On Friday, May 29, Governor Sununu gave churches the green light to regather, and his task force released guidance for how churches may do this (Access it here.) Drawing upon the work of our own reopening committee and of our state’s reopening guidelines, we may now enter Phase One of regathering.
As we move into this new phase, please understand that if you are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 you are (according to the guidelines) “still advised to avoid group gathering for the protection of [your] own health and safety.” Further, although we are complying with federal and state guidelines, this does not guarantee that attending poses no risks to your health. We understand that you will need to decide about whether or not to attend based on your unique health situation.
We don’t know how long Phase One will last. But for now, here’s what it looks like:
To accommodate for social distancing and our capacity limit of 40%, we are offering two worship services on Sunday morning: one at 8:30, another at 10:30.
We need to know which one you plan to attend, so please use the form that is emailed weekly or call/email the church office to reserve your place.
a. Entrances. The two entrances available are (1) the front entrance, and (2) the doors by the Fellowship Hall.
b. Opening time. Doors will open 15 minutes before the starting time, and each service will last only one hour. This gives you enough time to get in and out. It gives time for a team of cleaners to do their work.
We will continue to live-stream the 10:30 am service for the benefit of those who should not, for health reasons, participate in large group gatherings.
We need to maintain social distancing between individuals not of the same household, which means avoiding handshakes and embraces.
Only foyer restrooms will be available, and only if necessary. To avoid high traffic in the restrooms, please plan accordingly.
We are not able to offer childcare and other children’s ministries. During the 10:30 service, the Fellowship Hall will be available in case you need to take your child there. (The service will also be live-streamed to the Fellowship Hall).
We will not be passing anything around. Bulletins are available online, contribution boxes will be placed in the foyer, and song lyrics will be on the screens.
Personal protective equipment.
Following the CDC’s guidelines for communities of faith, face coverings are encouraged. Face masks will be available in the foyer if you need one.
If we had a choice about the matter, none of us would have ordered COVID-19. And none of us will be completely thrilled with the measures we have taken in response to this. However, we must learn to see this as part of God’s good plan.
There are important ways God wants to change you through this. There are faith-muscles that need stretching. There are virtues—patience, love, selflessness, and humility—that need exercising, probably to a degree you’ve never had to exercise them (see Philippians 2:1-11). Let us aggressively fight the temptation to be judgmental, lazy, proud, discouraged, or fearful. And let us continue to dig deep into God’s Word, press into fellowship with one another, and reach out to those who need to hear about God’s love.
This is not all about COVID-19. And this is not all about us. Ultimately, it is about God and his glory. “From him and through him and to him are all things” (Romans 11:36). Through this “crisis,” we can continue to discover that there is more good to be found in God than in anything else. Let us cling to this and not forget it.