May 23 Update: Asking for your input on reopening
As is so often the case in these times, almost as soon as we sent you our last update, it was out of date! In his press briefing on Friday, May 22, President Trump announced that churches should be deemed “essential” and opened for worship gatherings immediately.
So where does that leave us? Let us say right up front that while we are so excited to gather again, for the next couple of weekends our services will remain online-only. Given the size of our congregation and the multiple communities we serve, we want to be sure we take the time to open wisely and safely. A lot of moving parts go into each service at each location, and it will take a few more steps now as we follow health and safety recommendations. We have already been working on it and hope to have to the details finalized very soon. As soon as we do, we will communicate those to you!
In order to have a successful reopening, we need your help! Would you please answer this 3 question survey? Getting your feedback will help us reopen as quickly and safely as we can.
We will be following CDC guidance for houses of worship when we do reopen, and we thank you for your patience with us as we get these procedures into place. This will include:
- Asking every congregant to wear a face covering
- Not having kids ministry and student ministry meet, so families will sit together in service.
- Maintaining social distancing by seating families every 6 feet and utilizing every other row.
- Cleaning in between services and positioning hand sanitizer stations throughout our facilities.
- Switching from passing an offering plate to online or text giving or a using a giving box in the sanctuary
Again, let us reiterate that no one wants to open our doors and get back together as much as our staff does. We miss seeing all of you and worshipping together. Fortunately, that time is nearing and perhaps coming even sooner than we thought. We give thanks for that and can’t wait for the day when it arrives! In the meantime, we’ll see you online and look forward to worshipping with you then.
The Executive Team
Ken Nash, Paul Gartley, Kevin Beers, Jen Stack, Greg Niver & Ken Taylor
Below are some answers to very preliminary questions, with more to come. If you have a question you don’t see addressed, please email it to email@example.com.
Thank you for your patience, encouragement, support, and prayers during this time. We have felt it and deeply appreciate it. And we look forward to seeing you again!
What procedures are in place for our safety?
We will continue to follow state and CDC guidance by asking everyone in attendance to wear a mask or face covering. We presume there will be limits on the number of people allowed in at one time so we are exploring a ticketing or reservation system. And we will also have a seating plan to leave enough space between each family.
What about cleaning and sanitizing?
We were able to get 29 hand sanitizing stations that we have positioned around all of our campuses. Our facilities crew has thoroughly cleaned all of our buildings and we will continue to do so as the buildings are used.
Will small groups be allowed to meet before bigger weekend gatherings are allowed?
At this time, we do not have plans to open our buildings back up to groups of 10 or less. We encourage community groups and Bible studies to meet in homes or outdoors at this time as we are continuing to prepare our buildings and determine the wisest way to welcome people back.
When will kids and student ministry meet again?
Kids & student programming will not start right away as we continue to follow guidance on social distancing. When we do gather, we invite families to sit together in worship services. In the meantime, our kids and student ministry teams are working on ways to keep in touch with your families and provide quality resources. They are also working on plans for restarting their physical gatherings, and we’ll post here when we know more.
What’s the plan for communion and the offering?
We strongly encourage online or text giving to streamline the whole process and reduce points of contact. We have also transitioned from passing an offering plate to stationing giving boxes around the sanctuary so you can drop in your offering without touching a shared object. We are also finalizing plans to serve communion without passing a tray.
What's Been Rescheduled?
- The Women's Retreat has been rescheduled for November 6-8, 2020. All funds paid into the weekend originally planned for March will be applied to this new date.
- Iron Sharpens Iron is rescheduled for November 7, 2020.
- Zambia work trip has been moved to October. More details will come over the next few months.
We will continue producing online services and content. So anyone who is high-risk or just not comfortable returning quite yet, rest assured that your church family will continue to meet you where you are so you can worship at home.
Also if you are interested in joining a community group at this time, that is still possible! Gathering with a few other believers might be just what you need to continue through this difficult season. Please email Kim Smith to see how you can get connected.