Dear Center Church,
We are excited to announce that we are reopening in-person Sunday morning worship services on September 13th! 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. This is great news! It has been our joy to live stream our Sunday services these past 6 months for you all, but it’s just not the same as being together. The purpose of this letter is to go over a few details on how exactly this will look.
We will meet at our regular 10 a.m. service time. The size of Center Church, combined with the fact some families will choose to wait to join our corporate gatherings, should allow us to be able to comfortably meet at Hayes Elementary and comply with the 50% capacity guideline. This means we are able to have 50% of the maximum capacity in the gym at Hayes, which is 140 people, so we’re able to accommodate 70 people.
We will continue to offer a streaming option for those whose preference or need is 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 and are 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.
- We will institute a strict practice to dismiss outdoors quickly and efficiently following the service. Once outdoors, we’d ask that you move away from the exit door but feel free to hang out and connect with others, as you’re comfortable.
- 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. We will also place the music at the very end of our service so that folks can move outside.
- 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.
- 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. When feasible, we will leave the gym setup.
- We will be offering some abbreviated kid’s ministry options…
- Children will be in class for 30-35 minutes. They will go to class during Community Time and will come back during announcements.
- 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.
- Nursery: we will NOT be offering a staffed nursery, however we will provide a space where parents can bring and supervise their children. We intend to have a video feed in this room so parents can follow along with the service.
- We will also provide a room for nursing mothers.
- Preschool: we will be utilizing the cafeteria at Hayes which will allow us ample space for social distancing. We will monitor the number of volunteers to ensure we have sufficient coverage each Sunday.
- Masks will not be required for children in this class.
- K-2: This class will continue, as normal, although we will seat the students at family-specific tables in the classroom.
- Masks will be required for children in this class.
- 3rd-5th Grade: We will continue this class with social distancing protocols.
- Masks will be required for children in this class.
- We will require teachers/volunteers to wear masks.
- 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 (email@example.com).
Thanks all! Looking forward to gathering with you again soon!