Church Reopening Update
CHURCH COVID RESPONSE TEAM UPDATE 6-7-2020
Our COVID-19 response team includes Ed Smith (Chair), Lisa Friedman, Dave Nickerson, Gerry Conti, Mark McClure, and Pastor Bri. Questions or comments can be sent to any team member.
As we begin planning for re-opening the church for worship, we are mindful that each of us feels differently about returning to the church in this time of a pandemic. Some congregants are eager to be back in church; some are hesitant to return; some aren’t sure what to think about returning. Many congregants are older and know they are more vulnerable to the virus. We have been taking all these concerns to heart, and we are planning reopening with an abundance of caution and safety for all congregants and visitors. We also respect each person’s decision about when it is right for him or her to return to the building.
Our return will happen in steps and stages, as our staff spend more time in the building and are more available for in-person appointments.
As small groups are enabled to gather for meetings, classes, prayers, or simply fellowship. We will be sharing more information as policies and procedures take shape.
Sunday Worship In Building
The Church's COVID Response Team is working with the Worship team to determine a phased-in approach
to resuming Sunday worship services in our church. Below are our combined thoughts.
Please prepare for the reality that in-person worship will not look like the worship we remember. Congregants will be asked to self-screen and consider your own health, to wear a mask, to wash/disinfect hands frequently, to sit appropriately distanced in the worship space, and to wait and allow safe spaces in hallways and doorways. We will not be passing an offering plate, shaking hands, singing hymns, or sharing communion until those actions can be completed with a reasonable assurance of safety.
Phase One of re-opening for worship will involve a pre-recorded service from the sanctuary, with no congregation. Our goal is to begin this on Sunday July 19th. We hope to have the contributors to the service present in the sanctuary and to record the service from start to finish prior to Sunday. Then the service will be broadcast on Sunday. There will also be the same “chat” availability to the right of the frame. This service will include our traditional service format, including a children’s message, a sermon from Pastor Bri, and music from soloists. Both current and phase one services would be available on July 19th.
Phase Two of the re-opening will involve live recording of the service from the sanctuary, with just a few congregational members present and spaced throughout the sanctuary. This will also allow ushers to practice in their new roles, and to make sure that entry and exit from the church can be done safely. There is no set timeline for this. We’ll need to live into it. We are blessed that our sanctuary can potentially seat 400 people, so spacing for us should not be difficult. After the recording is complete, it will be uploaded and then broadcast at an identified time on Sunday.
Phase Three of re-opening will involve live streaming of the service from the sanctuary, which will be open to everyone. There is no set timeline for this. This is a major step forward for our church and will require additional equipment. In this final phase, the service will be available for those comfortable coming into the church as well as for those who’d like to watch from the internet.
Sunday Worship Online
Currently we are blessed to be worshipping online with Pastor Bri and Pastor Mike Desotell in a joint live streaming and pre-recorded service from their home, joining with the St. Matthews and Cherry Hill churches. This will continue at least through July.
We are working to assure that worship will continue to be available streaming online even when we do return to the sanctuary, so that those who are not able or willing to attend in person will still be able to be a part of the gathered community.
Watch for more information as the situation unfolds. Please continue to hold our leaders, our response team, our staff, and all our congregation in your prayers.
Buttons are on the home page to take you to the live and recorded Sunday worship (9:30 A.M.) and weekday devotions (10 A.M.).
Please continue to hold our leaders, our response team, our staff, and all our congregation in your prayers.