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After prayer and discussion for when we should regather physically on the church property as a congregation, the decision has been made by our elders, deacons, and staff to reconvene Sunday, June 7th. This plan also reduces the number of worship services and changes the times. We will be having two worship services each Sunday at 9:00am and 11:00am until such time a third one is needed. These times will also allow for additional sanitizing procedures between the worship services. If you plan to attend the 11:00am service, you are asked to not arrive prior to 10:45am to allow ample time for sanitizing to be completed.
No plan that is proposed will be perfect for every individual and we understand that some will be reluctant to be in any kind of large gathering. We will be continuing online worship services and resources. The worship services will be live-streamed each Sunday and then also available later in the day via our Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Our plan will not completely “open” all our services. For the first few weeks it will be only worship services that will meet in the sanctuary, chapel, and café areas. We will be establishing an approximate 50% seating capacity in each of those areas, with attendees being directed to the sanctuary first, the café second, and the chapel being used for those who desire to worship in a group who are all wearing masks.
In an attempt to provide detail about the experience you will have when attending worship when we regather, here are some questions and answers:
What will the worship services look like?
Some of the major changes will include the elimination of a weekly bulletin, how communion is served, and how offering is received. Communion will be picked up as you arrive, and we will share together in it when designated in the worship service. Trash containers will be available to dispose of the cups as you leave. No offering will be taken in the worship service. Offerings can either be placed in the black boxes in the lobby area, mailed to the church, or given online.
What about seating?
Seating will be arranged in a manner to ensure adequate social distancing. We are asking that there be no handshaking or hugging and that individuals be cautious to keep appropriate distancing. There must be two seats between household/family groups.
Will masks be needed?
While the CDC recommends wearing masks, they will not be required as they are not mandated by law. We would encourage you to consider wearing a mask. If you choose to wear a mask, you must provide your own. For those who are more comfortable being in a group where everyone is wearing masks, the chapel will be available. If you plan to worship in the chapel, you must enter through Entrance # 1. All other attendees are asked to use Entrance # 2. While there are varying opinions about the wearing of masks, please be gracious towards those who have a differing view than you. Those who will be leading worship and preaching will not be wearing masks.
What precautions will be in place?
Already mentioned is six-foot distancing with seating and no handshaking or hugging. We have installed additional hand sanitizer stations and would encourage all attendees to use these upon entering and exiting the facility. There will be no passing of an offering bag or handouts. The serving of coffee and food in the café is suspended. Doors will remain open, so you need not touch them, including restroom doors. Restrooms and gathering areas will be cleaned between services.
What about Children’s Ministry, Student Ministry, and Sunday morning groups/classes?
For several weeks in the initial regathering phase these will not be offered. As a time nears to implement these, additional guidelines will be provided. Please remember that this plan is a process and at any time may be adjusted. Parents, we know this puts you in an awkward situation – whether to bring young children to the worship service or to remain at home and participate online. Each household will need to make their own decision. Worship services will be approximately 55-60 minutes in length. Until these ministries are reopened, the gym, the second floor, and the kid’s clubhouse worship area will be closed. The east entrance of the gym will not be accessible. If the Covid-19 situation continues to improve, the plans are to open Children’s Ministry classes on Sunday, July 12th. However, this will be dependent on securing enough volunteers, following the guidelines as issued for daycare centers thereby limiting the number of children in each room, and providing advance registration for Sunday morning classes for children. As that time nears, more information will be provided to parents.
What can I do as the church regathers?
- If you or any members of your household are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19, are in a high-risk group, not feeling well, anxious about attending, or not yet ready to return, we would encourage you to participate in worship online.
- As you arrive on church property, have a servant’s heart – be willing to park as far away as you can from the entrance, if able. Be gracious of those who may have a differing opinion regarding safety protocols that are being enacted.
- Heed the instructions given as you enter – these could change weekly as the regathering process is assessed. We ask that there be no congregating after the worship services in the common areas for these will need to be sanitized immediately and prepared either for the next service or the shutdown of the facility.
- Be willing to volunteer! We will need greeters and those who will clean between services and after services by wiping down high-touch surfaces, restrooms, etc.