letter from Pastor Jim on Re-Opening our church
Your pastor and elders have been monitoring the Wuhan Coronavirus situation in our community, spent considerable time in discussions and sought the Lord’s direction in prayer. We wanted to let you know that we have decided to begin the phased reopening of our church on Sunday, June 7th.
A number of factors have entered into the decision:
- According to the reporting of the Central District Health Department, cases of the Wuhan Coronavirus have decreased for the past 3 weeks. In addition, Governor Ricketts has announced that Hall county will enter into Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan on June 1st which will loosen restrictions on businesses (Click Here To Read The Governor’s Statement).
- About one third of our congregation is unsure about when they will come back to church, so waiting a couple more weeks will help to provide greater clarity to the situation. I want to thank everyone who responded to the survey you received regarding reopening. Your responses were helpful!
- We need additional time to set up the equipment necessary to allow permanent video streaming on Facebook Live and radio transmission of the service into our parking lot via an FM transmitter. An additional two weeks will help that to take place as well.
We will approach the reopening of the church in phases. Phase one (listed below) presents the steps necessary to allow us to begin meeting again. This will lead to the next phase as restrictions are lifted in our community. Here is an explanation of what will be taking place initially:
We will provide multiple worship service options:
- 2 worship services (9 AM and 10:30 AM) will be offered in the building. There will be limited seating in order to allow family units/individuals to be seated 6 feet apart and social distancing will have to be maintained.
- A radio transmission of both services will be available in our west side parking lot (by the Verizon tower). If you don’t feel comfortable coming into the building, you can park and listen on your vehicle’s radio.
- Streaming of the 10:30 AM worship service will continue on Facebook Live.
Heightened sanitation practices:
- Sanitizing will take place before and after services.
- Hand sanitizing stations will be provided in the foyer and sanctuary.
- Proper social distancing will be practiced with no greeting during the service and no handshaking or hugging.
- There will be no coffee station or use of the drinking fountains.
- Offerings will be collected in offering boxes at the doors and an online giving option is being prepared.
- Extensive deep cleaning of the building has been completed including professional cleaning and sanitizing of the carpets and chairs.
We do want to emphasize that we are taking the necessary precautions by cleaning, sanitizing and social distancing. We cannot, however, completely eliminate the risk of exposure. By attending a service in our church building or any ministry activity, you are assuming a risk that may result in exposure to infectious and communicable diseases. That is true during this pandemic or at any time.
There will not be any children’s church or nursery during the initial stages of the transition. Unfortunately, the CDC guidance for childcare is too extensive for us to comply with in the current situation.
At-risk individuals and those with any symptoms of illness will be strongly encouraged not to attend services in the building.
We are thankful that the situation is improving in our community and are praying for your protection and well-being. Although the first phase of our transitional plan to reopen is not ideal, it is a first step that will lead to better days ahead. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me or one of the elders.