The staff has been working hard to prepare for our worship services moving back into our building. It’s been some time since we’ve been inside! We are looking forward to it and are striving to make the services as safe as possible.
As we move into the building, have grace for us and for each other. There are many opinions on which restrictions are appropriate and which aren’t. While that is a fruitful conversation to have, we know we are bound together not by opinions around COVID, but by our union with Christ. Be diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3). And let us move forward with wisdom but not with fear.
We also recognize that some of our members will not be comfortable joining us for our in person services, and that is very understandable. We only urge you to stay connected, even from afar, to this body (Heb. 10:25). Strive to meet with others in the church in ways that you can, perhaps at coffee shop, parks, or homes. If you cannot meet in person, meet with others virtually. Connect with a Community Group if you haven’t already. As Christians, we are part of a body. Isolation is dangerous to our walk, so we want to be sure everyone is connected.
With that, the following are the protocols that we would like to introduce.
If you have any symptoms, you and your household should remain home and join us virtually.
If you are symptom-free and can join us in person, here is what you need to know:
- Bring your own Bibles, notebooks, beverages and writing utensils with you.
- We will not be passing out bulletins, but there will be kids packets available.
- We will have childcare for kids up to third grade at this time.
- Use our North entrance (the one without stairs) as the entry point when you come in.
- Masks will be requested.
Answers to Specific Questions:
Why are we moving back into the building at this time?
- As the weather changes it will be extremely difficult for us to continue to meet outside. Rather than returning to exclusively virtual services, we will continue to livestream for those who cannot come and will welcome anyone who is comfortable to worship in the church building.
Will you still offer online streaming?
- Yes. We will stream the 10 AM service to our YouTube Channel, so you can watch live at 10 am or view the recording anytime after 11 AM. In the event of technical difficulties, we still plan on posting a video within 24 hours of our service time.
Are we limiting the number of people attending services?
- Churches are not required by law to abide to the standards of the state, which means we can adapt according to the size of our space and congregation. The rate of transmission has more to do with the density of a crowd than the numbers per se. Given the size of our room and the size of our congregation, we are confident we can maintain the necessary social distancing and keep the likelihood of transmission low.
- We have consulted with a number of sources about our sanctuary's capacity. If we operate at 50% capacity in the sanctuary, we could easily accommodate our whole congregation. Again, out of an abundance of caution, we are using a very conservative estimate of capacity and starting with two services. Once we are able to discern how many people are coming to our in-person services, we can revisit the decision to have one service instead of two.
- If we were to exceed capacity at any service, the Youth Room would be available for overflow seating with the service shown on television.
Will masks be requested?
- We’re requesting that masks be worn.
Will children be requested to wear a mask?
- Yes, children 5 years and older will be requested to wear masks.
What additional measures will be taken for cleaning the building?
- We will be clearing all hot spots between services (door handles, bathroom surfaces).
- Out of an abundance of caution we have added an ionizing air filtration system in our sanctuary and downstairs in Children’s Ministry. The iWave units, which are attached to our existing HVAC system, emit a stream of ions through which the air within the HVAC system passes. These ions breakdown viruses (including COVID-19), bacteria and mold, thereby inhibiting their activity. They also attach to allergens causing them to be caught by the HVAC air filters.