When a NASA space shuttle re-enters the atmosphere there is a meticulous step by step process that takes scores of people to complete in order to ensure a safe reentry and landing. This process leaves out no detail but it is required to ensure the act of coming home is as safe as possible for the astronauts. As we prepare to reenter our sanctuary we also need to have a detailed process to ensure that worship together is as safe as possible.
Right now our plan is to gather back together on June 14th. When we do come back together things will look different. Some of the features and programs we are used to will not be offered. As time goes on, we do hope to bring some of these elements back. I am aware that to some these plans might feel overly restrictive or overly cautious. In providing a worship service, our first priority is to glorify God, but our second priority is to create a safe space that is open and welcoming to all. We feel that in these unprecedented times the following procedures are the best practices we can take to provide that space. As we prepare to worship together, here is our “reentry” procedure:
- As much as possible, please maintain social distancing of six feet from people not in our families. In the pews this means six feet to out left and right, but also six feet in front and behind. We have a decent sized sanctuary, so we can fit but it means most of us will need to leave our normal seat.
- We are asking and strongly recommending that everyone wear a mask. Wearing a mask is the simplest step we can all take to limit the possible transmission of the virus.
- We will not be passing the plate for offering. An offering plate will be in the back of the sanctuary and you may place your offering there before or after the service.
- We will not be passing out bulletins. You will be able to pick up a bulletin. We ask that if you do, please take it with you or dispose of it as you leave the sanctuary.
- To begin with we will not be offering a hospitality table. This will be the case for the entire month of June.
- To begin with we will not be offering nursery care, children’s church, or children’s Sunday school. We will still have a children’s message but we will be asking the children to sit in designated chairs during that time. This will be the case for entire month of June.
- We will not have the prayer book available. If you have a prayer concern that you would like the congregation to pray for you will be invited to share that during the appropriate time of the worship service.
- The contemporary issues Sunday school class will be meeting in the fellowship hall between services following social distancing procedures.
- If you wish to visit and talk with one another after the service, we ask that as much as possible (and weather permitting) you move those conversations outside. The extra space and air will make conversing potentially less hazardous.
- We will continue to offer a virtual worship experience in the event you are unable or uncomfortable with attending in person.