It has been 10 weeks since we have been able to physically gather as a church body. We now believe that we have enough information to begin the process of physically assembling together as a church body. I say begin the process because there will be adjustments as we navigate our way through a path none of us has ever walked. How long this process will take, no one really knows. In the information below, I want to communicate with you what we will do and why.
WHAT DROVE OUR THINKING
Two things were front and center in making this decision. First, we want to glorify God. His approval is our greatest motivation and desire. Second, your physical safety and well-being. We care deeply about every single person who walks through the doors of our building. The last thing we would want to do is place anyone in harms way or compromise their health. We are aware that in a church our size there will be differing opinions and readiness levels regarding physically assembling. We encourage you to do as you feel led in terms of your physical attendance. Remember, that whatever position you hold, you should not look down on your brother or sister who holds a different opinion than yours concerning this matter (Romans 14:3)
HOW WE PREPARED THIS PLAN
A great deal of prayer, thought, and planning has gone into what we will do the first Sunday back in order to both be as safe as possible and yet worship the Lord. Several sources influenced our thinking:
Careful examination of what the CDC and state recommendations and requirements.
We worked through 48 questions published by Lifeway to consider in the decision to return to physical gatherings.
We have consulted with other pastors and churches from our state and others who have already resumed and sought to learn from their experiences.
We have sought legal counsel and have communicated with our insurance carrier.
We have consulted with local government and law enforcement officials regarding how they will handle our church specifically choosing to assemble.
We plan to resume physical gatherings on Sunday June 7th, 2020 .
We will hold two worship services. One at 10 AM and the other at 11AM. Services will include congregational singing.
We will be asking individuals and families to register online for which service you plan to attend. This will allow us to keep the number of people attending each service in balance.
We will not have children’s Sunday School or adult lifegroups meeting at the facility on Sunday Morning. Lifegroups that do not involve children may choose to physically meet at the church facility on Sunday night at 5 pm.
We will have a Nursery for children three and under with limited access to toys and furnishings.
When you drive into the parking lot, seek to space out your vehicle if possible. As you approach the building, please maintain appropriate spacing with others who are also entering.
We will be taking temperatures at the door. Anyone who is running a temperature of 100.5 F or higher will be asked to join us for our online worship service.
Those attending the worship service will not be required to wear a mask. However, one may wear a mask if they choose to do so.
The foyer entrance doors will be marked. The east glass double doors will be designated for entrance, and the west glass double doors will be designated as the exit. We kindly ask that you help us by not congregating in the foyer.
Upon entering the sanctuary, you will choose where to sit. We have spaced out the chairs to create greater distance from those in front of you and behind you. When seated we are asking people to use personal judgment as to what constitutes appropriate social distancing.
Families or couples may sit together without social distancing concerns just like at home.
At the end of the service, usher will dismiss rows one at a time directing them to the proper exits and giving people appropriate amounts of time to comfortably exit the building.
During the 15 minute period in between services, all hard surfaces will be sanitized per CDC recommendation.
Hand sanitizer will be available both upon entrance and exiting the building.
There will be no handing out of bulletins, formal greeting time, or passing of offering plates. You may continue to use the convenience of online giving or give at any of the giving stations located by the entrance and exit doors.
If you do choose to fellowship we ask that you do so outside the building, and please maintain social distancing standards.
WHO SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT COME TO CHURCH
If you have had a fever of 100.5 or higher in the past 14 days, please join us in worship through our online service rather than in person.
If you are a high-risk patient, please use wisdom and discretion and consider joining us in worship through our online service.
If you are 65 and older or have concerning health issues and still want to attend the physical service we encourage you to attend the 10 AM worship service.
If you do not feel comfortable attending for your own sake or family members sake, do not feel obligated to come in person, but please join us in worship through our online service.
This is the plan for the first week of returning to physical gatherings. Based on what we experience, recommendations made, and how the situation in our area continues to evolve we will make adjustments accordingly.
It is in these types of moments the enemy looks for opportunity to divide us. I want to encourage you to seek to be a peacemaker (1 Peter 3:11). In these times it is more important than ever to be unified in mission and purpose. Edify, build up, encourage, speak well of one another. Promote love, compassion,, and courtesy. When you do, you are most like Jesus.