In-Person Worship Update- June 15, 2020
Current Tentative In-Person Sanctuary Return Date: Sunday, July 5, 2020
We miss being together in-person, but we are still the church! Thank you for your flexibility and willingness to engage in new and different ways over the past 3 months!
While we acknowledge we all miss gathering together in person for worship in particular, it is necessary to be intentional about returning to worship as safely as possible. There will be many familiar and encouraging aspects of worship, but there will also be some adjustments and precautions that will make some aspects of worship different. These adjustments and precautions are acts of loving our neighbors, both those gathered in the sanctuary and those outside our walls in the community.
Our tentative date for our return to in-person worship is Sunday, July 5. You can find details about our return plan below. The worship plan was finalized by our Executive Committee after recommendations from the worship committee as well as guidance given by public health officials and denominational resources.
Sanctuary Return Plan
First Christian Church, Georgetown, KY
Tentative Return Date: July 5, 2020
Per public health guidance, those 65 and older and/or those with underlying medical conditions and vulnerabilities are still encouraged to avoid large public gatherings at this time. We encourage you to participate in worship at home through the weekly online video in this first phase of return to the sanctuary. If viewing videos is not an option for you, we can also print and mail worship materials- contact the church office at 502-863-2049 to receive this option.
If you are running a fever, ill, or have come into contact with someone who is, we ask that you please remain home and participate through the online video as a precaution.
When you arrive for worship, you’ll encounter signage with reminders of our plan and masked greeters at each entrance that can answer any questions you may have. We’ll have masked ushers inside at the sanctuary thresholds to help you be seated in the appropriate pews.
- Physical Distancing- Please practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet from others in the parking lots, entrances, and inside the building.
- Masks- Everyone attending worship (except for small children) is required to wear a mask while at entrances and in the building. Additional masks will be available for those who do not have one of their own. If you have a medical condition or any other reason that precludes you from wearing a mask, you are encouraged to participate in worship at home through the online video.
- Entry/exit and traffic flow- There will be two entrances/exits into the sanctuary:
- Those entering from College Street will enter the back doors and be seated by an usher on the organ/pulpit side of the sanctuary, starting at the front and moving back
- Those entering from the Clinton Street entrance into the education building will enter the sanctuary through the sanctuary door on the lectern/chapel area side and be seated by an usher on the lectern side of the sanctuary, starting at the back and moving forward.
- At the end of the service, everyone will be dismissed row by row by their usher in the reverse order in which they were seated.
- These traffic flow and seating patterns are implemented to avoid congestion and close contact in our aisles.
- Seating- Attendees will be seated among six pews on either side (every third pew). The balcony and choir loft can be used for overflow. To further clarify and avoid any confusion, pews meant to be left empty for appropriate distancing will be roped off.
- Offering- Boxes will be placed just inside in the sanctuary itself at the two main entrances for people to drop off their contributions when they arrive or leave.
- Children & Worship- There will be no Children’s Moment, no nursery/childcare, and no Children’s Worship and Wonder. Children should remain in the pews with their parents for the entire service. Families are welcome to bring materials to help engage their children during worship if needed, but please remember to take all materials with you when you leave.
- Communion- Due to guidance that recommends being masked throughout worship, communion elements will not be served during the morning service. We will still have a time of remembrance in the service, but it will not involve physical communion elements. On Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m., our elders will lead a brief communion time via Zoom for those wish to participate.
- Worship music- Multiple studies and guidance show that congregational singing, even when masked, is considered a high-risk activity in congregational worship at this time. In light of that, we, like many other congregations, will not have congregational singing at this time. Dr. Cully Bell and Kelli Evans will play hymns and lyrics will be printed in the bulletin for those who wish to read and reflect on them during the instrumental hymns.
- Online worship- We will continue to offer an online option for engaging in worship even once in-person services resume. This will be offered either via livestream or a video recorded and posted later on Sunday.
- Restrooms- Restrooms located in the basement near the College Street entrance and in the nursery area restroom on the first floor will be available for use, as will the basement restrooms in education wing for those needing handicapped accessible restrooms. You are asked to wipe down all points of contact prior to leaving the restroom. Hand sanitizer and wipes (or other cleaning supplies) will be available in each restroom.
- Bulletins- Paper bulletins will be used, but you are asked to take them with you when you leave. They will be distributed in advance in seating pews by a person who is masked and gloved. We are exploring best options for having it available digitally for those who prefer a touch-free option.
- Attendance- We will be co-operating with public health officials in contact tracing should anyone attending a service test positive for COVID-19 after attending. For this reason, we will be recording the names of those attending to assist with that process.
- Service Length- Since risk increases with prolonged contact time in large groups, our worship service will be somewhat shorter than our pre-pandemic service to help mitigate that risk.
We appreciate your cooperation with these guidelines for gathering and worshipping safely. We’re looking forward to being together in these ways even as we realize different people will both need and want to engage in different ways as we move through the next phases of response to the pandemic. We have still been the church the past months of the pandemic and will continue to be moving forward as well! We’re grateful for you!