Reopening Information

During the week of July 5th, a church staff member came in contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. Out of an abundance of care for those who call Trinity home and for our community, we cancelled all in person worship services for the weekend of July 12th.

Since July 12th the staff member tested negative for COVID-19 and self-quarantining under guidance from the Lincoln County Health Department. After continued thorough cleaning and sanitizing efforts the church building reopened for in person worship on Sunday July 19th.

In response to the executive order from Gov. Evers on July 30th, (https://bit.ly/wimask) we will be requiring the continuous use of face masks while inside the buildings on Trinity’s campus. 

This will be effective starting Saturday, August 1, and in place for worship starting Sunday, August 2.  In step with this executive order, children between the ages of 2 and 5 are encouraged but not required to wear a mask. Children under the age of 2 are not encouraged to wear a mask.

Join us on Facebook or in the building for worship at 8:00 AM CST and 10:30 AM CST for worship and on 96.3 FM and 730 AM at 10:30 AM.

If you are joining us in the building for worship please make sure to review the information found below concerning specific policies and best practices for attending.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Pastor G and Pastor Adam directly.

Your leaders have been working on plans to reopen our sanctuary for public worship. Our primary objective for opening our church is that God be glorified. Part of this includes not only providing a safe environment for all who worship in our building, but with current constraints, also ensuring a positive experience. At the same time, we will work to continue promoting a positive experience for those worshiping with us online.

Our Guiding Principles in this process:

  • The safety of those people who worship at Trinity
  • Holy wisdom on fellowship and gatherings
  • The church’s public witness
  • The love for our community
  • The prayerful wisdom of faith leaders
  • The particular needs and circumstances of Trinity Lutheran Church
  • The latest recommendations/orders form the CDC and our federal, state, and local government

Pending any new developments from the COVID-19 Virus, these times will be the new worship times for the summer months and into fall. 

Sundays

8:00am

  • Traditional Worship on campus
  • Traditional Worship live streamed on Facebook

10:30am

  • Contemporary Worship on campus
  • Contemporary Worship live streamed on Facebook
  • Traditional Worship broadcasted on the radio at 96.3 FM and 730 AM

The Sacrament is celebrated the second and fourth weekend of every month in our building. For those who are only able to worship online, we will offer the Sacrament via Zoom on the second weekend of every month. The next opportunities for Zoom distribution are September 13 and October 11 at 9:30 AM CST. Zoom distribution is open to Trinity members and requires online registration in advance.

All other on-campus ministries and meetings (Sunday School, Bible studies, choirs, Trinity Café, Board meetings…etc.) will remain suspended for now. Digital resources for children, students, families, and Bible studies are all available here on our website.

Join us online for Bible study every Wednesday night on Zoom. Pastor Scott Gustafson and Pastor Adam Rodriguez are co-leading a study on the book of Exodus. Bible study starts at 8:00pm CST.

The church office will return to its former operating hours for staff. Outside of the two Sunday worshipping times and our Open Hearts Food Pantry, the church building will continue to be closed day-to-day.

Anyone who is wishing to speak to someone at the office is encouraged to call ahead: 715-536-5482. Staff will be in the office M-F from 8:00am-4:00pm.

We do want to visit with you and be accessible to you as much as possible, so please do not hesitate to call about anything. As the church building will not be opened, we do encourage the use of social media and online resources for transacting the business of the church. This is only temporary, but at this time we are unable to determine how long this may be.

You probably know that a typical weekend requires lots of volunteers. We LOVE our volunteers! During these initial phases of our reopening, we will have a limited use of volunteers for worship, tech, and hospitality. This includes the temporary suspension of students serving as acolytes among other things. If you’re wondering about your volunteer role, please contact the church office: 715-536-5482

Frequently Asked Questions

Click any of the questions below to find answers about what to expect as we move forward with reopening.

What general building wide safety and cleaning measures will be taken?

  • Signage will be placed on entrance doors asking anyone with fever or flu-like symptoms not to enter the church building
  • We encourage social distancing of a minimum of 6 feet between people not living in the same household while on our campus
  • Frequently touched surfaces in the church (pews/pew tops, door handles, microphones, etc.) will be cleaned and sanitized per CDC recommendations after every service
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at all entrances
  • Restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized between church services.
  • Before reopening on June 21st we will be deep cleaning the entire church 

Will face masks be required?

In response to the executive order from Gov. Evers, (https://bit.ly/wimask) we will be requiring the continuous use of face masks while inside the buildings on Trinity’s campus. 😷

This will be effective starting Saturday, August 1, and in place for worship this Sunday, August 2. ⛪️ In step with this executive order, children between the ages of 2 and 5 are encouraged but not required to wear a mask. Children under the age of 2 are not encouraged to wear a mask. 👶

If you do not have a mask, we will provide a mask for you. If you do not feel comfortable with in-person worship, we are still committed to providing an excellent online worship experience Sundays at 8AM and 10:30AM CST on Facebook.

