Safety Guidelines for in-person worship during the pandemic
The safety guidelines below were last updated 3/3/2021. Outdoor worship guidelines were added at the bottom of this page on 3/22/2021. These are based on guidance provided by the CDC, the State of Connecticut, and our insurance company. Above all, we desire to show the greatest care and concern for the most vulnerable in our midst as described in 1 Corinthians 8.
"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." ~Ephesians 5:1
Where: Doors open at 10:20am. Please enter the building through the side door by the main parking lot, which is a direct entrance to our church's gym (Jackson Hall). Hand sanitizer is available, and disposable masks are too, in case you forgot yours. After the worship service is over, you will exit Jackson Hall (the church's gym) by going towards the bathrooms and then turning left through the narthex and out the main entrance. We will have a ONE WAY route of traffic. We know many will want to hang around after worship to talk, and that is great -- we just ask that you take any conversations you would like to have OUTSIDE, as the building will close promptly. Seating will be pre-arranged for social distancing and already setup using the metal folding chairs, so you won't need to bring your own chair.
Registration: Please check-in with the greeter as you enter the building for worship. If you previously signed up online for indoor worship at least once before, your name will simply be recorded for attendance by the greeter. Otherwise, you will be given the safety guidelines to read and sign, and then the greeter will check you in. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we transition to this check-in procedure.
Travels: If you have traveled outside of Connecticut or Massachusetts in the past two weeks, please check your state of residence Travel Advisory regarding the need for self-quarantine for 10 days and/or completing a travel health form: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/travel or https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order If you have traveled to any of the places on the travel advisory and would like to participate in worship, we ask that you participate in worship AT HOME.
Symptoms: Please do NOT attend Worship IN PERSON if you, anyone in your household, or anyone you have recently come in contact with has signs of illness. Please worship at home, and let Pastor Rob know so we can pray for you! Click here for a list of symptoms: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
Face coverings and distancing: We are asking everyone to wear a mask, even if you have already received the covid vaccine. Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin; try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face. It is especially important to wear your face covering correctly while indoors together. You may find out more information about face coverings here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wear-cloth-face-coverings.html
We are also asking everyone to practice social distancing recommendations during this gathering time and remain at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your immediate household. Please remember that even if you are comfortable being near others, not everyone around you feels the same way, especially since we are indoors. Keeping at least 6 feet distance will be a very tangible sign of care for those around you. As difficult as it may be, please try to prepare yourself and your families for these recommendations. We realize it is uncomfortable, but these practices remind us of Jesus' words to care for those who are vulnerable and put their needs ahead of our own.
Those who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and those living in households with such individuals are recommended to stay at home and participate in the live stream worship.
Bathrooms: The bathrooms in the church will be open, but please only use them if you absolutely need to. Please wash your hands with soap, and allow ONE person at a time in the bathroom (unless you are from the same household).
Worship service: Our worship gathering will continue to look different than we are used to. It will be shorter - around 40 minutes. We will not be shaking hands, hugging, or handing out hymnals. An online bulletin will be available, as well as, printed copies for those who would like one. A shortened time of singing with masks will take place at the END of the service only while we are indoors; we will listen to other music at the beginning but not singing. On Communion Sundays (the first Sunday of the month) you will pick up your individual communion kit upon arriving, and we will briefly remove our masks to share in The Lord's Supper together. You may continue to give your offerings online or by mail; we will also have a drop box for your offering if you would like to contribute in that way. Even though our form of worship will be a little different than we're used to, Jesus reminds us that "where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them" -- and that includes those who worship online as well!
For Outdoor worship on the lawn: Please bring a lawn chair, wear a mask if it is safe you to do so (even if you have already received the covid vaccine), and maintain 6 feet distance from anyone who is not in your immediate household.