Dear Center Church,
After reopening for a few months last fall, we have spent the last 4 months gathering virtually, but we're excited to reopen in-person Sunday morning worship services again on March 7! We have been closely monitoring the advice and guidance of the CDC, as well as the federal and state authorities which currently allow public space gatherings at 50% capacity. While it has been our joy to live stream our Sunday services over much of the last year, it’s just not the same as being together.
We will meet at our regular 10 a.m. service time.
We will continue to offer a streaming option for those who need to stay home.
Mitigating risk and socially distancing
Our goal is to mitigate risk, not eliminate it. The decisions arrived at below are a combination of best practices, CDC requirements and school district requirements for corporate gatherings in their facilities. Here are some expectations we’ll follow to help foster a safe environment:
- In accordance with the mask mandate put in place by the state of Minnesota, we will require all individuals older than 5 years old to wear a mask. We ask that you bring your own mask, although we will have some at the building if you forget or find yourself in need of one.
- Services will be approximately 60 minutes long. The order of service will be:
- Scripture reading/prayer
- Emphasis on Community
- Seating will be by family so we’ll ask that you stay at your chairs and chat with people in your proximity.
- This is also when kids will be excused to go to their classes.
- Those who are streaming will be put into breakout rooms.
- Kids will return to their families during this time.
- We will utilize the main, front door for both entering and exiting.
- Chairs will be set up in groupings for households, socially distant apart from each grouping, and households will be expected to sit together.
- We will provide limited seating for visitors. Please be conscious and aware of those who may be joining us. What can be an awkward experience has only become more so.
- We will allow for singing, however we will modify this to allow people to opt-out if they are more comfortable not being in a room with singing. To accomplish this, we will place the music at the very end of our service so that folks can step out of the gym.
- We are planning on continuing to limit our number of songs to 3 per Sunday and utilize pre-recorded worship as we begin to meet together. We will assess this further as time moves forward and are anxious to get back to live music as soon as it's feasible.
- We won’t provide communication cards or other shared resources.
- We won’t provide coffee, tea, or water. Please consider bringing your own!
- Communion will be available but in single, self-serve, pre-packaged packets available by the entrance.
- Along with the school district, we will ensure all equipment and materials used for our Sunday gathering will be cleaned before and after our service.
- We will be offering some abbreviated kid’s ministry options…
- Nursery is available all morning for children 6 weeks to 2 years (pre-registration may be encouraged to ensure a volunteer/child ratio that allows close monitoring of COVID protocols). At this time, volunteers will notify parents if a diaper change is needed.
- Classes for children 3 years and older will be 30-35 minutes. They will go to class during Community Time and will come back during announcements (Note: the 3rd-5th grade class meets on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month).
- Children can be checked in when arriving at the building, however (after receiving their name tag) they should go and sit with their family in the gym until they are dismissed. We will have a staggered approach of dismissing children to their classes during Emphasis on Community.
- We will provide a room for nursing mothers.
- Classes will employ social distancing protocols and seat children by family. Masks are required for all children older than 5 (if unmasked and masked children are in the same class, they will be separated and/or seated by family. All volunteers are required to wear masks at all times. Hands will be sanitized going into and coming out of class.
- As of right now, we have a limited number of volunteers. If someone is sick or unable to teach last-minute, it is likely that we may not have that class on a Sunday morning. If this were the case, we would do our best to communicate this reality as soon as possible.
- We ask, if you feel unsafe, or if you are at risk, or have certain pre-existing conditions, that you consider staying home and worshipping with us online. If you or anyone in your family have COVID-19 symptoms, or you know you've been exposed in the last 10-14 days, please stay home and join us online.
- Bring your own hand sanitizer. We have some at the building, but in limited supply.
- Bring a mask. We have some at the building, but in limited supply.
We understand that some may not like or will disagree with some of the protocols employed. The Gospel repeatedly calls us to lay down our preferences to serve others, in the same way Jesus has first done this for us...but in a much greater sense. Please let the Gospel empower your extension of grace to others as we gather together.
For those who are not comfortable gathering corporately at this juncture, we understand. We’ll continue to offer a streaming option for the time being. If you find yourself more willing to gather in a smaller group, we’d encourage you to consider gathering with your Community Group or other CC friends for our Sunday gathering.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to Kevin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thanks all! Looking forward to gathering with you again soon!