9/23/20: Worship and Mission at LAC During COVID-19

Dear LAC Family,

On Sunday we tried in-person worship for the first time following the safety guidelines adopted by Session to reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19 while gathering indoors. We had only four people register to attend worship, and five more attend as walk-ins, with five volunteer usher/safety monitors. All told, there were 20 of us in the building, including worship leaders and staff.

Because the livestream was not transmitting properly due to a technical problem with the settings, our regular online community of 30 plus households was not able to follow along with us right away. This was never our intention and I am very sorry about the pain and frustration it caused you. The transmission and recording occurred, but it did not land on our website. We asked the outside vendor of our livestream system to help us rectify the situation this week, but it appears we have discovered the fix on our own. You can now go to our new website at www.lacny.org and click on the worship livestream tab to see the Sunday service. Please understand that in-person worship is not what it used to be because of COVID-19.

Many who worshipped in-person and those who saw the worship service livestream online later in the day were disappointed by the lack of our usual variety of voices and singing in the worship service. In order for us to restore the hymns, brass and wind instrumental music, our soloists singing, a greater variety of voices and congregants participating, and all the other dimensions of worship that we enjoy, we will need to pre-record videos of worship leaders in places where they can speak and sing safely. It may be possible to produce a hybrid, livestream of some aspects of worship and upload videos of others, but it will take us a little while to learn how to use our new technology more fully to implement a hybrid worship service. We may also need to have our communion Sunday worship services completely online in order to include the communion experience of eating bread together, which we cannot do in the sanctuary.

On Monday, September 28th, the Session will meet and determine how we will conduct worship services in October, and beyond, whether on-line only or in-person with livestream, or some hybrid of the two. If you have any thoughts or comments you would like to share with Session about how we should proceed as a church to include everyone in our worship services, please send an email to our co-clerks of Session: Leah Griggs-Pauly (leahgp@gmail.com) and Clark Morehouse (cmorehouse12@gmail.com) for inclusion in our correspondence review for our Monday meeting.

A New LAC Website: www.lacny.org

Please take a moment today to visit the new LAC website at www.lacny.org. The new site provides more action and easier interaction as well as updated photos and information for visitors to our church. You can pledge online, and make direct payment contributions as well, and even become a Sustaining Member of LAC by signing up under the Donate Now button to make regular monthly payments that will be automatically deducted from the bank account you provide. We encourage your support and thank you for your giving. Special thanks to Matthew Templeman for providing the soaring drone images on our new cover page.
Friends, please also send a note to our Session co-clerks with your reactions to the new website and let me know at eclemot@lacny.org if there are further edits and updates you would like to see made.

Sunday School and Youth Groups with Ekama!

Online Sunday School took off with a great start last Sunday under the leadership of our new Youth and Family Ministries Interim Director, Ekama Eni. If you would like your child to participate in this special on-line program, with some possible in-person playground playdates to come, please register here: [LINK].
Tonight, at 6:00 p.m., Ekama will meet in person with our youth group students in SHIFT and TGIF outdoors at the Manse. Students should gather outside on the back deck of the Manse next to the church for their kick-off get together from 6 – 7:30 p.m. If your middle school or high school student would like to participate and has not yet registered, please contact Ekama at eeni@lacny.org.

Clothing Drive for our Neighbors in Need

Please bring your gently used clothing donations today between 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. to Russell Hall, or tomorrow from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Clothing will be then distributed next week to people in need through our mission partners Community Resource Center, Washingtonville Alliance, and The Sharing Shelf at a pop-up Street Store to be hosted by St Thomas Church on October 3rd. Please bring clothing for the fall season, especially for children and men, in clean and complete condition, and labeled in individual bags. If you would like to volunteer to help sort the clothing next week on October 1st and 2nd, please sign up here [LINK]. Please contact Sasha Nahr if you have questions about this community mission project: sashanahr@gmail.com.
Thank you, and God bless,
Interim Pastor, Larchmont Avenue Church

