Additional Church service reopening details
As you know, the Governor has given churches the privilege to meet on a limited scale beginning Sunday, May 17. So after following closely the guidelines he has given us and after much discussion with church pastors in our area and from the SBC of Virginia and from CDC guidelines and prayer, we are ready to move forward.
The first thing we as the elders want to ask of you is to please be patient, patient, patient and be flexible, flexible, flexible. This is all very new territory for us as a world and nation and as a church. We are doing all we know to stay in touch with you and to keep ministry moving so your lives are not hindered any more than they are and so we can get back to something normal.
We realize also that there is a huge divide and many opinions about how life should be with COVID-19 and therefore how church life should be conducted in these days. But despite the many different opinions about all that is happening we have narrowed the positions of most people down to one of three categories:
First, there are those who believe we should just come together with no changes whatsoever.
Second is the group who believe we should not come together for at least another year and not have any contact with one another unless through plexiglass and rubber gloves and masks while standing six feet away from one another while wearing full body suits and respirators. Of course I’m joking, a little.
Third is the group in the middle.
It is our position, right or wrong, to hold to a middle ground. We realize there is credibility to all three sides, but it has been and always will be our practice to love one another for where we are in our opinions and not try to make someone jump to a position in which they are not comfortable or ready.
With that side, it is imperative that you understand that as a church leadership we cannot do everything necessary to make everyone happy over a situation like this. We are trying to do all within our ability to keep you from contracting the virus. So, to walk the middle of the road seems best.
Listed below you will see guidelines that we intend to follow which we think will serve us well as a church family. But the main point that needs to be emphasized clearly is that you are the determiner of your fate. We are not saying that you can determine when your days on earth will be over, that is God’s decision, but we are looking to you to make the decisions that you think are best for you and your family. Again, as much as we are trying to keep everyone safe, we cannot control a virus so you must be responsible for what you think is best for you. If you do not feel comfortable coming to a church service or any other activity, please do not feel pressured to come.
The following is a breakdown of times and events:
- We will be offering two services, one at 9am and the other at 10:30am.
- Both services will be the same. But only the 10:30 service will be shown on YouTube Live. However, we will only have certain seats available. There will only be seating on every other row and the room will be limited to approximately 50 people for now. That is part of phase 2 and based on the 50% occupancy the Governor is allowing us to have. If you are planning to bring your family please occupy a row together without spacing between. This allows more people to occupy the room safely.
- We will not be requiring masks but do encourage them if you are at all concerned for your safety and the safety of your family.
- When you come to the church building, only the Sanctuary doors and the doors leading to the offices will be unlocked all others will be locked. There will be someone holding the door open for you so you don’t have to touch the handles, or the door will be open until the service begins. The people holding the door will have rubber gloves on and will take care of wiping down the handles each time they are used.
- We will not have bulletins. All information will be available through the church website and through public announcements or by email.
- There will be a change in how we collect the offerings. There will be no passing of offering plates during phase two. Boxes will be at the back of the sanctuary for you to give your offering. You can also continue to mail it in, use the website or drop it off at the church during office hours. If you plan to drop it off, please call first to make sure someone is available to take your offering.
- We will not have a meet and greet time. All contact will be through smiles and waving. NO HUGS, NO TOUCHING. I know this will be very challenging because you will be excited to see one another but for the sake of all, please show your love from a distance.
- We will not have communion for a few weeks until we determine the best plan of action for that observance. If we do observe communion, it will be either by premade cups or you will come row by row to the front observing social distancing and take the bread and juice from someone who will have adequate protection. We will keep you informed about communion as we nail that down.
- There will be no nursery for the first few weeks of Phase 2. We will monitor things for the next couple of weeks and keep you informed. One option is for you to keep you children with you in the same row during the service. Another option is for one parent to come to the 9am service and the other to come to the 10:30am service or watch the service online.
- Bathrooms on the main floor will be available for use but the nursery and the classrooms and the lower level will be blocked off. We ask that you do not enter those portions of the building at all unless there is good reason and that you please contact the leaders if you need something.
- Between services there will be the need to wipe down anything that has been touched and the bathrooms will be wiped down. If you need to use the restroom there will be disinfectant wipes available for you to clean off the sink and toilet handles and doorknobs and toilet seats.
- The Hispanic church will be meeting in the fellowship hall but will be limited to that location and will work with the same guidelines as the whole church. The Kachin church will also follow these guidelines.
- During Phase 2, there will be no fellowship times until we get past the first few weeks. Don’t plan on any fellowship activities that involve food as a group until June or later. Coffee will not be offered at this time.
- Sunday School will continue online for the first few weeks of Phase 2. There is the possibility of the Sunday School classes meeting in the evening or afternoon of Sundays if the disinfecting requirements are in place and social distancing is observed. We will leave that to the Sunday School teachers to decide what they believe to be best.
We understand there is a lot to think about and a lot to consider. We have no intention of giving you a set of rules and regulations. We are simply trying to honor the health and safety of everyone and still be able to meet together in obedience to the Lord and comply with the Governors request. We are not being mandated to break God’s Laws so we do not feel that it is necessary to go against the direction of our Governor but to obey and honor him as our God given leader. (Romans 13, 1 Peter 2)
- There will be three phases to our regathering.
- Phase 2 will be two services: one at 9am and the other at 10:30am
- Seating will be limited and sectioned.
- Masks are encouraged but not mandatory.
- Tithes and offerings can be given by you in boxes in the entrance to the Sanctuary.
- There will be no other activities in the building until further notice except for the Hispanic and Kachin church services.
- No Sunday School except by the direction of the Sunday School teachers.
- Phases 3 & 4 will be more relaxed as we gain clarity on what the virus will do and how our government will respond.
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