful financial giving during these months. In so many ways, Boulevard has continued to be the church during these unusual and challenging months – something we ought to give God thanks for.

During the past couple of months our Reopening Team has been working through how we should reopen. I’m so grateful to our team of health care experts, staff, and other representatives from the congregation for their care, wisdom, and patience in this work. At the end of June, as we entered Phase 4, we started supplementing our Zoom worship services with in-person outdoor communion services. Now, starting Sunday, Aug 2, we are planning to shift our Sunday morning worship to hybrid outdoor/virtual worship services.

I imagine that for some of you it feels like we are moving too quickly and that for others of you it feels like we are moving too slowly. We want to take seriously both physical health and spiritual, social, and psychological health, which makes decisions like these complex. We also want to make it possible for everyone to connect in worship and other ways, regardless of if you decide to be a part of in-person gatherings. The fact that different ones of us would think differently about this is something I see as a strength of our congregation. I pray that amidst our differences, we as a congregation would always be “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4.2-3)

Starting Aug 2, we will offer two in-person services on Sundays:

  • 8:45am (masks required throughout)

  • 10am (masks required at entry/exit and whenever social distancing is a challenge)

Many thanks to the Scholtens, who have graciously offered to host us in their yard! Each service will last around 35 min, and we will provide Zoom access to the 10am service. If you wish to attend an in-person service, you will need to sign up for it in advance. Attendance will be limited to 50 people at each service. Similarly to how we’ve done the communion services, cones will be spaced around 15’ from each other to indicate where households should sit. We will share more details and the link for signing up as we get closer to Aug 2.

At this point we are not yet planning any separate in-person nursery or children’s worship. We will evaluate that as we get closer to the opening of the school year. At that time, the Reopening Team will be reaching out for input regarding what our best course of action is as the weather starts to turn.

If you have any questions, concerns, or creative ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Pastor Jeff