Get Ready for In-Person Worship!
We’re so excited that we’ll soon again be able to offer two fabulous options to worship with Middle! Beginning October 10, we will host in-person celebrations in our temporary home at Calvary ~ St. George’s in addition to the virtual celebration at middlechurch.org, Facebook or Youtube. Together, we will embody God’s fierce love that wraps from the East Village, NYC to the more than 40 states and 20 countries that Middle members call home!
Our worship team is hard at work imagining new technologies and liturgies that will deepen the bonds that connect us. We know it won’t be perfect right away, and thank you for your grace as we all learn together. However, we are deeply committed to worship that fully reflects the breadth and beauty of God’s love. Stay tuned for announcements about other Sunday programming, but all current small groups that meet online will continue to meet virtually. There may be opportunities for hybrid programming in the future.
We also know that we are all in different places about whether attending in-person gatherings feels safe and right. If you’re in New York City, and don’t yet feel comfortable joining in person, that’s okay! Do what feels safe to you and worship at home: virtual community is for everyone. And if you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, we also invite you to join us online. To live in a community awash in just love, we’re restricting in-person attendance to vaccinated and masked people (except for children under 12). And we’re so glad we have beautiful virtual spaces where you can worship beside us!
*Important Note:* In accordance with New York City guidelines, on Sunday, January 16, we will require proof of vaccination for children 5-11 (in addition to everyone else). That means children older than 4 must receive their second shot by January 2nd in order to attend in-person.
Frequently asked questions for those who plan to attend in person:
Do I need to register for worship?
No! But make sure to bring your ID and proof of vaccination.
Are children allowed in worship?
Yes! Children under 12 are welcome to join the celebration at their parent or guardian’s discretion. All children over the age of two will also be required to be masked the entire time.
Can I usher?
Yes! We are delighted to welcome new and returning ushers. Anyone who wants to volunteer is invited to join a virtual training on Tuesday, October 5 at 7:00 p.m. ET. In addition to trainings, volunteers are asked to register for online or in-person ushering. Please sign up below:
Does everyone need to wear a mask if we’re vaccinated?
Yes! Masks—ideally at least the 3-ply surgical grade masks—are required for everyone worshipping in-person. (For reference, Middle staff will all be wearing KN95s.) We’re all responsible for keeping one another safe, and masks are a crucial tool in that effort. Click here to see a full list of our COVID policies for in-person gatherings.
What COVID cleaning practices will Middle implement?
Our worship space at Calvary will be thoroughly cleaned between the previous service and our worship celebration. Hand sanitizer will be available upon entrance.
Will there be air filtration?
Yes, we hired a consultant to evaluate the space and have purchased their recommended purifiers that will run at all times before and during worship to improve ventilation and air quality. We are taking these steps to be safer, but it’s important to remember that no filtration system can guarantee complete elimination of viruses and particles. It is important to remember that in-person gatherings are come at your own risk. We understand that every individual will make the decisions best for them and their loved ones, and are here to support you whatever you decide.
Can we hug each other? What about the Passing of the Peace?
We ask that you begin by assuming people do not wish to be hugged, touched, or hold hands in prayer. If you would like to offer someone a hug or handshake, please ask them beforehand and respect their choice if they prefer to avoid personal contact.
Will we take communion in-person?
Communion will be given as you exit the space, and taken simultaneously with virtual congregants after worship ends. Communion liturgy and blessing will be offered during the worship celebration, but love requires that we consume the elements outside.
What about congregational singing?
We are still finalizing best practices, but you can expect that any congregational singing will be limited to minimize exposure. Expect lots of dancing, art, humming, and other creative communal expressions of love and joy.
Will there be a coffee hour?
There will not be a coffee hour because we can’t safely eat or drink indoors together. However, we encourage congregants to gather in nearby Madison Square Park, or join the virtual Chat and Chew.
What time should I arrive? When can I expect to leave?
Doors open at 11:30 a.m. ET for our 11:45 a.m. ET start. Worship will end at 12:30 p.m. ET.
What proof of vaccination do I need to bring?
Proof of Full Vaccination (2 Pfizer, 2 Moderna, or 1 Johnson & Johnson) and valid picture ID are required for anyone over the age of 11. A clear picture of both, or the Excelsior or NYC Safe apps, are acceptable.
Frequently asked questions for those who plan to worship virtually:
Will virtual programming continue?
Yes! This church is much bigger than just New York City, and we are committed to providing robust and loving community for all members. When possible, every program will include options for virtual participation, and our programmatic staff are hard at work planning ways to facilitate interaction between virtual and in-person congregants.
Will we be seen in worship?
We’re still figuring out new technical systems in our temporary space. We fully anticipate that we will find ways to let in-person and virtual congregants see and interact with one another in worship. We’re grateful for your patience as we figure out these new systems! If you’ve seen an idea that works well, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will we participate in worship?
Yes! Our worship team is currently planning ways to incorporate leadership from both in-person and virtual worshippers. If you would like to virtually lead part of a celebration, please email our digital minister Rev. Natalie Renee Perkins!