Worship Together in the Pandemic
On the first Christmas, Jesus came to a world full of darkness in an unexpected and unimaginable way.
This year, we know what it’s like to be in a world full of darkness, and we yearn for Christmas: for God to break into our lives with light and light and hope. That’s what we’ll be gathering to celebrate on Christmas Eve at Trinity Church with NIGHT PRAYER.
From 5-9pm on December 24, the church building will be open. Sign up ahead of time for an appointment, and come to the Sanctuary Entrance doors facing 6th St.
Each individual, household or bubble will be admitted individually into the decorated church for a time of prayer, enjoyment of instrumental Christmas music provided by organist Bev Wells.
In addition, those who wish to receive Holy Communion in the church may do so by watching a recorded online service on Youtube earlier in the day. Having watched the recording, come to the church at your appointment and indicate that you would like to receive the Sacrament and Fr. Dave will be happy to commune you, bless you, and pray with you briefly.
In accordance with our parish’s custom, hot cider will be served – but this year, in to-go cups so that you can enjoy it in your car.
This will be a profoundly weird way for us to gather: but nonetheless, I’m excited to see some of you in person on a most Holy Night.
Face coverings will be worn by all participants over 2 years of age, and social distancing will be maintained on the campus at all times, and participants will be asked to verify that they are not experiencing covid-like symptoms.
Trinity Church Baraboo is re-gathering for in-person worship as local virus activity permits. This re-gathering will require us to learn a new way of being together: learn more below.
Currently, virus activity in Sauk County is greater than our diocesan thresholds for meeting together in-person. We meet for Morning Prayer online on Zoom at 9:30am on Sundays. Email us at info [at] trinitybaraboo [dot] org for the link.
If you would like to attend a service, you must reserve your seat no later than 24 hours in advance. To comply with diocesan and county health department guidelines, service capacity limits will be strictly enforced. Reserve your seat here or by leaving a message for the church office at (608) 356-3620. Services become available for reservations two weeks before the service.
Parishioners who are over 60 years of age, who are pregnant, who are immuno-compromised, or who have other underlying health conditions are urged to speak to their healthcare provider about attending worship.
No one who is sick should attend worship. If you have had a cough, sore throat, nausea, diarrhea, recent loss of taste or smell, or other covid-19-like symptom within the last two weeks, or if you have been exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed covid-19 in the last two weeks, please do not attend worship.
The night before a service, a Service Host will call everyone who has reserved a seat for that service on the phone and ask them a series of health screening questions to ensure that they have not recently had covid-like symptoms. Service Hosts may also ask you these questions as you enter the service.
Precautions During the Service
We will be taking a number of unusual precautions to protect our older and at-risk members who may choose to attend service from covid-19. Each of these precautions limits the amount of time we are together or the amount of droplet/aerosol spread by the congregation. These include:
- Masks will be worn by everyone in attendance 3 years of age or older. Please bring your own mask from home; if you do not have one or forget to bring it, one will be provided for you.
- You will be escorted to your seat before the service, and escorted to the exit following the service to ensure that we stay at least 6′ apart.
- Seats will be at pre-marked locations more than 6′ apart, both indoors and outdoors.
- There will be no congregational singing.
- Services will be significantly shorter than normal (no more than 40 minutes).
- There will be no nursery care (children should be kept in pews or in open areas well away from congregation) or coffee hour.
- Fr. Dave will not be greeting people before or after the service – but is eager to have conversations with those who would like them (contact him for an appointment).
Newcomers, Visitors and Guests
Newcomers, visitors and guests are warmly welcomed to attend services during this time. We know that the uncertainty and stress of the pandemic has created spiritual needs for lots of people in our community, and we are a place for you to worship, to rest, to explore, and to discover what God is saying and doing during this time.
If you know you when you plan to attend, your reservation is greatly appreciated. If you drop by without making a reservation, we will do our best to accommodate you.
Where are you located?
The corner of 6th and Oak Streets, near the square in historic downtown Baraboo.
What happens during the service?
When you enter the sanctuary you will be handed the day’s bulletin which details each step of the service. The portions in bold indicate parts for members of the congregation to read aloud, and there are notes that indicate when standing or kneeling may be appropriate. Remember, nobody will mind if you don’t know when to stand, sit, sing or speak out loud. Everything is an invitation as you are able. Nothing is required.
What should I wear?
We do not have a dress code. You’ll see a wide variety of clothing choices in our church.
What does “liturgy” mean?
Worship in the Episcopal Church is said to be “liturgical,” meaning that the congregation follows service forms and prays from texts that don’t change greatly from week to week during a season of the year. This sameness from week to week gives worship a rhythm that becomes comforting and familiar to the worshipers.
For the first-time visitor, liturgy may be exhilarating… or confusing. Services may involve standing, sitting, kneeling, sung or spoken responses, and other participatory elements that may provide a challenge for the first-time visitor. However, liturgical worship can be compared with a dance: once you learn the steps, you come to appreciate the rhythm, and it becomes satisfying to dance, again and again, as the music changes.
The service of Holy Eucharist always has the same two major components: The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Table. Learn more about the liturgy here.
Where do my kids go?
Children are an important, valued, and welcomed part of our worshiping community. Please know that children of all ages are always welcome to worship with you in church.
There are coloring sheets that correlate to the week’s readings along with colors and other “busy bags” in the back of the sanctuary. Please help yourself or ask an usher for one. And please know that these resources are for the enjoyment and interest of the children in our midst, and are not meant to keep your child quiet. There is never an expectation that your children be silent or still in our service. We recognize that the sounds and movements of children in the church are a lovely indicator of God’s presence in a lively church.
Can I participate in communion?
All baptized Christians, regardless of age or denomination, are welcome to receive communion. Episcopalians invite all baptized people to receive, not because we take the Eucharist lightly, but because we take our baptism so seriously.
Visitors who are not baptized Christians are welcome to come forward during the Communion to receive a blessing. You can indicate this by crossing your arms across your chest as the priest approaches.
Can young children receive communion?
In the Episcopal Church, in keeping with the practices of the ancient church, the emphasis is placed upon Baptism. Once an individual is baptized they are viewed as full members of the Body of Christ with access to the sacraments. Learn more about young children in the church.
Do I have to give a donation?
No. The ushers will take up an offering during the service, but that is not a request for money. Our regular attendees see this act of giving back to God as worship. If you feel moved to donate, we thank you.