Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
I know that the last few months have been trying for all of us. We have experienced a great variety of challenging experiences in very quick succession. The decision to cancel church services was not one that was taken lightly. Likewise, the decisions surrounding opening our building back up are not being taken lightly.
Our church is blessed with a variety of professionals from the medical community, and several of these professionals have been working with us to process the details of re-entry into our building. Their expertise has been invaluable as we approach this task. We have processed the challenges of entry into the building, our limited seating capacity based on social distancing guidelines, and the need for multiple services. We have worked on details of entry into the building, which will be shared as we get closer, and ensured that proper cleaning and sanitizing protocols are in place. There are other ideas that we are processing as well.
We recognize as we start this process, that things are not set in stone. We are watching closely the resurgence of the COVID-19 virus around the country and have intentionally waited to reopen until we can see how the re-opening of the state of Iowa would impact the spread of the virus. The committee will meet again at the end of this week to discuss what developments we are seeing, and how that will impact our thoughts on re-opening.
The pews in our sanctuary limit our seating capacity, especially in regard to social distancing requirements. With this in mind, we are anticipating starting with a minimum of two services.
We will not be immediately resuming children’s activities (including nursery) since children don’t social distance well. Therefore, the first service will be for families with children and will be designed to engage all age groups. This service which will be held at 9:30 am, will take place in the gym. Each family will be seated at a table with up to 8 chairs. This service will be aimed at short periods of talking from up front, and then discussions around the table amongst families.
The second service will be held at 11am and will take place in the Sanctuary. This service will feel more traditional, although we are not yet sure if we will be able to include congregational singing as we begin. However, there will be a traditional sermon in the sanctuary. The seating capacity for this service will be significantly limited, and there may be a need for a third service. The timing for a third service option has not yet been set. The third service will be dependent upon the combination of the results of this survey, and how much seating is available.
As we continue to work through details for this possible re-opening, we need a few details from you.