A motion was made and approved by the board to resume in-person worship in the pavilion on June 7th. As we are excited about planning for our first time together since mid-March, we do so with several goals in mind. The first goal is to provide a time of worship in which we are able to safely come together in ways that we have not been able to for the past couple of months. The second goal is to maximize safety for those who will be gathering for worship. The third goal is to continue to provide a good online worship option for those who need or prefer to remain distanced from in-person gatherings.
Toward these goals, we plan to initially meet in the pavilion rather than in the sanctuary. By remaining outdoors, we decrease the concentration of any potential airborne viral load. We will have one service at 10:30 AM. We will not initially be resuming Sunday School classes.
We will also be taking steps to avoid handling the same objects over and over again. We will be making use of a projector screen instead of bulletins and hymnals. We may continue to make use of online tools for the same purpose (i.e., sharing lyrics for music, that you would then be able to read using a tablet or smartphone). Instead of passing an offering plate, we will have boxes that you can place your offering in as you enter or leave the service.
We will observe standard distancing protocols by having spots marked on the floor of the pavilion for family groups to sit at. We will have folding chairs provided for any who need them, but we suggest bringing your own chairs with you to avoid having multiple people handle the same chair. Additionally, you can set up your chairs outside the pavilion to be able to increase the distance that we are able to maintain.
We are working hard to make certain that all will be able to hear the service. Fortunately, our pavilion has excellent acoustics that project sound well beyond the interior of the pavilion. We will augment this with microphones and the best sound system we are able to arrange.
Additionally, we are hoping to be able to set up FM transmission of the audio of the service for any who wish to remain in their cars during the service. This would provide an additional level of protection for those who wish to come to the service but need to remain more isolated. We encourage you to leave the row of parking closest to the pavilion open for those who will be remaining in their cars. We also ask that if you will be in your car, close to the pavilion, that you turn off your car engine (this may mean no air conditioning for the car) so as to not disrupt the ability of others to hear.
With arrangements for a sound system in the pavilion, we also plan to record the service. This will allow us to either provide a live stream of the service or a recording of the service that will be made available online for those who will continue worshiping from home.
Proper sanitation and your cooperation will remain key in all of this. Here are our requests:
1) We encourage the use of facial masks and will be providing hand sanitizing stations.
2) We also need you to be intentional and patient in social distancing. This includes monitoring children and allowing time for everyone to enter and exit the space, rather than everyone moving at once.
3) We will be minimizing use of the building during this time, and the water fountain will not be available. Please bring your own water to drink, and plan to use the bathroom at home. (The church bathrooms will be available if required.)
4) Finally, we need you to be hyper-vigilant with regards to any hint of possible infection. If you or anyone in your household has experienced any possible symptoms of Covid-19 or other illness, or is awaiting test results, please stay at home for the next two weeks. This virus is present in our community. Members of our community have both contracted and been hospitalized by the virus.
Please be in prayer as we move toward these steps. Pray that the spread of the virus will continue to slow, and that we will be able to gather together in a way that is pleasing to God. Pray for the health and safety of our church family and neighbors, and that we will all be growing in Christ’s love through this time.
Looking forward to worshiping with you on June 7th!
Carol Wilson, Church Board Chair