Updated: June 8, 2020, at 5:15 p.m.
The church has always been, and will always be, manifest through the gathering of God’s people, rather than a building. As your pastor, I desire for each of you to continue to seek the Lord and experience the green pastures of spiritual growth he has provided in the smaller home worship gatherings among LifeGroups, friends, and families we’re encouraging right now.
At the same time, in our church survey, a majority responded saying how eager we are to gather again as a larger group. The feedback we received from that survey, helped us plan for what worshipping together at our facility would look like. We have identified June 25 & 28 as the dates we hope to return to worshiping together in-person in our facility. We plan to offer five identical, 1-hour services in the worship center each week (two on Thursday and three on Sunday) featuring live worship and preaching. Each service will be limited to 320 people in the worship center and you will be asked to register in advance for each service to ensure that we maintain appropriate room capacity.
In order to help you prepare for returning to worship together at our facility, these are our plans…
– Please be aware that our dates to return to worship in our facility could change as we continue to monitor CDC and PA recommendations. So, we plan to confirm those dates at least one week in advance, by June 18.
– To begin, services will be held on Thursdays at 6 p.m. & 8 p.m. and Sundays at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. & 12 p.m. And for planning purposes, please note that masks will be required for everyone entering our facility for the Sunday 8 a.m. service. (More info below.)
– We will all register in advance for services so we will know in advance when a service is full. Instructions on how to register for services will be included in future communication.
– We will continue to provide the worship service online Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. for those who are not yet ready to join us in-person.
At the Service
– Many mitigation efforts will be made from CDC and PA guidelines, including propping doors open, sanitizing spaces between services, and suspending coffee service.
– Rows will be spaced much further apart, and parties will also be asked to sit with three vacant chairs between them to ensure adequate social distancing.
– Offering boxes will be available that are easily accessible, and we will temporarily forego any other practices that require physical contact with one another.
– The CDC does currently “encourage [the] use of cloth face coverings among staff and congregants” for communities of faith. So, we strongly encourage attendees to wear masks for all our worship services. However, masks will be required for everyone entering our facility for the Sunday 8 a.m. service.
– Children will remain with parents in the sanctuary during the first few weeks of worship services.
– Awesome Adventure is preparing to offer programming during multiple service times starting on July 19 with protocols that reduce social contact and maximize sanitation. More information and required registration details will be forthcoming.
During this transitional time, we are not initially planning to re-engage Fellowship Groups, student ministry, and other typical Sunday morning programs due to a couple of factors. We are prioritizing our facility crews’ efforts on sanitizing the worship center and children’s ministry areas between every service—and Awesome Adventure will need “all hands on deck” to staff and run our children’s ministry during this transitional time.
Changes and adjustments to these plans will likely be needed along the way, so please remain flexible with us. And finally, we recognize that everyone has different comfort levels in regard to returning to worship together at our facility, so these plans do require all of us to embrace and grow in the value of sacrificing for one another.
Seeking the good of the West Shore and beyond for the glory of Christ,