Bethel will open its doors again on Sunday, June 7, in modified form

Dear Bethel Church,

After a prolonged season of prayer and discussion, the session has decided to reopen Bethel’s doors for morning worship, on Sunday, June 7. This was and is a complex issue, but ultimately, we decided to move forward for the sake of our spiritual and mental well-being.

That being said, our morning worship will look much different than it has in the past. Perhaps the biggest change is that our 10:45 a.m. service will now be divided into two, to allow for greater “social distancing.” The first service will be at 9 a.m. and the second at 11 a.m. If you plan to come, please email bethel.reformedpresbyterian@gmail.com with your intended service time, so that we can ensure our attendance does not exceed 50 in either service.

We want to take additional steps to ensure our joint safety, as well. Toward that end, please be aware of the following:

1. Seating will be every other row, and families are asked to sit together. Ushers may be involved to help facilitate an orderly process.

2. The 9 a.m. service will have responsive readings, in place of hymns. Thus, the early service is intended for those who are higher risk and/or want to exercise greater caution. The second service will still include hymns.

3. Responsive readings and hymns will be included as bulletin inserts, while Bibles and hymnals will be removed from the pews.

4. Offering plates will be left near the doors, rather than passed.

5. Finally, to help reduce the spread of germs, doors will be kept open, toys will be removed from the nursery, and Pastor Alex will avoid handshaking.

In addition, we ask that you consider taking the following measures:

1. If you are sick or have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 -- or if you simply feel uncomfortable assembling with a large group of people -- please do not come to church. We do not want anyone to feel pressured to attend, and sermons will continue to be posted online for those who decide to stay home.

2. If you are able, please wear a mask. While we will not bind anyone’s conscience on the matter, we ask that you give it serious consideration, in deference to those who are vulnerable. A limited supply of re-wearable masks will be made available in the narthex, for those who don’t already have one.

3. When you exit the service, please take your bulletin with you; and, to avoid congestion in the narthex, use alternative exits.

4. Fellowship outside, around the pavilion, while maintaining a distance.

5. Practice good hygiene: cough/sneeze into your inner elbow, wash your hands thoroughly, etc.

As you can see, our return to corporate worship will not be a return to “business as usual.” But, it is a start -- and for that, we can be thankful. In the meantime, please pray for the Lord’s blessing and protection during this transition; and feel free to contact any of the elders, should you need clarification.

In Christ’s service,

Pastor Alex



1100 N. Market St.
Sparta, IL 62286