Our team has been working through the process of reopening our campus. We have waited to distribute a plan to our church family because we wanted to make sure that any restart plan would be done in an orderly and safe fashion and that it would conform to the social distancing and restart protocols required and recommended by our civic leaders. As much as we would like to “flip the switch” and turn everything back on, we would rather move cautiously and orderly for two reasons.
1) We believe that the principle of order mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14:40 extends beyond the Christian worship experience. When Paul wrote, “Let all things be done decently and in order,” he was reminding us that the perception of the world towards the church (whether in worship or in the way we interact with culture) affects our ability to fulfill the Great Commission. 2) We believe that the principle of loving our neighbor mentioned by Jesus throughout the gospels includes being aware of and respecting their fears. The gospel we share is not to be shared in a condescending or arrogant way, but in empathy and humility.
We have decided to approach our restart in phases using the guidelines that our civic leaders are applying to the community as a whole. We will enter phase one of our restart on Sunday, May 17. We will continue to provide a high-quality streamed service to Facebook Live and YouTube. If you are not yet comfortable with gathering in public places and prefer for now to remain sheltered-in-place, we understand completely and encourage you to continue to take advantage of our online presence.
The first phase will focus on bringing people back to the campus for a Sunday morning corporate worship experience. We will maintain strict social distancing protocols during this first phase, which means we will fill our worship space to 25% capacity and maintain six feet of separation between families. Because of limited capacity we will have overflow space where families can still be together but will watch the online video stream in one of our overflow spaces such as the fellowship hall. We will offer a 9:15 service and 11:00 service.
Separating the service times will give us extra time to clean and disinfect between services. It will also allow us to clear the campus of one group before the next group begins to arrive. We want to encourage our at-risk and senior adult population who are comfortable with coming to a worship service to come at the 9:15 service. You will be given priority seating in the main worship center.
We have attached our three-phase plan so that you will know the expectations for social distancing when you come onto the campus. A few of the changes, at least for now, include no distribution of paper bulletins, offering drop-off boxes as opposed to passing the plate, and our greeters will escort you to available seating. We have provided guidelines for phases two and three to give you an idea of how we plan to add additional programming activities in the future. There are no dates assigned to these next phases, and the details are subject to change based on Covid-19 future metrics.
Thank you for praying with us through this process. If you have any questions, please call the church office. We appreciate your patience as we seek to honor the Lord and respect our neighbors in everything we do. We look forward to seeing you on campus when you feel the time is right for you and your family. In the meantime, stay safe and stay connected.