Safety Guidelines for Church Re-opening
Hello Church Family,
Yes, we are finally to the point of reopening the church for those who feel safe to attend beginning THIS SABBATH, JULY 4TH! It seems like an appropriate date to "Declare our Independence!" I had announced this on Sabbath and here is your promised email with the guidelines for attendance as we reopen.
We will have a number of safety measures in place such as the following. Over time we will be able to relax these measures as the COVID virus subsides.
- Masks MUST be worn inside the building by EVERYONE except those on the platform while leading out when outside the 10' range. Masks will be provided for anyone who needs one.
- We have a non-touch infrared thermometer and will have someone stationed inside the front doors to check each individual as you enter. Folks with a temperature over 100 degrees will not be allowed to stay. If you think you may have a fever, check yourself at home, please.
- Anyone with a fever, or who has been exposed to COVID by first-hand contact should not attend.
- Handshaking and hugs are strongly discouraged as appropriate social distancing needs to be observed. (I know, I miss the human contact as well!)
- There will be a person at the door to open it, or it will be propped open so that minimal touching of door handles is achieved. When entering and exiting the sanctuary, think of street traffic, and use the door to the right.
- We have plenty of hand sanitizer and gloves for when needed.
- Seating will be in every other pew row with a 6' distance maintained in the pews between family units or individuals. They will be marked with the same signs that we use for Communion.
- Remain seated at the conclusion of worship for dismissal row by row starting FROM THE BACK ROW. Do not congregate in the foyer but exit the building as quickly as possible.
- No bulletins will be provided until again safe to do so.
- The offering will not be collected by the deacons but instead, we will have a place to deposit it just inside and between the sanctuary doors.
- Hymnals and pew Bibles are temporarily removed and words to the hymns will be projected onto the screen.
- We have purchased a disinfectant misting machine so that the entire building will be thoroughly sanitized between uses.
- All children and youth Sabbath Schools will continue to be on Zoom only. We ask that children remain with their parents while in the building as it is really hard to expect them to remember to social distance. Yes, this means no onsite children's Sabbath School.
- Adult Sabbath School will be held in the sanctuary as to minimize areas used.
- Facebook Live will be ongoing as we now have a new Mevo Camera and Zoom will be offered yet for a while as well.
I want to make it abundantly clear that there will be no judgment towards those who don't yet feel safe to return. In fact, those over the age of 65 or who have compromised immune systems should use caution and perhaps not yet return.
Thank you all for your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time. I fully recognize that some will not like different aspects of these guidelines, and that conspiracy theories and opinions abound, but please remember that we are responsible for providing as safe of an environment as possible in order to provide safety for the most concerned or susceptible. We intend to follow our government's recommendations and guidelines during this pandemic as counseled by Ellen White as follows from Acts of the Apostles page 69:
"We are to recognize human government as an ordinance of divine appointment, and teach obedience to it as a sacred duty, within its legitimate sphere."
"We are not required to defy authorities. Our words, whether spoken or written, should be carefully considered, lest we place ourselves on record as uttering that which would make us appear antagonistic to law and order. We are not to say or do anything that would unnecessarily close up our way. We are to go forward in Christ's name, advocating the truths committed to us. If we are forbidden by men to do this work, then we may say, as did the apostles, "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."