Letter to the Congregation | COVID Protocol for Christmas December 20, 2021

Dear faithful people and friends of Christ the King Church,

How shall we celebrate Christ’s birth this week? I’m sure that, like our Christ the King Church staff, you and your family are prayerfully pondering that question. While this decision must be a matter of personal responsibility for each of us, what follows in this letter is what we have determined about our communal worship life over these next two celebratory weeks.

First, we are going to maintain our previously announced in-person worship schedule:

  • Tuesday, December 21, 7:00 p.m. Longest Night Service
  • Friday, December 24, Christmas Eve
    4:00 p.m. German Lessons and Carols Service*
    6:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Holy Communion*
    10:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Holy Communion*
  • Saturday, December 25, 11:00 a.m. Christmas Day Holy Communion*
  • Sunday, December 26, 11:00 a.m. Holy Communion, First Sunday after Christmas*
  • Sunday, January 2, 11:00 a.m. Holy Communion, Second Sunday after Christmas*

At each of these seven services, we will have the opportunity to sing carols together. At five of these, we will have the opportunity to receive the body and blood of Christ. Six, marked with an asterisk*, will be live streamed.

Second, for everyone’s health safety, we will be following and enforcing these protocols:

We require that masks covering mouth and nose be worn inside the church building at all times and encourage mask-wearing in the courtyard.

We require social distancing, which means

  1. We will limit in-person attendance in the Nave to 120.
  2. We will provide overflow space and livestreaming for 50 persons in the parish hall.
  3. We will refrain from kneeling except when receiving holy communion at the altar rail.
  4. We will keep the number in the choir to ten at each service.

We hope this will adequately balance our communal need for in-person worship with our communal concern for the health and safety of all who worship with us in these holy and festive days.

Please consider your own health concerns and the situations of those who need you to be with them over these festive days.

  • If you intend to be with family and friends who are most vulnerable – the very old and very young, friends or family in healthcare facilities, essential workers, and the unvaccinated – please consider limiting your in-person worship participation.
  • If you are concerned, as we are, about large crowds, including visitors, at our services, please consider limiting yourself and your family to one of the worship opportunities above. Christmas Day, for instance, is a wonderful opportunity to experience all we love at Christmas and is usually under-attended. Christmas will be celebrated in Word, Sacrament and festive song at every service listed above.

One thing has been true over the past 21 months: As you have made your own wise decisions about in-person participation and we have carefully balanced our need for in-person worship with our care for

the most vulnerable among us, to the best of our knowledge, no one has tested positive for or contracted Covid as a result of gatherings at Christ the King Lutheran Church.

God grant us all continued wisdom and patience as, both personally and as a loving and caring community of faithful people, we navigate these ever-changing days and look eagerly forward to the time when Covid will be a memory, not a daily reality.

Peace and Joy — and Courage!

Amandus J. Derr
Interim Senior Pastor