Return to Worship
Dear Church Family,
After much discussion, planning and prayer, we have decided to return to onsite worship beginning August 9, but under very careful guidelines.
We realize there are risks involved, but this is important for several reasons:
First, with the public schools opening, and with businesses and organizations doing likewise, we cannot remain unendingly closed.
Second, Christians need to gather for worship and community. Such is an essential element of our faith.
Third, our virtual church can only carry us so far. Come August 9th, it will be 5 months since we were together for worship. It looks like Covid-19 is here to stay, so we need to begin to come back together, as safely as possible, as a church community.
We also fully understand and appreciate that many will choose to remain at home for the time being. There are a variety of reasons and concerns for this, and all are valid! We respect everyone’s right to choose what is best for their family and themselves, and we will continue to offer Livestream and radio for the benefit of those who wish to worship from home.
Our guidelines are reasonable given the situation. By following these, we will be just as safe in our sanctuary as in the grocery store, pharmacy, medical center, or in those essential places we must venture to live. There is always a risk when venturing out in public. However, coming together with all the precautions in place, makes us just as safe, if not safer than going to a restaurant, grocery store, or home improvement stores.
For those attending in person, onsite worship will resume August 9 at 11:00 am. If your Sunday school class has been holding Zoom meetings at 10:00, please shift your class so that it is over by 10:30 am or meet at another time as determined by your class.
Once we get back into the flow of worship, we will begin to look at opportunities for Sunday school classes and small groups to begin to meet in the building with safety guidelines remaining in place and to be adhered to.
We will initially set a top number of 260 for the 11:00 am onsite service (our sanctuary can hold 634 and with 6ft distancing we can seat 260 comfortably). The balcony will be for the tech team, security and their families to start, unless we need additional room once the floor is full. We encourage our members to invite visitors and If we have more than 260 who wish to attend we can add additional service times.
The guidelines are found below. These are not negotiable. Attendees must adhere to these guidelines for everyone’s safety:
- Please review your pre-service checklist before venturing out from home
- Plan to arrive between 10:30 and 11:00 am
- Masks are required. Put on masks before leaving your vehicle
- If you do not have a mask, we will provide them at the sanctuary door.
- Congregants should not remove masks at any time during worship
- Speakers and singers may remove masks while leading worship since spacing will be adequate for protection
- They will wear masks when not leading, no exceptions
- Speakers and singers will be seated on the stage and the first row of pews
- Congregants will not sing during the service. Singing is one of the most likely means of spreading the virus in that it emits more air and requires a different type of vocalization
- Music will be provided by our music teams
- The balcony will be closed for the protection of those working there (sound technicians, video technicians, projection technician) and security until needed and then masks and 6ft distancing will be enforced from all who are seated
- Enter only from the side door by the portico (we will have greeters stationed at the door to welcome you as well as nurses with sanitizer and extra masks if you forget yours)
- Keep six feet (6 ft.) of distance between you/your family and others, including while waiting in line to enter the sanctuary
- You will go down the hall past the library and bathrooms and turn left to enter the sanctuary
- An usher will help you find seating once you enter the sanctuary
- We will maintain ample spacing between pews, skipping every other pew in order to maintain social distancing
- HVAC fans will be set to run continuously, so a sweater might be advisable for those sensitive to cool air.
- Children of all ages are welcome to worship, but they must remain with their parents
- A parent should accompany children under age 12 to the bathroom
- Nurseries will not be provided
- We suggest parents bring activities for younger children, especially washable markers or crayons
- The children will not come forward during Steve’s children’s time during the service
- We cannot sterilize the bathrooms between uses. So when using our restrooms the lights will remain on and please use proper hygiene practices before entering back into the sanctuary
- The water fountains are disabled as a further precaution
- At the end of the service, ushers will dismiss from the rear to the front, one row at a time
- Everyone will exit through the narthex of the church
- All doors will remain open during and after the service
- An offering plate will be located at the exit on a table. Simply drop your offering in the plate if you wish
- This is yet another opportunity to consider online giving, available at https://www.fbcgalax.org/giving/
- This one is hard, but so important! No hugging, kissing, etc…
You will notice a few changes when you arrive. First, all Bibles and hymnals have been removed from the sanctuary. Health experts note that these are susceptible to holding germs, so we have put those into storage until Covid-19 has passed.
