In-Person Worship

We are worshiping in-person and online!

Update from FiFT (September 7):
With the arrival of September, the start of the new school year, and students arriving back on the campuses in our community, the summer of 2021 is coming to an end. While the summer was not we all hoped for in terms of the metrics related to COVID 19 and the fully vaccinated, with due caution and careful consideration we were able to return to in-person worship at 61 Nassau Street. Participation in the sanctuary and the statistics from the livestream indicate our average attendance was around 350. That includes folks joining from 6 nations and more than 25 states. Commitment to our worship life remains strong. Thanks be to God!
Informed by our experience of summer worship, trips, Vacation Bible School, and the Chancel Drama, we are now looking ahead to the fall and to an expanded version of our life together. The Forward in Faith Together team is working closely with all members of our church staff as we launch our program year of two worship services, Breaking Bread worship, church school, choirs, and youth ministry. Everyone is very excited to return to the routines of church life we know so well while continuing a commitment to virtual participation in worship and the committees of the church.
All of our plans, procedures and protocols are intended to keep everyone as safe as possible while being inclusive of those who cannot yet receive a vaccine. As we move through the fall, we can anticipate making adjustments based on our local Covid environment as well as with realities within our Nassau community. These adjustments could, therefore, be more expansive or more restrictive. Things could also remain status quo. To that end Forward in Faith Together will continue to meet regularly, monitor church life, work with the staff, report to the Session, and correspond with the congregation.
Please watch for more details to come in the next week. Information will be coming from Forward in Faith and from the various program areas. This week, we are pleased to share these important notes:
  • On September 12th, two services of worship will return at 9:15 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Only the 9:15 a.m. will be livestreamed. However, that service will be available on the website shortly after the service concludes. Therefore, a recorded livestream option is available at 11:00 a.m.
  • Church School and Adult Education also return on September 12th. All other programs are returning in the days after. Details are available in Nassau Generations.
  • All indoor activities at 61 Nassau Street require masking and distancing and will not include meals or refreshments.
  • The large tent used for Chancel drama will return to the parking lot with other tents put up around the building as possible to maximize outdoor activities: refreshments, meals, fellowship after worship, some church school classes and choral rehearsals, and staff meetings as weather permits.
As we move through the fall, we remain committed to an approach of thinking and discernment that is as specific and detailed as we are able to keep everyone safe. Throughout the last 18 months, staff and congregational leaders have shown an ability to assess and adapt in ways that, by the grace of God, have been successful in keeping church activity safe. The list itself testifies to the vibrancy and resilience of Nassau Presbyterian Church: in-person worship, Chancel Drama, VBS, bike trips, hikes, poetry walks, prayer walks, outdoor small groups, Loaves and Fishes. Lenten worship on the front plaza, and on and on.
Indeed, glory be to God. For “the people of Nassau Presbyterian Church celebrate and demonstrate God’s love through worship and service in Princeton and through our lives and work in the world” (Mission Statement). We have done that while physically distant from one another and with gratitude to God, we look to be together more in person in the weeks and months ahead.

In-Person Worship Covenant

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself”  Luke 10:27

“The people of Nassau Presbyterian Church celebrate and demonstrate God’s love through worship and service in Princeton and through our lives and work in the world”  Nassau Church Mission Statement

Central to our yearning to demonstrate God’s love and to love our neighbors is a concern for one another’s health and the commitment to keep one another safe. As we move forward in faith together and begin returning to the sanctuary for worship, we shall by God’s grace and in the power of the Holy Spirit, covenant with one another when we gather.

We will honor our collective goal glorifying Jesus Christ, loving each other and taking all steps we can to keep each other safe. To do that, we will

  • Refrain from attending worship in person if experiencing a cough, fever, or other COVID symptoms, or if we have had contact with a person with a COVID diagnosis or COVID symptoms
  • Listen to each member’s concerns and needs for safety and health and work for the full inclusion of all attending.
  • When we gather for worship in person, we will:
  • Wear masks and maintain physical distancing
  • Refrain from any physical contact, support those who request further distance, and help remind those who struggle to keep distance
  • Enjoy conversation and fellowship outside rather than linger in the sanctuary

With our participation in worship in person, we will support the theological conviction that our worship life represents the breadth of our faith community. To do that, we will

  • Welcome families with children who are not able to get a vaccine
  • Welcome others yet unvaccinated
  • Honor our community commitment to protocols in a way that allows ushers and staff to offer hospitality and direction rather than serve as rule or vaccination enforcers.

As we worship together in person we shall seek to be creative and safe regarding all liturgical elements of worship. To do that, we will

  • Allow family groups to be closer than physically distant
  • Limit all communal singing (for now)
  • Resist the urge to pass the peace or greet one another even with a fist or elbow bump
  • Continue to have some elements of worship pre-recorded to allow broad participation of leadership
  • Commit to all in-person worship leaders, including musicians, being vaccinated and be covid tested before worship.
  • Understand and support adaptations to liturgical practice that best enable our hybrid worship of in-person and livestream.

As in all aspects of our life together, we seek to glorify God and honor Jesus Christ in all that we do. Thanks be to God.

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