The State of Minnesota has made allowances for churches to gather in person with significant limits and precautions in place. Our hope is to get back to a time when we can gather together again responsibly and safely. We continue to look at guidelines and recommendations from government agencies, health experts and ELCA leadership. Even with recent changes in state guidelines, many churches are choosing to continue worship online only at this time and to proceed slowly.
Continue to join us in worship on this website (view service videos) or on our Facebook page on Sundays.
Sign up for the All Saints e-news to receive weekly and topical information.
Monitoring the Pandemic
- Updated 3/18/21 -
At its March 15 meeting, the church council discussed the current state of the pandemic and the best timing for allowing in-person worship in the future. At this time the council is agreed that All Saints should not open up opportunities for indoor, in-person worship yet. The council wants to ensure that staff and volunteers being asked to lead worship have had the opportunity to be vaccinated and that overall risk of gatherings has come down for all those in attendance.
Because of current concerns about more highly transmissible variants, a still-low number of vaccinations and increasing concerns about a new surge in cases, the council is instead looking to prioritize making outdoor in-person worship available again as the weather improves. Worship staff are committed to supporting this as soon as possible. This approach is consistent with other similar size churches in the ELCA and among our full communion partners. The council continues to monitor the situation monthly.
There is hope that by mid-summer, and certainly by fall, we will have better opportunities to gather safely for worship indoors. In the meantime, a limited number of small groups will be allowed to gather by priority with precautions in place. Because of needed protocols, there are a limited number of times for this each week. This may be reexamined if a new surge and restrictions reemerge in the coming weeks.
Church staff are still working remotely, with some exceptions. The congregation will have at least three to four weeks’ notice of any changes allowing for indoor worship. As the warmth of spring continues, dates for anticipated outdoor worship will be announced, with final decisions contingent on weather.
Please contact Council President Julie Mohlis (via the church office email) if you have questions.
The All Saints building is closed to general access. If you are part of a select group allowed entry (such as musicians for worship services). please follow health and safety precautions and ensure that you can answer "No" to the following questions:
- Do you have a fever?
- Do you have a new cough or a cough that is becoming worse?
- Are you experiencing shortness of breath?
- Are you experiencing any other symptoms of illness?
Find additional CDC information here.
Read the All Saints COVID-19 Preparedness plan here.
The building is still closed to activities, with a few exceptions. While the preschool and childcare are providing services on-site, other employees are working remotely as much as possible. From time to time, some staff may be present to do work that can only happen in-person, such as livestreaming worship, needed building cleaning and maintenance, and limited office functions.
The best way to communicate with staff is by email. Addresses are listed here. You can also leave a voicemail at 952.934.3550. It may take a few days for a return call. If you need to stop by the church, please make arrangements in advance, and plan to wear a mask, just as staff are doing.
The staff and council are working on a plan that will provide clarity about how we will resume in-person gatherings, including worship and other activities.
There are many factors to consider as we look at resuming in-person worship including:
- Many of our members are in high-risk categories.
- Many of the traditions and activities that are part of our worship create higher risk (singing, speaking, proximity required for distributing communion even with gloves and precautions, desire to greet others even without handshakes, etc.)
- Distancing indoors (6-12 feet) and sanitizing surfaces does not eliminate the spread of aerosols throughout the space that cause infection. The longer inside, the greater the risk.
- Many of the churches around the country that have resumed worship in recent weeks have closed again after significant spread of the virus.
- Infection rates in the Twin Cities continue to fluctuate but appear to be rising again and intensive care units in hospitals are at or near capacity.
- Long-term effects of infection, even for those who recover and are younger and healthy, are still unknown. Early studies are showing side effects such as lasting damage to organs and very long recovery times.
- The church council discussed the items noted above and made it clear that a more deliberate and cautious approach was preferred rather than making decisions that may be changed within a few weeks should conditions and recommendations change again.
We are working on a process that will outline how we come back to in-person worship so that we are ready when that time comes. This includes the possibility of some outdoor opportunities and will include a way to gather online even when in-person worship fully resumes so that those who are high risk or simply not ready to return will have a comfortable option. To be clear, the full timeline for resuming in-person gatherings has not yet been determined. This plan will include incremental steps or phases that build toward fuller and more “normal” services with dates to be determined later as we move forward. From a wider vantage point and what we know about the virus, our expectation is that getting to a point when we have sustained, fuller in-person worship may be longer than many expect.
Our continuing desire is to make decisions about gathering that are based on love for our neighbor. We will consider how we will care for those who are most vulnerable, follow the best scientific and medical advice, and avoid unnecessary risk. We know that the longer this pandemic continues, the more all of us are eager to return. We know that in-person services will be very different than what we experienced before the pandemic and will require adjustments for all of us. We also believe the approach summarized above will provide the most faithful and caring path forward.
The inability to gather physically does not mean our mission and ministry are on hold. I am impressed and grateful for the work our staff has been doing to provide online worship and ministry across the generations. It is in uncertain times that we learn to rely on the guidance of God’s Spirit and love all the more. It is our faith in Christ and what God has done for us through Christ that binds us together as members of All Saints and all of the saints across time and place.
Thank you for your continued prayers and commitment to ministry at All Saints!
Pastor Jon Pederson