Safety Guidelines for in-person worship during the pandemic
The safety guidelines below were last updated 5/21/2021. 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: Please enter the sanctuary through the main sanctuary doors off the smaller, north parking lot. Hand sanitizer is available, and disposable masks are too, in case you forgot yours. After the worship service is over, please promptly exit the building and converse with others OUTSIDE. Seating will be arranged for social distancing. (If outdoor worship is rained out, we will move to Jackson Hall - enter through the gym doors by the large parking lot.)
Registration: Please check-in with the greeter as you enter the building for worship, who will record your name for attendance. If this is your first time in-person, 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 with this safety check-in procedure.
Travels: If you have traveled anywhere that may have exposed you to the coronavirus, please 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, even if you have already been vaccinated. Click here for a list of symptoms: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
Face coverings and distancing: While we are indoors, we are asking everyone to wear a mask, even if you have already received the covid-19 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 For outdoor worship, masks are optional but please continue to spread out and maintain distance.
Please continue to practice social distancing from anyone who is not in your immediate household. Remember that even if you are comfortable being near others, not everyone around you feels the same way, especially since we are indoors. Keeping 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 livestream worship.
Bathrooms: The bathrooms in the church will be open, but please 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 45 minutes. We will not be shaking hands or passing around an offering plate. 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 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! NEW beginning May 30th: per updated CDC & CT recommendations, wearing a mask for outdoor worship will be optional. We still ask that you maintain distance from anyone who is not in your immediate household, and if you go inside the building, please wear a mask. There is plenty of space to spread out on the lawn, or you can also feel free to remain in your car. If it rains, we will move indoors to Jackson Hall (the church's gym), which has lots of space to spread out, and the worship service will be adjusted using our indoor safety guidelines, which includes wearing masks and maintaining distance. The service will also be livestreamed via YouTube. Please contact the church office if you have any questions about worship outside.