Church Reopening Guidelines

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I am excited to announce that after weeks of planning we have a path to reopening St. James Lutheran Church for services. As you are all aware by now, the Covid-19 virus has presented many challenges to reopening facilities to group gatherings and the church is no exception. This letter has two parts: the first is our plan to reopen the church for services, and the second is how we will proceed with Holy Communion.

Reopening the Church:

For the last month, the leadership team at St. James has been working hard to decipher government policy while seeking sound medical advice and best practices from the business community and other places in order to reopen St. James. The following is what we have come up with:

We will have four services beginning on Saturday, May 30. 

  • Saturday 6:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. This is a service designed for our at-risk members. If you are over 65 have preexisting conditions such as diabetes, kidney or liver disease, or have respiratory issues, this is the service reserved for you. Maximum capacity for this service is 50. There will be no Holy Communion at this service. Face masks are highly recommended at all times for everyone in attendance.
  • Sunday 8:00 a.m. in the sanctuary. This service is open to all. Maximum capacity for this service is 50. There will be no Holy Communion at this service. Face masks are highly recommended at all times for everyone in attendance.
  • Sunday 10:30 a.m. outside. This service is open to all. No maximum size. Face masks highly recommended at all times for everyone in attendance. Please bring your own lawn chair for this service. There will be no Holy Communion at this service. In case of inclement weather, this service will move into the gym. Still bring your chair for gym service.
  • Sunday 10:30am online. This service is open to all. No maximum size. No face mask requirement. There will be no Holy Communion at this service.

Bible studies and Sunday school will continue to be online only at this link.

There will be no coffee hour.

All fellowship should be conducted outside the building following social distancing guidelines. Please do not stop in the entry and exit ways to talk. Please make sure you are all the way outside the building before engaging in conversation.

Face masks (masks, bandanas, face shields, etc.) are highly encouraged and recommended at all services. If you are in need of one, please let us know ahead of time. You can buy one cheaply now at most pharmacies and hardware stores, or make you own by watching this video (above).

There will be no Holy Communion at any service.

Holy Communion:

Starting on Tuesday, June 2, the following process will be in place for Holy Communion. You will need to follow this process in order to partake.

Days and Times available:
Tuesday: 2-4 p.m.
Thursday 4-6 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Appointments will be in 15 minute increments with no common cup.

If you wish to receive Holy Communion, the following process will allow you to schedule a time:

  1. Call into the church office 765-423-1616, select option 2, then option 2 again.
  2. In your message to Pastor Heckert, state the following:
  • What day and time?
  • How many will be communing with you?
  • Special accommodations (gluten free, water with wine, etc)?
  1. At your appointed time, arrive at the church upper parking lot and proceed to the yellow stanchions by the school cafeteria.
  2. Pastor will prepare the table for you.
  3. Pastor will invite you to come forward to a taped line.


  • Invocation
  • Confession and absolution
  • Consecration of the elements
  • Partaking of the elements
  • Used material placed in bowl
  • Post communion collect
  • Blessing

After service proceed immediately to your vehicle so the next member can partake.

I would like to thank the following individuals for their insights and participation in planning the reopening of St. James Lutheran Church: Wayne Luke, Jason Plassard, Donnie Fahler, Michael O'Donnell, Julie Grott, Mike Grott, Jake Rogers, Kristy McCain, Chris Northington, Pastor Heckert, The Board of Elders, Amanda Goodspeed and Daphine Prather.

If you would like to help with the 10:30 a.m. outside service, please contact Kristy McCain.

In Christ's service,

Christopher Rowan
St. James Lutheran Church and School