Greetings to the people of The Church of the Ascension! We are thrilled to announce our doors are reopening for public worship! Even though The Diocese of Mississippi is allowing churches across the state to gather again, there are some changes to know about as we try to keep everyone healthy and safe.
Ascension’s doors will open for public services every Sunday following all safety guidelines recommended by Bishop Seage and Governor Reeves.
The biggest change is moving to three services rather than two. The 8:00 a.m. service will be basically the same as before the pandemic; however, the congregation of the 10:30 a.m. service must be halved to meet social distancing guidelines.
If your last name begins with A-G, please attend the new service at 9:15 a.m. If your last name begins with H-Z, please attend the service at 10:30 a.m.
If you are scheduled to read or serve in any capacity, please come as scheduled, regardless of where your last name falls in the alphabet.
“I apologize if the above schedule is inconvenient for anyone,” Senior Warden Barbara Hammer said. “If you live in a household in which two adults have last names that fall in different segments of the alphabet, just choose the 9:15 or 10:30 service. Please, if you feel unwell, stay home. If you are not comfortable getting out yet, please stay home.”
Although the church has been airing prerecorded and edited services every Sunday and Wednesday through the time of virtual services, Ascension is moving towards a live broadcast every Sunday to continue reaching people who are not comfortable with returning to physical worship yet. The live stream can be found on the church’s Facebook page by searching for Ascension – Hattiesburg. Several parishioners have donated better equipment, such as high definition cameras, microphones, a laptop, and other hardware and software, to help make the broadcast a better quality.
Other important points to remember before attending a public service include:
- Take your mask if you have one. There are a few available just inside the front door.
- Disposable bulletins will be used instead of Books of Common Prayer, hymnals, etc.
- Social distancing of at least six feet except for members of the same household
- No handshaking, hugging, or other contact during The Peace
- Hand sanitizer will be available
- An offering station will be available instead of passing the plates
- Communion of one kind will be served at a station rather than kneeling at the alter
- No Sunday school, Biscuits & Bibles, or Coffee Hour currently
- High traffic and common areas will be sanitized