Lexington churches reopening as directed health guidelines are loosened

Trinity Lutheran Church has started holding in-person services and makes hand sanitizer and masks available to those who attend one of three services.

LEXINGTON — As June approached, many in the Lexington community hadn’t worshiped with their faith communities since late March. As restrictions on gathering were loosened, many have begun to meet again.

Pastor Tom Parker said the Berean Bible Church is open again and are following the directed health guidelines. This included removing their middle isle and having congregates only enter in through certain doors.

Family units have also been separated up to six feet. Parker said that some congregates wear masks and it is up to each member to decide. He said people have been respectful of the guidelines and follow them.

Calvary Assembly of God began holding in-person worship on Sunday, June 7, according to Pastor Rex Adams.

The church has gone to hosting two services, one at 9:00 a.m. and another at 10:30 a.m., Adams said their Spanish congregates also meet during these times in different rooms in the building.

Calvary Assembly is also doing its best to follow the directed health measures and have taken precautions such as propping doors open, taking out certain seats, handing out pre-packaged com-

munion, limiting the service to one hour and making sure there is six feet between each group of congregates.

Adams said after each service, the sanctuary is sanitized.

The church continues to stream its service live for those who still feel at risk and wish to watch from a distance. Youth groups still meet online only, as well, Adams said.

Lexington Christian Church also began meeting in-person again on June 7, Pastor Daniel Sauer said. Like the other churches they have also been closely following the health measures. The church has reduced its seating to half and created space between them.

Communion is pre-prepared and is handed out by stewards who wear masks and gloves, Sauer said.

The church is hosting only one service, but ramped up their live streaming while the church was closed and has continued to stream services as they reopened, said Sauer.

Pastor John Shields said Parkview Baptist Church started meeting around the start of June and has made sure to follow the health measures.

Shields said the church took input from the congregation about how they felt meeting in person again. The consensus was to start in-person worship back up.

To facilitate this, Shields said they made three services available to their congregation and asked them to RSVP, in order to keep the numbers in each service within guidelines.

Shields said those who do attend worship are asked to wear masks and sanitizer is provided at the doors.

Parkview’s plan is to stay flexible and to close or open services as needed if there is the need, Shields said, they plan to reassess as new health measures come out.

Due to their size, St. Peters in the Valley has been meeting throughout the pandemic, Reverend Kay Knudson said. During this time the congregation took it upon themselves to worship within the directed health guidelines.

Pastor Eddie Mariel said the First Presbyterian Church’s session, or church board, made the decision to begin meeting in person again. Mariel chose how they were to worship and met on June 14 outside on the church grounds.

This first meeting in-person was attended by 35 people, Mariel said, and it was live streamed as well, which was viewed by 11 people. Others watched once it was posted to YouTube.

Mariel asked the worshipers to wear masks and plan to keep meeting outdoors through June and even into July and August. He said they plan to change the service time to get out of the heat of a mid-summer morning.

Mariel said he knows people are anxious to move back inside and resume worship like normal, but he said he is hesitant to do so just yet, given the COVID-19 virus is still circulating throughout Dawson County and the community.

He said gathering outdoors was the best way to honor people’s desire to meet.

Trinity Lutheran also began holding in-person worship services at the starting of June, Pastor Rob Kuefner said.

The church traditionally holds three services during the week, but the schedule for these were modified. A Wednesday morning service is now being held for those who are most at risk for the virus, to give them a way to worship in a safer way, Kuefner said.

The other services are held on Saturday and Sunday, Kuefner said this allows for more time to clean and sanitize the area. A quick way Trinity Lutheran has come up with to tell which pews need to be cleaned, is to hand out slips of paper to congregates, who leave them in their seats after they leave.

Pews in Trinity’s sanctuary are closed off to allow for a six feet of distancing between each family or unit. Kuefner said the last service averaged about 90 people in attendance during the Sunday service. Masks and hand sanitizer are made available to everyone. Kuefner said at the moment the sanctuary and connecting room can hold up to 100 safely.

Communion has also been altered, with only one family unit coming to the front at a time. Stewards then serve pre-prepared items as each family takes a turn coming to the front and the leave down the side isles.

Trinity Lutheran has been recording their Saturday services and uploading them online. Kuefner has also been creating a 10 minute daily devotional for congregates, which is also posted online.

Kuefner said Trinity Lutheran plans to keep this set up in place through at least July and then reevaluate if they should return to their regular service schedule.

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