RE-OPENING PLAN

CLICK HERE to RSVP for Saturday 5:30PM Worship Service


CLICK HERE to RSVP for Sunday 10:00AM Worship Service


CLICK HERE to RSVP for Sunday 5:30PM Worship Service



Dear Trinity Family,


These past several months have not been easy as we have adjusted to life with COVID-19.  As a congregation, we have cooperated with the state in helping to keep people safe and to prevent a spike in hospitalizations that would overwhelm the healthcare system. Despite our physical separation from one another, we are confident of our spiritual communion. Nevertheless, we look forward to the day when we will be able to worship together again and to receive the Sacraments.


On May 4th, new health directives came into effect regarding how churches may operate during this time of caution. Keep in mind that every congregation is different and faces its own unique challenges as we prepare to welcome you back under the new guidelines. This “new normal” is not what we are used to. 


We plan to resume services on June 6 & 7. In order to do this in the most responsible way, we need everyone's cooperation. Please be aware of the following policies and procedures that will govern our communal worship for the time being.


CONSIDERATIONS

Despite the resumption of services, there is no obligation to attend if you do not feel comfortable. We also encourage the following people should remain at home for the time being:

  • The elderly
  • Family members who live with elderly people or those who are at risk
  • Those with underlying medical conditions
  • Those who have upper respiratory or flu-like symptoms
  • Those who live with someone with upper respiratory or flu-like symptoms
  • Those with COVID-19 or live with someone with COVID-19 who have not been quarantined for 14 days.
  • Those who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and have not quarantined for 14 days.
  • Those who have been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for results

WEEKEND WORSHIP

Weekend worship will resume at Trinity on Saturday, June 6 according to this schedule: 

Saturday at 5:30 pm

Sunday at 10:00 am

Sunday at 5:30 pm. 


Depending on attendance, this schedule may be adjusted as we go forward. All three services will be identically styled. One pastor will lead the entire service each weekend. We will utilize projection for the services and will not print bulletins or children’s bulletins. Hymnals and Bibles have been removed from the pews. There will not be Sunday classes for adults, children, and youth. Nursery care will be suspended until further notice.


ONLINE SERVICE SCHEDULE

We will continue offering services online. We will livestream and record the Sunday 5:30 p.m. worship service. As soon as it is edited, it will be posted online for on demand viewing. You can access these services at our website (www.trinityalive.org), YouTube (www.youtube.com/channel/UCod-uYRrnlukmV_IfOOdFeA), or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TrinityColumbusLCMC). 


REGISTERING FOR SERVICES

As indicated in our congregational survey, many responded they would be fine with signing up for services. We will have a process to sign up for the service you prefer on our website or by calling the church office at 402-564-8547. Should we reach our maximum capacity (160) with registrations, we will communicate that a different worship service option will need to be considered. 


In the event that you did not sign up, walk-in’s will be welcome, provided we are not at maximum capacity. However, if we do reach capacity, we will ask you to return to your vehicle and join us in worship through the radio broadcast. This is a learning curve and we are working to best accommodate as many as we can.


FACE MASKS IN CHURCH

Everyone over the age of eight will be required to wear a facial mask or covering in the church building for services. This allows us to sing, profess our faith, and pray together. If you do not have a face mask, you will not be allowed to attend. We do have some additional masks available at the church office. Please let us know if we can help you acquire one. Remember, services are a privilege, not a right. This is not only for your safety, but for the safety of everyone.


SOCIAL DISTANCING AT SERVICES

The church building will be open 30 minutes before service. Please arrive no later than five minutes before the start of service to limit disruptions. Upon arrival, the doors will be open so as to limit touching door handles.


Because of strict seating restrictions, all attendees will be seated by ushers as they arrive: from the front of the sanctuary to the back. Attendees will not get to choose where they sit. Please indicate to ushers to seat you on the side of the building you parked as to guide and limit traffic flow. All attendees must be in their seat before services begin. No one will be admitted to the building after the service has begun. We admit this will require patience. Remember, all directives are put in place for the safety of everyone. 


OFFERTORY PROCEDURES

There will not be a regular collection. Instead, upon arriving or leaving the service, please drop your offering in the collection basket in the narthex area. Our ushers will watch and ensure that offerings are immediately placed in our locked drop-box following the service. Likewise, more than ever, we encourage you to make your offering online or via electronic bank-to-bank transfer. Call the office at 401-564-8547 if you would like more information. 


END OF SERVICES

At the end of service, ushers will dismiss people by pews (much like at a wedding). Please wait for the usher to dismiss each pew. Please do not leave early. Exit your pew towards the outside aisles. Please go straight to your car. Communal gathering in the narthex is not permitted at this time. Again, this will take patience. Remember, all directives are put in place for the safety of everyone. 


DISINFECTING AFTER SERVICES

After each service, a cleaning crew will wipe down all door handles, pews and surfaces with disinfectant. 


RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION

Holy Communion will be distributed once a month, using the prepackaged materials as we have been the past two months.  Those with wheat allergies should contact the church office at 402-564-8547 to make special arrangements. 


Anyone homebound who would like to receive communion should contact the church office for delivery of elements. 


RESTROOM FACILITIES

Our main bathrooms are also being renovated! This is exciting, but because of ongoing construction, our bathroom facilities are limited to the two on the north wing. We ask, as best you can, to limit use of these facilities. Please continue to use your face covering in the facility and remember to maintain proper hand hygiene.


PORTALS OF PRAYER

Portals of Prayer are being housed in our main offices.  If you would like a copy, please call the church office to receive one. 


EVENTS CANCELLED

With the exception of services, all other events, meetings, and gatherings at the building have been cancelled until further notice.


I realize this is a lot to digest. Thank you for your patience as we adjust to this "new normal". As things change, we will continue to communicate to you via our website, Facebook, postal mail, word of mouth, and during weekend worship. 


Thank you for helping us in this time. Thank you for your patience as we look forward to the day when we can once again give our God thanks and praise without so many procedures.


Many blessings to you and your family,


P. Brandon

UPDATE FROM PASTOR BRANDON

Hello Trinity Family,

Pastor Brandon here! I wanted to share with you some reasons behind the decision to remain closed and continue online/radio broadcast worship until June. 

This was not an easy decision to come to but in conversation with the council, we felt this was the best move for the time being. I want you all to know that we miss you all too and are ready for some semblance of the regular we knew. However, we also know that our space is for community interaction. COVID-19 is a strand of Coronavirus that’s never been seen before, and since cases are increasing through community interaction, we wanted to ensure your health was of greatest priority. We feel this is the best decision at this time.

The biggest factors that playing into this decision had to do with seating capacity, time in between services to clean and disinfect, and limits Governor Ricketts did put on age of worshippers. For us to adhere to guidelines, we would only be able to seat a maximum of 160 people per service to continue distancing. We also are not welcomed to congregate before or after services; therefore, we could come and then immediately leave. Should we have more than that come to service, we would have to turn people away. We didn’t want to be in a position to tell people they could not come to church.

Along with this, guidelines require us to clean and sanitize all pews before and after services. In order to effectively clean all surfaces, we have to follow label instructions. Many require that surfaces remain wet for a period of time to effectively kill all germs. We estimate this would take around 3 hours to do, causing about 4 hours between services to safely welcome people into our spaces. What we also know about this virus is that it can be carried without someone showing symptoms, and one can inadvertently expose others. The CDC also notes that it is not determined how long in COVID-19 can remain in the air after exposure. To accomplish this, we would have to stagger our services, and not have them at our normal times. We also considered the exposure risk that puts on our custodians.

The last consideration has to do with age limits. In Governor Ricketts press conference, he stated that anyone over 65 years of age should continue to confine themselves at home until June 1. He stressed how high-risk anyone in this category is. We felt that to open our building with these directives would require us to turn away anyone who was in that age range. Again, we did not want to tell people they could not come to church. Also, we do have one pastor over 65, and another very close.

We also considered the benefit of having in person services when we would not be able to sing or use hymnals, nor open the Bible, nor say confessions and creeds together, or pass anything between each other since this is also prohibited. We would also need to require the use of masks. To have worship services with so few elements felt even more difficult to do. We do feel we have a little advantage right now in using our digital platforms to include elements we would not be able to do.

Again, this was not easy to come to this decision. I feel so much for you all that are tired of being cooped up and I want us to be together. I know this is taking a toll on the mental health of many, but I also know we need to be safe.

We are continuing to keep abreast of the situation and are continuing the conversation. We sincerely hope that we can safely start a form of worship services in June.

We miss you all dearly and are praying for you.

God’s blessings to you today,


Pastor Brandon


As always, the message will be on YouTube (search Trinity Lutheran Church Columbus, NE) and airing on KTLX 91.3 FM.

We are being guided by East Central Health District in how to proceed. The church office will be closed to the public, with no small groups, Wednesday night events or weekend Education events until further notice. We will be in communication with the congregation as the situation changes. Announcements will be made via Facebook, Radio station KTLX and Mycentralnebraska.com

Please share with any and all our Trinity Lutheran Faith Family.

If you have questions please email Hillary Rasmussen at hrasmussen@trinityalive.org

We appreciate all your patience as we navigate through this very difficult time for our community.


ONLINE CLASS FOR PARENTS


Join us Sunday's 9:30 am as we discover and discuss the uniqueness of the phase our kids are in, and the pivotal question that defines it. Let's talk about tangible ways that we as parents can positively influence the lives of our children simply by better understanding what is important to our children based on the phase they are in currently.

Watch the discussion video at this link:  https://drive.google.com/…/1sSGu_JGl0AbwQ4Doi-3DRTZAj…/view…

Join our Sunday morning class, via zoom, at the following link: https://zoom.us/j/6820875239