Last week we sent out a video explaining how we as elders were actively seeking to resume our in-person corporate worship gatherings. Well, we’re excited to announce that we’re going to be gathering together again real soon! Over this past week we have been prayerfully considering and discussing three questions: 1) Where are we going to meet?, 2) When are we going to begin meeting?, and 3) How are we going to meet?
As we approach the day of our first service back together, things are going to be quite a bit different than normal. Because of that we wanted to share with you what you can expect. As a church, if we have the same expectations as we come back together then we’ll better be able to love, serve, and be considerate of one another when we meet. And that’s the ultimate heart of this document. This is our attempt as elders to lead our church in gathering together safely, responsibly, and in a way that is considerate of and sensitive to one another.
Where are we going to meet? We will be meeting each Sunday at the DoubleTree Hotel for the foreseeable future.
When are we going to begin meeting? We are going to begin meeting on June 7th at 10am.
How are we going to meet? As we gather back together in person we want to do so safely and responsibly. Here then are the guidelines and expectations for when we resume our in-person worship gatherings.
Before you arrive:
- Our meeting space will be cleaned and sanitized before your arrival.
- Please wash your hands before you arrive.
- Please stay at home if:
- You are sick, have any symptoms, or are running a fever.
- You have been exposed to a person with COVID-19. If you have, then we ask that you not physically attend until you have been symptom free for 14 days.
- If you are in a high-risk category, more vulnerable to the virus, or don’t feel comfortable in attending at this point then please don’t feel any pressure to do so. We really mean that! Our desire is not to leave you out, instead you’re an essential part of the body that we deeply love! At the same time we don’t want you to put yourself in a harmful situation or violate your conscience. So then, if you’re not comfortable with attending, then we completely understand. We’ll be offering a livestream of the service for you to watch and join in on.
When you arrive:
- Please park in the north parking lot located on the backside of the hotel. There’s a little windy road that takes you from the front entrance of the hotel to the back entrance. That’s where we’ll park and enter.
- Members of the hospitality team will have the doors opened to the back entrance of the hotel as you enter.
- Once you enter the building please make your way to the ballroom where we’ll be meeting. As you do please maintain social distancing between your household and others. Also please try and not linger in the hallway and cause any congestion, this could cause social distancing to be difficult for others.
- After entering the ballroom try and sit as close to the front as possible. We’d like to fill up the seats in the front first and leave the seats in the back for families with younger children, those who might be more vulnerable to the virus, and those who prefer a little more distance than just six feet. Filling up the seats in the front first will also make it easier to maintain the six feet social distancing requirements.
We are still waiting to hear back from the DoubleTree when it comes to how the seats will be arranged in the ballroom. One option is for the chairs to be set up in rows. If that’s the case then we’ll ensure that the rows are spaced six feet apart. As you sit down in your row you’ll need to leave 3-4 chairs between your household and anyone else who is sitting on that row. This will ensure that we’re maintaining the social distancing requirements. Another option is organizing the seats into clusters based upon household units. If we do this then we’ll ensure that each cluster is spaced out at least six feet apart. Once we hear back from the DoubleTree, we’ll communicate to you what you can expect.
Printed worship guides will not be available for the time being. However, we will make the worship guide available online so you can print it off beforehand and bring it with you to the service if you’d like. You can also access it on your phone during the service if that would be easier.
Coffee: We will not be providing coffee for the foreseeable future. However, you are free to bring your own if you’d like.
Children’s classes and nursery
We will not be offering kids classes or a nursery at this time. Instead, we’d encourage you to bring your children with you to the worship gathering, no matter their age. I know that could be a little challenging for you as a parent, but please hear this. We love kids! And we know that not every child is going to be able to sit completely still and quiet during the entire service. That’s okay! We obviously don’t want chaos to break out, but we expect our upcoming gatherings to be a little noisier and involve a little bit more movement than in the past. We’re good with that!
We also know the whole idea of social distancing with kids is going to be kind of challenging. They are going to want to run around, see their friends, and explore their new surroundings. Again, we understand that! However, as parents, all that we ask is that you do your best to keep your children with you before, during, and after the service.
We’re planning on leaving a number of seats in the back of our meeting space for families with younger children, those who might be more vulnerable to the virus, and those who prefer a little more distance than just six feet.
We’re excited to resume the Lord’s Supper when we gather together. We’ve already designated someone to prepare the elements before the service each week. This person will be wearing a mask, gloves, and taking every sanitary precaution. As before, the Lord’s Supper table or tables will be set up at the front of the room and you’ll come forward to receive the elements. As you come forward we ask that you be considerate of others and maintain a six foot distance between you and other household units.
At this time we’re planning on having plexiglass in front of the table like you would see at the check-out counter at the store. At the bottom of the plexiglass will be a little opening where you can pick up a cup with a piece of bread in it and a cup of juice.
In all likelihood, not everyone will feel comfortable taking the Lord’s Supper in this manner. We completely understand that and don’t want you to think twice about it. You can still give thanks to God in your heart for Christ and His body.
We’re not mandating everyone wear a mask or facial covering when we gather. However the CDC website does state the following for churches: “Encourage use of cloth face covering among staff and congregants. Face coverings are essential when social distancing is difficult.” Whatever decision you make, please be respectful of others.
We realize not everyone will be comfortable attending in-person just yet, therefore we will be live-streaming the service for the foreseeable future.
As has been mentioned throughout this document, we ask that you practice social distancing and seek to leave six feet of space between you and another household unit during the course of our gathering. This needs to be the default position in our interactions with each other when we meet.
When you exit:
At the end of the service we will exit row by row or by clusters beginning at the back of the room. As you leave the ballroom and exit the building please maintain social distancing, and be careful of causing any congestion in the hallway or exit doors.
In writing this document the last thing we want is for people to be walking around on egg shells when we gather together and being overly concerned about whether or not they are following the rules exactly right. That’s not our heart! As elders we’re not going to be out on patrol and measuring everyone with a ruler to make sure they are six feet away from each other. We also know not everything is going to go as planned. At the same time we really do want to provide a safe environment that is considerate of each other. That’s our heart and goal in all this. The only way that is going to happen though is if we all come with a heart posture that is sensitive to, considerate of and gracious toward one another. If we do that, then everything else will pretty much take care of itself, we’ll love each other well, and the body of Christ will be built up as we worship King Jesus together!