9/16: A Trial Run — In-Person Worship During COVID-19

Dear LAC Family,
I hope you are doing well and staying healthy in these early days of back-to-school. We continue to be vigilant about the incursion of COVID-19 in our community. With great care we managed a socially distanced meet and greet for Ekama Eni last Sunday. The small number of participants helped make the event participants feel safer despite the risk of gathering indoors. Our safety monitor volunteers were able to limit the number of people in Russell Hall to 20 people at all times.
Livestream of Worship. This Sunday we will try worshipping in the Sanctuary in-person under our Session-approved safety guidelines, and will permit only up to 50 people to be present in the Sanctuary. We will also livestream the service with a new broadcast platform found on our website: www.lacny.org. You can watch worship from home here [LINK].
In-Person Worship. In order to attend worship on Sunday, you must reserve a place here [LINKby 12:00 p.m. on Friday, be in good health, and free from quarantine restrictions. Please wear your mask at all times inside the church and while in line outside. We encourage everyone to come by 9:40 a.m. in order to be greeted by our safety monitors who will conduct a wellness survey, temperature check, and contact tracing register. We ask that you not use the LAC bathrooms, unless for emergencies, so please plan ahead. After worship, ushers will direct people to exit by rows, closest to the Larchmont Avenue doors exiting first. I will host a virtual zoom coffee hour at 11 a.m. for everyone who attended, virtually or in-person.
Sunday School for our youngest members will commence virtually this Sunday, September 20th via Zoom. Classes will meet every other week.
PreK-1st Graders: 11:30 a.m. -11:55 a.m.
2nd – 3rd Graders: 12:00 p.m. – 12:25 p.m.
4th – 5th  Graders: 12:30 p.m. – 12:55 p.m.
The meeting schedule is on the church website. For the alternating weeks where we do not meet via Zoom, there will be a short video lesson posted on the Sunday School section of the  redesigned church website. Please register HERE [LINK] so we can send you the login details. We look forward to learning with you!
SHIFT and TGIF will have a joint youth kickoff event on Wednesday, September 23rd from 6-7:30 p.m. on the Manse deck. There will be pizza, music, and fun socially distanced shenanigans as Ekama Eni will get to meet all of you and we finish up our planning for this calendar year. If you are a youth or a parent of a youth and you have not yet, please fill out this form [LINK] to aid us in our planning for the year! Questions? Contact Ekama Eni at eeni@lacny.org for more details.
At the end of the month, Session will assess the worship experience and interest level of the congregation of in-person worship to determine if we continue in-person or go back to on-line worship for October.
Yours in Christ,
Interim Pastor, Larchmont Avenue Church

9/9/2020: Meet & Greet, Mission, Bells, and More!

Dear LAC Family:
Welcome back! I hope you all have had relaxing summer breaks, peaceful time for reflection, and good health over these last three months.
This Sunday, September 13th, we will test out a limited gathering in Russell Hall of people who sign-up to participate in our in-person fellowship walk following an online worship service. Participants should all be in good health, follow safety protocols, and be prepared for a wellness survey, contact tracing, temperature check, social distancing, and mask-wearing at all times.
Once inside, we proceed along a straight diagonal line – entering Russell hall and exiting at Wendt Avenue. There will not be time to linger for long. The doors and windows will be open and we encourage people to keep moving. No seating or refreshment will be provided.
Small groups of individuals who have reserved a time slot at the event will have a few minutes at each of three tables. These tables are places to 1) meet our new Interim Director of Youth and Family Ministries, Ekama Eni, 2) sign up for hand bell choir with Douglas Kostner, and 3) learn about and join a petition to provide counsel for indigent tenants facing eviction through a High School study initiative led by Caitlyn Carpenter and some of her classmates.
To attend, you must reserve a space, and a time slot, through our online sign-up system. Only three households will be permitted inside the building within any of our 15-minute time slots. Registration will close this Friday, September 11th, at 3:00 p.m., and then confirm your time slot via email. Spaces are limited, so please reserve a spot now at the following link: [LINK].
We will Livestream the event on Facebook for those who cannot attend. Many thanks to Leigh Anne Smith for organizing this event, to Ernest Wong and Angie Liessl for providing the safety monitor guidelines and crew for their implementation, and to all of our staff who have worked hard to make our space clean and safe for this trial run.
Wishing you God’s Peace as the new program year unfolds!
In God’s Love,
Interim Pastor, Larchmont Avenue ChurchMeet & Greet Event September 13, 2020 at 11 am

9/2/2020: Safe Return to In-Person Worship

As we prepare for our return to in-person church worship, we will be following the safety guidelines adopted by Session last month. You can read them here [LINK].
The Safety Guidelines require making reservations to attend in-person church (livestreaming will always be offered), and practicing social distancing, mask wearing, and good hand hygiene. They also require safety monitors to assist with safe entry into the building. This safety monitor role requires five (5) congregant volunteers each Sunday to: maintain a socially distanced entry line to the church, conduct a temperature check, a wellness survey, and collect worshipper information for contact tracing, administer hand sanitizer to all who enter, and lead worshippers to designated spaces in the pews.
If you are willing to serve as a safety monitor/usher, please sign up here [LINK] and indicate which Sundays you can serve.
We do not recommend people over age 60, or anyone with health conditions that increase vulnerability to COVID-19, participate in-person as a safety monitor or worshipping congregant. We will livestream all worship services so you can participate online each Sunday at 10:00 a.m. at www.lacny.org.
Be safe, and stay well.
In God’s Love,
Interim Pastor, Larchmont Avenue Church