Think. Serve. Worship. Belong.
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COVID-19 Plan Adopted by Session

By Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch

COVID-19 Plan Adopted by Session

At its called meeting June 8th, the Session adopted a COVID-19 plan that lays out the way that St. Stephen is continuing to provide services now, and how those services will become more open to the public in the future. You will hear more about the plan next week, when it will also be posted to the website. The plan is comprehensive. Rather than lay out a timeline for a return to public worship in the sanctuary, it sets the conditions under which that will happen. It is a phased plan based on a steady decline in the rate of infection in Tarrant County. When the County has shown a steady rate of decline for two weeks or more, and if certain other conditions are met, we will return to public sanctuary worship. Even then, it won’t be as we’re used to it. There will be limited seating, masking and social distancing, and there will be no congregational singing, since singing has proven to spread the virus quite a bit more than talking. But other aspects of worship will remain the same. There will be music and even some choral and solo singing, liturgy and sermon. Communion will likely be taken using individualized communion packets. Childcare will be limited and we strongly discourage those who are over 65 or have underlying conditions to wait until a later date or check with their families and doctor before coming to public worship. Because of that, we will continue to have video worship throughout the entire period of the pandemic.

Since at this time we are in a situation of substantial infection in Tarrant County, for now we will not have indoor public worship. Weddings and funerals may take place indoors with up to twenty people, and there are also outdoor options. Likewise, the staff is looking at options for public worship and other events outside on the lawn. We will let you know more as plans are finalized.

I’m sure you’re already aware of the many ways we are continuing our witness and ministry at St. Stephen. Every Sunday we post video worship on Facebook and on the webpage, Session, adult Sunday school classes, Bible Study and committee meetings are taking place via Zoom. Thursday morning prayers continue to be posted on Facebook. Beth has made all sorts of arrangements for youth and children’s activities, including an at-home Youth mission “trip” assisting various agencies in town doing outreach to people in need. The Mission Committee has created new outreach to the Presbyterian Night Shelter and the Center for Transforming Lives, while also continuing to provide meals for Samaritan House and support to the South Central Alliance of Churches. Our Deacons continue to reach out to people in need in our church family.

Thank you for your love, patience, prayers and support!



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