Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question below to display the answer. This page will be updated as new questions arise.
We plan to begin by offering one service at 10:30 AM on Sunday, June 7.
No, which is why we are planning to add an additional service on Sunday mornings at 9 AM as soon as it is needed to accommodate all who want to worship in-person.
To help us be able to seat people at their preferred worship service, we will be asking all worshipers to make advanced reservations for the service they hope to attend. We also plan to open the Chapel as a video overflow room to help us deal with surprises, just in case (more details to come soon).
Yes. Both the CDC and the State of Georgia strongly urge all those who are part of the at-risk population (over 65 and/or medically vulnerable) to continue worshiping online for the foreseeable future. Livestreaming and other types of online gatherings will continue to be important tools for keeping our at-risk members connected and engaged in the life of the church.
Yes. The recommendation of the CDC is that worshipers two years old and up wear face masks or coverings when at church. While this is inconvenient, it is important for several reasons:
- They will help us love each other better: masks help protect others from us in close quarters, should we be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carriers of the coronavirus
- They will help us love our neighbors as ourselves: masks are one small thing we can do to help reassure our guests that we are committed to providing a safe place for them as well as for ourselves
- They will even help us love God better in our worship, especially by allowing us to sing with greater freedom than we might otherwise.
- Worshipers will only be allowed to sit with other members of the same household (or extended family) and must leave at least 3 empty chairs between their household and the next on the same row. (We also plan to remove every other row of chairs on each side of the sanctuary and in the balcony to provide the necessary 6 feet of separation front to back.)
- Worshipers will be asked to wait outside the building before the service until seated by an usher.
- Worshipers will enter through the main doors in the foyer and use the center aisle as they follow an usher to their seats.
- After the service, ushers will dismiss the congregation by households and rows, using only the side aisles, doors, and exits to leave the building immediately.
This is necessary to allow adequate time to clean and prepare the foyer, restrooms, and sanctuary for the next service.
- Worshipers will be encouraged to practice physical distancing while fellowshipping in the courtyard and the parking lot.
- The playground will remain closed for the time being until local communities and schools reopen theirs.
Rather than pass an offering basket hand to hand during the service, worshipers will be able to leave their gifts in an offering box mounted inside the sanctuary at each exit door. You will also be able to continue to give by mail, by scheduled giving through your bank, or online at the Giving page of the church website.
Sadly, our practice of the Lord’s Supper will need to change for a while. In the beginning, we will practice contactless communion using prepackaged communion sets containing both the bread and the juice. Worshipers will need to pick up enough sets for all communicants in their family as they enter the sanctuary for the service.
The simplest answer is, we don’t know yet. We envision a gradual ramping up of our capabilities to clean, maintain, structure, and staff a fully functioning children’s ministry in the safest way possible by the time the kids go back to school and childcare, if not before. In the meantime, we plan to abbreviate the services and provide additional worship resources for families to accommodate the children staying with us the entire time.
We are already at work sprucing up the grounds and sanitizing the building so that when we return to campus, everything will have been thoroughly cleaned and ready for use. We are also at work lining up the plans, processes, and personnel that we will need to clean before and after any room that is used both on the Lord’s Day and during the week. In addition, we are working to make touchless hand-sanitizer units available at all sanctuary entrances and exits. Finally, we are already at work laying in the supplies of hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks we will need to provide protection for our volunteers and staff as they serve the rest of us.
In addition to the guidance offered by the governor’s office, the Session has decided to use the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith as our standard of care as we prepare to reopen. While these guidelines do not have the force of law—nor were they intended to—we believe they do represent the best professional counsel available to us as we seek to help both the members of our congregation and our neighbors in the wider community be safe and feel safe when they gather here for worship and ministry.
No one knows, though we are confident that “God works all things”—including this pandemic—“together for good for those who love Him, who are the called according to His purpose.” In the meantime, we will need plenty of patience, faith, and flexibility as we walk together as a church family in the days ahead.