A Plan for Returning to In-Person Worship

Since March 22, and for the last 13 weeks, we have faithfully attended to online-only worship. We have sought to meet the spiritual, emotional, and practical needs of our people as best we can in an unprecedented time.

Over these weeks, our leadership has regularly met to reassess our current reality, monitor our progress, and consider the best practices for moving forward. With the continued relaxing of the state’s stay-at-home orders and the positive healthy progress of our own community, Church Council met on June 25 and unanimously approved returning to in-person worship—in addition to continuing online worship—beginning Sunday, July 5.

Below are some details on what this will look like:
1. Date

a. We will begin in-person worship Sunday, July 5.

2. Worship service details

a. We will begin with one, 45-minute service at 9:00am in Worship and Life (W&L).
b. This worship experience will be a blended contemporary/traditional service, just like what we’ve been doing online since March 22.
c. That service will be both in-person and live-streamed so that people have the option of worshipping together in either way.
d. As demand increases, a second service can be added at 10:30 or 11:00—ensuring enough time for proper spacing and cleaning between services.
e. Worship & Life would be set up at 25% capacity, which is 162 people.
f. The South Sanctuary can be set up for overflow capacity of 40 people. The service would then be live-streamed in that space.

3. Protection procedures

a. Seating will be distanced and is currently set up as such.
b. Masks will be required (and provided if need be).
c. There will be no corporate singing.
d. We will maintain distance between the speakers and singers and the congregation.
e. We will communicate an exit procedure to ensure people disperse with distance.
f. The airflow of the room will be exchanged in entirety every 30 minutes.
g. There will be no coffee or social gathering time before or after the service.
h. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and that the staff and volunteers will continue to plan for a variety of other details regarding safety and sanitation.

4. What about kids?

a. We will have a children’s sermon during the service.
b. However, we will not have Sunday School, nursery, or other children’s activities outside of the worship service. During worship, we’ll encourage kids to stay with the adult/s that brought them.

5. Pre-registering for worship

a. While we acknowledge the awkwardness of this, we are asking people to sign-up in advance. This will allow us to track capacity, plan ahead, and know who is in attendance.
b. We also acknowledge the missional discomfort with this idea, and sign-up spaces would be reserved for guests and walk-ins.
c. We will be using our Kidcheck program for this pre-registration (for all adults and kids), and instructions on that are found at the bottom of this document.

6. How long?

a. We are in an odd an extraordinary time. We have no idea how long this pandemic—and its many social, financial, and emotional implications—might last. Therefore, we will continue to monitor and assess as we move forward. These decisions and plans are ever-fluid according to our changing reality.
b. As such, it is possible that at some point we will have to move back to online-only worship. We acknowledge and are fully prepared to do that.
c. The plan for returning to in-person worship will be in effect only as long as it is safe to do so.
d. Lastly, thank you for your trust as we seek to be good stewards of everyone’s health and wellness as well as meet people’s needs.

7. Instructions on pre-registering

a. If you do not have a Kidcheck account, you will need to create one at https://go.kidcheck.com/signin, or you can download the Kidcheck App.
b. When you create your account, make sure to add all your family members—including adults—in the “add a new child” area. This is also the case if you already have a Kidcheck account.
c. Once your account is created, use the following link to register for the July 26th service, https://go.kidcheck.com/webforms/eventregistration. There will be a new link posted Monday each week.
d. Should you have any trouble or questions about registration, please call the church office at 217-359-3631.
e. If you plan to attend in-person, we are asking you to pre-register. We know this is awkward but feel it is in everyone’s best interest, as it will allow us to cap our capacity. Thank you for your understanding.