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Outdoor Gathering

 

We are very excited to continue to gather on Sunday mornings at 10 am. Connecting face-to-face with one another is a priceless gift we have all come to appreciate more deeply.
 
Our present reality changed church habits that brought us comfort through their familiarity and predictability.    
 
As a church family, one indication of our spiritual and emotional health is the capacity to adjust, to be flexible, and to be patient with change. 
 
That functionality has been tested and will continue to be stretched as we move back towards meeting together in circumstances unfamiliar to us.  
 
This communication, along with the above video, is intended to prepare us for re-gathering. There will be hiccups along the way--but lots of love will get us through it.
 
On the survey, one of the things that thrilled us was your eagerness to meet under any circumstance. Well, friends, here we are!  
 
Let’s get right into the details you will need for this Sunday. Also, be sure to view the attached video.     
 
In-Person Service FAQs
 
When does the service begin and how long will it last?  

  • The service will begin at 10am and last one hour. We encourage you to come at 9:30am so you can park, set up, greet others, and be ready to go by 10am. We will be uploading Sunday service info onto the YouVersion Bible app. Please download the app ahead of time, and click here to access the Sunday service event. 

 
Where are we meeting? 

  • We are meeting outside in the southeast corner of the parking lot. (Check out the video.)

 
Why are we meeting outside? 

  • We believe meeting outside is safer and gives us an optimal experience, including fellowship and singing.

 
Why choose the parking lot rather than the grassy area behind the church? 

  • First, all of this is fluid. We will make adjustments along the way. The way it looks at the end of the summer could be different. A primary concern currently is providing shade as we roll deeper into the summer. We also preferred 10am as the optimal meeting time for this reason. Balancing our beginning time with finding shade landed us in the southeast corner. 

 
Are you expecting us to sit six feet apart?

  • Yes, though of course family units can sit together.

 
How many people do we expect? Do I have to register?  

  • Several weeks ago, we made projections on how many would come. The situation changes so rapidly that it is very difficult to estimate attendance. Because we are outside, we are not asking people to pre-register. We will adjust each week as we get a better grasp on attendance. 

 
What should I bring? Where will I sit? 

  • We encourage you to bring things like sunglasses, hats, and water bottles. You will also need to bring your own chair or blanket to sit on. There is also a grassy area along the tree line that is available. 

 
Will we still take communion? Will there be an offering?

  • Yes. We will continue to experience the Lord’s Supper on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month. The elements will be pre-packaged and can be picked up at entry points into the seating area. As for the offering, there will be a box available at the main entry point, or you can continue to give on-line. 

 
What about song lyrics, bulletins, and Scripture notes?

  • We will be uploading all of those onto the YouVersion Bible app. Please download the app and click here on your device to access the Sunday service event. You will also be able to give your offering through the app. 

 
Is there Cross Crew or childcare?

  • In this first phase of our re-gathering, there will not be any childcare or Cross Crew. We hope to move in that direction as the situation changes and parents feel more comfortable.    

 
Where will I park? 

  • You will be directed where to park by a parking team. (Check out the video.)      

 
Will there still be handicapped parking and special parking for older members? 

  • Yes. There will be spots reserved close to the seating area.

 
Can our kids play on the playground?

  • Yes, but they must be supervised by at least one parent (per family). 

 
What if I don’t feel comfortable returning? Will there still be an on-line option?

  • Yes. We understand that some of you are not comfortable returning to an in-person service. The service will be recorded and prepared for viewing on Sunday afternoon. It will be available on our website at 6pm on Sunday evening.    

 
What if there is rain in the forecast?

  • We will use email and the website to communicate changes. We may cancel a service as early as Saturday night if a high percentage of heavy rain is in the forecast. There may also be some late cancellations. We will do our best to communicate to you with advance notice. Please know that sometimes that may not be possible. There will likely be some frustrating moments for all of us. All will need patience, grace, and flexibility.   

 
Finally, there will be some canopies to provide shade on the perimeter of the seating area, available for our older members or, if not taken, for anyone.
 

Health-Related FAQs
  
Are you continuing to encourage Social Distancing (i.e., six feet apart, no hugs, no shaking hands)? 

  • Yes.

Why?  

  • This is still a guideline of the CDC. Also, COVID-19 cases in Ohio have leveled off but are not decreasing significantly. There are still an average of nearly 500 cases a day. Cases and deaths in Franklin County continue to be the highest in the state. Please try to see this from a larger perspective. It would be a terrible thing if a member of our church contracted the illness here; or if an outbreak was traced back to our church. We do not anticipate that, nor are we driven by fear. Otherwise, we would not meet. But we also do not want to be guilty of tempting God or being foolish.           

 
Should at-risk members stay home? 

  • In terms of health, please self-assess before coming. Stay home if you are ill or have a fever. We encourage at-risk members to be cautious.    

 
Can we use the inside of the church? 

  • Yes. The Fellowship Hall door will be open, for access to the building. The bathrooms will be available. We installed a water filling station at one of the lobby water fountains just prior to COVID. You can fill your water bottle there. There will be no access to childcare rooms/hallways, but there are changing tables in both lobby bathrooms. Please do not fellowship inside the church. For everyone’s safety, we ask you to minimize inside trips. Masks should be worn inside the building.

 
Do I need to wear a mask?

  • It is your choice whether or not to wear a mask at the outdoor service. Some will, some will not. Masks are required inside the building.   

 
General FAQs
 
Have we contacted our neighbors?   

  • Yes. We sent a letter to approximately 100 of our neighbors to make them aware of what we are doing and to invite them to join us. We also affirmed that we will be monitoring the sound to keep within city ordinances. We hope to be a witness to our community by being a good neighbor. That is another reason we encourage you to practice social distancing. 

 
Finally, please know, the church cannot mitigate all risks. In coming to church, you are taking a measure of risk of exposure to COVID-19. We are not suggesting it is foolish or unwise. Nor it is a greater risk than many other activities the governor has authorized to re-open. As church leaders, we believe this is the right time for us to re-gather. We urge you to have and act upon your own thoughtful convictions. 
 
We know that all of you long to return, and many believe they can wisely return. We are so excited to see you on Sunday. Pray for good weather! For those who deem it wise to wait, we understand, and we are for you. We look forward to the day when this disease abates and we can all be together.
 
May His Kingdom Come,

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Pastor Chris