On Returning to In-Person Worship
Dear Friends and family of Patterson Community Church, June 28, 2020
As things begin to open back up in this time of Covid-19, we too are considering ways in which we might be able to return to in-person worship at the church. There is a lot of preparation needed in order to be able to do this, but the Church Council is committed to taking the necessary precautions to do it as safely as possible.
First off however, we are asking for everyone to consider their comfort level regarding going back out and returning to church, as our first priority is for all to be healthy, safe, and comfortable. According to CDC Guidelines and the leadership of the Church, we encourage all who are over the age of 60, or who have underlying health issues to stay at home and continue to take advantage of our online YouTube service which will still be posted each week. We cannot force anyone to come or to stay home, but we ask that you please carefully consider if going back out into public at this time is a wise decision for you. Please know that we respect whatever decision you make, but we want you to be safe and to feel comfortable.
In preparation for a return to in-person worship at the church, the Council has agreed on the following steps and procedures:
- We will implement a regular weekly cleaning and sanitizing procedure for the sanctuary.
- There must be one-way traffic flow into and through the church, with entry in the front door and exit through the side/ramp door (Exceptions may be made for those in need of the ramp for entry and exit).
- All attending will need to wear masks for the duration of the service (if you do not have a mask, we will provide one for you).
- We have been instructed to hold a shorter service (about a half hour or so) with some music, a message, and a time for prayer. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to permit congregational unison prayer (including the Lord’s Prayer) or congregational singing or humming.
- The sanctuary will be clearly marked out for seating with 6’social distancing between individual chairs (family units may sit together). Individuals are asked to remain in their designated spot for the duration of the service.
- The music team will continue to provide music and will have assigned and labeled microphones and a minimum of 12’ between musicians and the congregation (musicians will remain seated in front of the stage during the service with physical barriers between them on the sides.
- Offering plates will be located by the front and rear doors.
- We are not able to celebrate the Lord’s Supper yet but will do so when able.
- We cannot permit use of bathrooms across the street.
- We will hold attendance to the number of 6’ spaces marked out (should be about 40 total).
- We will be screening individuals as they enter with required NYS Covid-19 related questions and a temperature check if they did not do it at home (if you took your temperature at home and it was below 100.4 degrees that morning you will need to sign a list saying you did so. We will have a sensor thermometer available it you did not or forgot). Note: If your temperature is over 100.4 degrees please do not come as we will not be able to allow you to come in.
- We cannot permit any socializing before or after the service either indoors or out (outdoor conversations must be brief if at all while maintaining social distancing).
- We will not be able to use the ceiling fans.
- Windows and doors must be open during service.
- No bibles or bulletins will be available to be used by the congregation (unless someone wants to bring their own bible and keep it in their possession at all times).
- We cannot permit any physical contact between individuals (no hand shaking or hugs, etc.).
- The Council is charged with making sure all of these requirements are adhered to.
In conclusion, we are so sorry it has to be this way for now, however the virus is nothing to fool around with and temporary discomfort is far better than illness for, or loss of one of the members of our family. A member of Council will be calling you in the next couple of days to go over these points and to answer any questions you may have. Please let them know if you are planning on coming back for in-person worship when they give you a call.
Thanks and blessings, pastor david