New: In-Person Worship!

Based on our Bishop moving our Conference to the Blue phase and the recommendations from our Re-Gathering Task Force, we will begin offering both in-person and livestreamed/virtual worship.  Worship time for our In-Person and livestreamed worship will move to 10:30 am starting the first Sunday in June.  Virtual services will continue to be available at any time through our YouTube channel or the link on our website. 
During the summer, we will continue to offer Outdoor Fellowship time following worship, weather permitting.  So, if you would like to stay and have a chance to catch up with your siblings in Christ, bring a lawn chair and we will gather under the shade of the trees in the lawn opposite the city library.

Bishop Bard of the Minnesota United Methodist Church has announced that the churches are now in the Blue Phase of regathering!  This is fantastic news for moving forward with creating opportunities for us to come together as the body of Christ.  Our Re-Gathering Task Force, following the Conference guidelines, has worked out the details that allow us to open the Church up for in-person worship and small group gatherings.
This is the news that we all have been anticipating!  Here is what you need to know.
Does this mean everything is “back to normal”?  Not quite, but we are definitely moving steadily and carefully in the direction of being fully open for the mission and ministry of the church.
When do we get to worship in person in the church?  This Sunday, June 6, we are resuming in-person worship while continuing to offer our virtual services that have been so appreciated.
What will worship look like?  And can we sing?  It will look a little different, and that’s ok.  Yes, we will be singing!  Which means we will require masks for everyone and we will also have to be socially distanced between family groups or the bubbles of friends that have been established.
But what if I’ve been fully vaccinated? Do I still have to wear a mask?  Yes, being masked and socially distanced allows Wesley to address concerns for those who may have health issues for themselves or those to whom they are close.  Mask wearing demonstrates love of ourselves and neighbors.  If you forget your mask, we will have masks available so that no one will feel excluded.
What about Communion?  Will it be offered during worship?  Yes, we will offer Communion during worship on the days when it would normally be offered.  Which includes our first Sunday back.  We will still be using individual cups, and your pastors and those who help serve will be vaccinated, gloved and masked.
What about childcare?  We will have nursery volunteers on stand-by if there are families who would like to take advantage of the nursery.  Because we know children cannot yet be vaccinated, adults providing childcare will be masked and care will be taken to disinfect toys that are being shared.
What about other groups in the church?  Groups may begin meeting in the church again, coordinated through the office.  Masks are encouraged but not required.  Social distancing is required.  We will have hand sanitizer, wipes and options for adequate air circulation available.
Does this all seem a little complicated?  After this past year and many months, we have all learned how to show flexibility and grace in order to accomplish what is important.  Gathering together, discovering who we now are after going through these difficult times, listening for God’s call to lead us into who we are becoming to be in ministry in Winona, that is very important indeed!  So, let us gather together, worship, and experience the movement of God’s Holy Spirit as we are born anew as the people called Methodist!

New: In-Person Watch Parties

What is a Watch Party?  It is a time to gather, as safely as possible, with other members of your church family in order to share in the experience of our virtual worship services. 
We will begin offering weekly Sunday Watch Parties on May 2, in the sanctuary, at 10:30 am.  Because we need to limit the number of people attending at one time, if you would like to participate in a Watch Party, you will need to reserve your spot each week by either calling the church office or clicking on this link.
In order to comply with CDC and our Bishop’s directives, we have established certain guidelines.  Access to the sanctuary will be available through the center doors 10 minutes before the service.  Immediately following the service you may exit through the side doors.  Sanitizer will be available.  You are required to wear a mask and are invited to hum but not sing.  There will be no food or drink, and family groups will need to sit socially distanced from other family groups (the sanctuary will be marked for safe seating). 
On Communion Sundays, which is our first Watch Party, you are invited to come forward in family groups following the service to receive the bread and cup prior to exiting the building.
Fellowship Time will be offered outside following the Watch Party, so if you would like to linger for some conversation and laughter, be sure to bring a lawn chair!

Virtual Palm Procession Tutorial

Do you remember how beautiful and meaningful it was to see each other’s faces during our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service? And how wonderful it was to be able to include family members from a distance who weren’t able to travel to be with us for the holiday? Well, we are going to do something similar for the Palm Processional on March 28.

Our Mission and Outreach team, with help from our Youth Leader, Becky Wisted, will be doing their best to deliver a special gift to each household the week of March 15. This gift will include a palm branch.

Here’s where you come in: you are invited to make a short video of yourself (you can have someone else film you) waving your palm branch back and forth! Include a video for every member of your family! Add any friends you want! This time, however, we want you to film in portrait mode, (that means up and down, not sideways) then send it to Tori via this Dropbox link no later than March 23 so that we can create a Palm Processional for our worship on Palm/Passion Sunday.