As the weather gets colder, we are faced with a decision: do we return to indoor worship, or switch back to livestream only? We have decided that this Sunday, we will be returning to indoor worship for the first time since March 8th.
This decision was not made lightly. We continue to recognize COVID as a serious health risk and believe we have a responsibility not to endanger our neighbors. At the same time, we also recognize that the infection rate in Tolland county is currently low, area schools have at least partially reopened, and public health regulations permit us to meet provided we follow certain protocol. All things considered, we have decided to provide an option for indoor worship while also continuing to provide our livestream.
Several actions we will be taking to help mitigate risk:
(1) We will expect everyone to wear masks at all times that they are in the building (with the exception of small children, those who are preaching or giving announcements, and those who are vocally leading worship music).
(2) Those who are speaking or singing from the front without a mask will be positioned 12 feet from anyone in attendance.
(3) Seating will be positioned so that attendees can maintain social distance from those not in their household.
(4) Attendance will be limited to 50. Given our attendance at the last several outdoor meetings, we think this will be more than sufficient seating. If substantially more people want to attend in-person than are currently doing so, we will adjust and create a weekly reservation system.
(5) Windows will be cracked open and the ceiling fans will be on in order to increase air movement. Please dress accordingly, as it may be chilly.
(6) We will not be providing coffee and the office/cafe space will not be open.
(7) We are requesting that you refrain from hugs/handshakes.
(8) Communion will continue to be provided in individual containers.
(9) We will try to keep the service to an hour (less time means less risk of exposure).
(10) We will not be handing out bulletins, message notes, pens, or Bibles.
Some questions you might be asking...
(1) Will there be singing? Yes. We recognize that singing increases risk, but we think the other precautions we are taking (masks, ventilation, distancing) make the added risk low.
(2) Will there be children's church? Not the first week, but likely in the future.
We recognize that some will not feel comfortable attending. If so, or if you are vulnerable due to age or other health risk factors, we hope you will join us on livestream. As always, if you are feeling sick please stay home and rest.
We really miss being able to see all of you in-person, and we look forward to the day when we will be able to have a full house again and not worry about things like masks and distancing. In the meantime, we encourage you to stay connected to our community through the livestream and virtual small groups (if you want to be in a group and are not currently in one, email firstname.lastname@example.org). We will get through this!
Grace & Peace,
- Ryan & Keith