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Re-opening and Gathering Together
Marc West, chairman of the Elder Executive Board, shares Faith’s latest update regarding re-opening and gathering together. You can read more details regarding re-opening below.
Faith ChurchRe-opening after COVID-19
June 19, 2020
We are all eager to be together again! The Elder Executive Board has had extended discussion around timing and procedures for reopening church for Sunday worship. We weighed input from the reopening team, congregation and ministry leaders; guidelines from state and county officials and medical experts; and our own sense of congregational needs and concerns. We agreed to reopen for worship on Sunday, July 5.
We want to share some details around our plans for gathering:
- We will have two services at normal times – 9:00 (traditional) and 10:45 (contemporary). We discussed adjusting times or adding extra services, but we were concerned about creating a different schedule when so much else has been disrupted.
- Marion County requires 6’ social distancing in all spaces. We’ve removed every other row of seats in the worship center. Within rows, we will also need to keep a 2–chair distance between families or individuals.
- Because of limited seating we will institute a reservation sign-up system for services.
- Out of deference to those with health concerns, one service (9:00AM) will be off-limits to children. Children may attend the 10:45AM service with their families.
- There is no Sunday morning Faith Kids or Student Ministry until September. Households must sit together, including any children still living at home.
- We will livestream worship service(s) to people at home.
Other safety precautions:
- As of June 19, Marion County requires face coverings for everyone in worship (except children under 2 years of age). We will have masks for those who arrive without one.
- There will be no café service. All water fountains are turned off.
- Some bathroom sinks have been blocked off to help with social distancing.
- We will prop open entry doors, use plexiglass shields at the Welcome Center, provide touchless hand sanitizer stands throughout the building, and place sanitizing wipes in the bathrooms for people to wipe handles/surfaces they touch.
- We will not pass offering plates in worship, but we will have offering boxes outside of the worship center. We will not pass communion trays.
- Our janitorial service is following an enhanced disinfection process using a sanitizer/virucide. They are also sanitizing common touchpoint surfaces including handrails, bathroom doors/latches/handles, and baby changing stations.
We have tried to balance the need to be together again in worship with government and medical guidelines and requirements. We want to be as safe as possible, but the only way to be 100% safe is not to gather. So, use your own best judgment as to whether you will be comfortable gathering with others in worship. And knowing that we will come to different conclusions, let’s show grace to one another in decisions about safety and community.