AND... WE'RE BACK!
Who would have imagined a 2020 like this? If I missed an announcement in the Farmer’s Almanac, you should have let me know! What an unprecedented time. It’s been a very long three months of coronavirus inspired separation. Bad news is everywhere. So how about some good news?
Our staff and deacons have settled on a reopening plan! As you can imagine, things will look different considering the precautions we must take. This letter will help you know what to expect. Our deacons and staff have the enviable task of thinking through the best solution for the greatest number of people, so if there is a precaution you don’t like ... well, we may not like it either! We’ve tried to address the concerns identified in our survey - where nearly 50% of responses stated some concern with public gatherings. We have taken that very seriously.
So, here’s what you can expect in Phase 1 of our reopening:
- We will begin meeting in our courtyard at 9 AM on Sunday June 28. Meeting outside will mitigate many concerns related to transmission. We are requesting church members to BYOC (Bring Your Own Chair). Metal folding chairs will be available if you do not have a chair. See the attached map for a visual.
- We will continue to livestream our services for those who cannot attend. There will at least be a recording of our weekly sermon while we adjust to producing our services outside.
- We will require an RSVP system and everyone we will assign seating. The courtyard has been mapped into a grid ... you could say we now have “box seating”! Pay attention for more information on our RSVP process.
- If you are mobility impaired, we will reserve parking in the gravel staff lot behind the church office. Someone will meet you there and guide you to your assigned seat. This lot may require double parking.
- All buildings will be locked, including the restrooms (except for emergencies). We will be providing a touch-free experience – so there will not be any printed worship guides available. You can either print your own at home or make use of our church app.
- We will require facial coverings. If you cannot bring your own, we will have a small supply on hand. We will not require masks on the stage.
- Social distancing protocols will be in effect. I know you want to hug folks and give handshakes ... get creative in a social distanced way! While we will not have any “official” greeting time, we can still be friendly!
- A relaxed dress code will be important since we’re meeting outside in the summer (yikes!).
- In case of inclement weather, we will revert to having the livestream only, so please stay at home.
- There will be no Sunday morning youth, children, or nursery activities in this Phase 1 plan.
- We anticipate Phase 1 lasting at least until the end of July. As that time approaches, our staff and deacons will consider next steps.
- Plans for Phase 2 and 3 will be influenced by how well we follow the protocols outlined in Phase 1 and further developments related to the spread and reduction of COVID 19.
As you can imagine, doing things this way is in some ways more difficult, but our greatest concern is the safety of our congregation. In order to execute our plan with excellence, we need volunteers. If you would be available to serve in a continuing basis to set up, tear down, or for greeting/seating, please contact the church office at email@example.com or at (803) 327-7119.
We rejoice at the prospect of seeing our brothers and sisters in Christ face-to-face! While these protocols might not be what we wished for, they are what we have and should be received by mature Christians with thanksgiving. Lord willing, I’ll see you on June 28!