The golf cart will be available to pick you up and take you back to your vehicle for those who need assistance. Our drivers will be wearing face coverings and the golf cart will be sanitized after each use by our team.
Even under less than ideal circumstances, we are excited to reopen onsite worship. May God’s blessings be with us as we seek to accomplish His will during these very unusual times.
In Christ’s love,
Congregation will be informed of re-opening procedures in several ways so that everyone feels safe and comfortable returning
- Social Media
- Phone calls
- Facebook viewing will still be available for those who prefer to remain at home.
- Those who plan to attend will have a “checklist” to make sure they are well,
- Such as check family members’ temps, monitor for respiratory and GI symptoms, etc., and stay home if any symptoms are present.
Upon Arrival for Services
- The doors will open at 10:30 AM
- Outside doors will remain open to promote air circulation the entire time we are together
- Enter through the portico door only by the church offices
- Golf cart may be used to ferry from parking lots if needed and can be sanitized in between trips
- Nurses will be at entrance and posted at various locations to dispense hand sanitizer
- Masks will be required and will be available
- Gloves will be available and optional
- Attendees will be encouraged to use their own cloth masks
- Nurses, greeters, deacons will be masked and gloved
- Shaking hands/hugging will be discouraged.
- Seating will be staggered so that social distancing can be maintained
- Some roping will be used to divide the longer pews
- The balcony will be available for seating with entrance from one side and exit down the other side for the tech team and their families to start
- All sections for seating will be 6ft apart
- The only ones allowed in the tech team area will be those who are working the sound, projection and video (the couch is off limits)
- Staff will be available to help with safe seating
- The hallway from portico to sanctuary, sanctuary, narthex, and balcony will be the only areas accessible
- This includes restrooms in these areas
- Pew Bibles, hymnals, pencils will be removed from pew backs.
- Family members should sit together, and parents should make sure kids remain seated during the service
- Congregational singing will be suspended for the time being
- Offering plates will not be passed—baskets will be available in a central location at all the exit locations and will be sanitized before every service
Upon Exiting the Facility
- Exit through the front and side doors of the sanctuary
- The side doors can be used where fewer steps would facilitate exit for older folks
- Exit back through the wing to the portico will be available if inclement weather causes the need to do so
- Hanging around after the service in the sanctuary/building is discouraged
- However, fellowship in the parking lot and on the grounds with social distancing is encouraged
- All pews will be wiped down and sanitized
- All railings and windowsills will be sanitized
- All doorknobs and handles will be sanitized
- All carpeting will be vacuumed
- All equipment, mics, computers, etc. will be sanitized
- Any flooring surface that is not carpet will be mopped and sanitized
- All bathrooms will be sanitized from the Narthex as well as the main hallway that is being used for entrance and exits into the sanctuary
- Check everyone’s temperature and if it is higher than 100.4, we ask everyone in the household to remain at home and watch our service online or listen on the radio
- Monitor for cough, fever, chills, respiratory symptoms, and GI symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting
- Please stay home if any symptoms are present
- Please use the bathroom just prior to leaving your home
- Talk with children about remaining seated for the entire service
- Bring your own masks and be prepared to wear them for the entire service (Masks will be available if needed)
- Water fountain will not be available
- Visiting with others at a safe distance should be done outside the building so that the flow of foot traffic is not slowed.
- Please stay home if you feel the least bit uncomfortable, and engage with us on-line
The video below, prepared by Pastors Kevin & Steve, will show you what to expect when you come Sunday morning. We look forward to seeing you!