Return to in-person worship

This Sunday, and throughout the rest of the summer, we will be meeting for worship at 9:30am. We will be utilizing the North parking lot of The Mill Works, which overlooks Hall’s Pond. The lot is directly behind the new mural. Parking is available in the main lot directly across from the Mills and in the overflow lot located across from the North lot. We will have our sandwich board, cones, and a greeter/crossing attendant available.

We understand that you may not be comfortable meeting in-person again yet. If so, please do not feel pressure to attend. We will continue to livestream the service while it is happening so that you have the option of worshiping from home.

To help you make your decision, we want to (1) summarize the current situation in Connecticut, and (2) explain the steps we are taking to help reduce risk of transmission during our service.

The Current situation

If you click on the links below, you can see data about coronavirus infections and fatalities in Connecticut. The trend – especially over the last month – has been good. On June 16th there were reportedly 114 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Connecticut. This is down significantly from a month prior, when 618 new cases were reported on May 16th, and even more significantly from the peak of 2,109 new cases reported on April 22nd.

We recognize that the threat of coronavirus is not over. But given the downward trend in cases and the governor's initiation of phase 2 of Connecticut's re-opening process, we believe now is an appropriate time to offer the option for in-person worship, provided that we alter our service in order to reduce the risk of transmission.

What to expect

Outdoor Worship - Experts are unanimous that the risk of transmission is much lower in open-air environments. Due to capacity limitations and CT guidelines set for Houses of Worship, we have decided to have our worship service outdoors at this time, weather permitting.

Parking - Parking will continue to be available in the main lot directly across from the Mills and in the overflow lot located across from the North lot. We will have our sandwich board, cones, and a greeter/crossing attendant available.

Physical Distance and Touch - We ask that everyone please respect a 6 ft physical distance from people outside of their household. As we come back together, we need to remember that things will be different, and everyone has a different take on all things COVID-19. We are asking that we all show one another grace. And so, for the comfort of everyone, please hold off from physical touch for now, and respect a 6 ft physical distance.

Masks - In order to ensure that everyone who attends our worship service feels safe and comfortable, and to alleviate cumbersome arrival/departure procedures, we are asking that you please wear a mask when entering and exiting the parking lot and common space.  Feel free to remove your mask once you are situated and physically distant from others. If you don't have a mask, we will have some on hand.

Outdoor Seating - Since we will be meeting outside, we ask that you bring a chair or a blanket to sit on. We will have some extra chairs, but those will be limited. If you know you will need a chair in advance, please email Pastor Keith.

Restrooms - The back door of The Mill Works will be open; once inside, proceed down the hall and you will see the restrooms in the hallway where the elevator is located. Please note, you must wear a mask when inside the building.

Sickness - If you, or anyone in your family, are experiencing signs of illness or fever the few days prior to service, we are asking that you stay home from service. Christ calls us to love our neighbor, and this is one of the ways we can do that.

Online - For the foreseeable future, you will continue to be able to worship with us virtually through our Facebook Livestream, which will also be available after service on our Youtube Page. We realize that everyone is in a different place in regard to their comfort level in larger gatherings, and respect that you are using your best judgment.

Inclement Weather - While we feel this location will work out well for us, the reality is we may run into rainy days. We will treat inclement weather like a heavy snow day. Any decision to cancel service will come Saturday evening/Sunday morning, and we will notify you through e-mail, text (if you are signed up for it through your online account) and our Facebook page. If we have to cancel, we will continue to worship online as we have been the past several months.

Order of Service/Message Notes - Our service will be shorter, as we will be eliminating a few elements. We will have some message notes/announcements and worship songs printed out and available as you enter our worship space.

Communion - We will continue to celebrate communion together each Sunday. If you plan on taking communion, we will be providing single-serve communion elements as you enter.

Sunday School - We will not be holding Sunday school at this time. Please bring some quiet activities for your child(ren) if that will be helpful to pass the time.

Offering - We continue to encourage online giving or sending offerings to the church office, but will also have a means by which to donate at our in-person service.

Prayer Requests - We will not have our open prayer request time, but ask that you send in any prayer requests to Pastor Ryan or Pastor Keith by the Friday prior to service. If anything urgent comes up between that time and Sunday, please let us know and we will include it in our pastoral prayer.