Whenever possible, our volunteers and staff will also be wearing masks. All staff and volunteers assisting with seating procedures and other hospitality needs will be wearings masks and adhering to the CDC’s recommended safety protocols.

What will be different during worship in the sanctuary?

Our primary objective for opening our church is that God be glorified. Part of this includes not only providing a safe environment for all who worship in our building, but with current constraints, also ensuring a positive experience.

Some aspects of our time together in the building worshipping will be altered to meet current social distancing recommendations and safety guidelines. This includes:

  • Paper bulletins will not be distributed. Electronic copies of the bulletin will continue to be available each week on our website for personal use: www.trinitymerrill.com/live.
  • We will use screens exclusively to guide our use of liturgy, prayers, songs…etc.
  • All hymnals, pencils, pieces of paper, pens, and fellowship pads will be taken out of the pews. We encourage everyone to record your worship attendance using our digital connect card found here: www.trinitymerrill.com/live
  • Children’s bags will not be available for use. You are welcome to bring your own items from home that you have found helpful for using with your family during church. 
  • To discourage physical contact during the service we will not be incorporating the passing of the peace.
  • The use of facemasks is encouraged for the sake of your neighbor.
  • Offering plates will not be passed person-to-person during the service. We encourage you to consider using Text to Give or setting up electronic giving. There will also be a places at church exits for people to drop envelopes or donations. Learning more about how to give electronically here: www.trinitymerrill.com/give

Where can I enter and exit the building?

Please be mindful of physical distancing when in the parking lot. The glass doors located under the covered awning will be ENTRANCE only. The doors located at the back of the sanctuary will be EXIT only. Exterior doors will be propped open to prevent the need for multiple people to touch the door handles. 

Upon entering the inside of our building, please look out for and respect any special instructions from staff, volunteers, or signage directing how to navigate safely around campus. 

How many people will be allowed in each service?

We will be operating at 25% of our approved fire code capacity. That puts us around 125 people in each service. 

What if there are too many people in a service? Is there any way to reserve a space?

Given the size of our Sanctuary we believe we’ll be able to accommodate all who want to attend worship in-person. At this time, we do not want to frustrate you or alienate anyone by creating a reservations system. There will not be overflow seating offered at this time to minimize the cleaning area after each service. 

How will we be seated?

Each household will be seated or directed to seating by trained staff to ensure we maximize our seating capacity and meet physical distancing requirements. We encourage everyone to arrive early enough to allow time for the seating process and to be flexible with where you are seated—opening our Sanctuary 30 minutes before each service will allow extra time for seating.

How will we be dismissed?

We want to use appropriate physical distancing around campus before and after services, so exiting will also be dismissed by rows. When the service ends, please remain seated until directed to leave. Once you have been dismissed please follow posted signage to exit.

What will precautions will be taken with communion?

  • Pastors and those distributing communion will wash/sanitize their hands before and after communion. If inadvertent contact is made, the pastor or elder will stop and sanitize his hands before continuing the distribution of communion. 
  • 6’ will be marked by tape on floor to denote waiting areas
  • Continuous flow will be used instead of kneeling at the communion rail
  • Communion is to be received only in the hand – no intinction
  • Wafer will be dropped in communicants’ hand
  • Communion will be individual cup only
  • Altar guild who prepare the communion elements will wash/sanitizer their hands before and should wear proper masks and gloves
  • All communion vessels will be thoroughly and properly cleaned after church with hot soapy water
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in the aisle(s) for use by people prior to receiving communion

What accommodations will be available?

  • Feel free to pull up under our covered awning to let anyone in your family or group have easy access to our main entrance before parking.
  • Hearing aids will still be available for use during the service and will be sanitized in between uses.
  • The elevator will also be available for use. In keeping with social distancing guidelines we recommend that no more than 2 people use the elevator at a time.

What if I am not comfortable with returning to worship in the building yet?

Many other people are able to meet their spiritual needs while worshipping at home via live stream and will continue to do so. That’s also right for them to do. No one should feel burdened to return to in-person worship before they are ready. Let’s not sit in judgment of each other. Rather, let’s give one another the freedom to follow God’s Spirit and live out personal convictions on how God is calling each of us to worship.

If you didn’t find the answer to your question above please call the church office: 715-536-5482. We want to hear from you about your questions, fears, concerns, worries, and comments. Please tell us what is on your mind that may influence your worship experience. We don’t have all the answers but we really do believe that with your input, we collectively will do a much better job in anticipating and solving any potential problems. If you have something to add about any of the above items, please, please call: 715-536-5482. Though this may be unchartered territory, Jesus will guide us through these tumultuous waters successfully.