As we enter into September and with it, a new church year, we are reminded that Fall and Winter will quickly be here. With that in mind, the staff and Deacons met on August 30th to discuss next steps for worship as we move into the Fall. We’ve been blessed in terms of weather this summer, but none of us are so foolish as to assume we can count on clear skies and comfortable temperatures on Sunday mornings much longer. With that in mind, the decision has been made to move Sunday morning worship back into the sanctuary beginning Sunday morning October 4th. We know that while many of us will celebrate that news others have a real and justified fear of gathering with a crowd in a closed in space. With that in mind, the following options for worship will be provided beginning October 4:
- In Person Worship in the Sanctuary – every other pew will be roped off and we will encourage no more than three individuals/pairs or two families per pew. In compliance with the mask mandate currently in place in North Carolina anyone gathering inside will be expected to wear a mask. All in person worshippers will be asked to enter through the vestibule and exit one pew at a time through the side doors of the sanctuary. Those who physically cannot use the side exits will be asked to wait until all other worshippers have exited and then allowed to exit through the vestibule. All hymnals and Bibles will be removed from the pews, offerings will still be collected as folks enter worship, and the pews will be disinfected each week following the service.
- Audio Only Worship in the Fellowship Hall – those who would feel more comfortable in a smaller crowd may listen to worship in the basement Fellowship Hall on a first come, first serve basis. Worshippers will be spaced one individual/family to a table and will be expected to wear masks inside the building. Entrance and exit will occur through the Shelby parking lot entrance unless physical limitations require use of a different entrance. Offerings will be collected upon entry and tables and chairs will be wiped down each week.
- Live Audio Only Parking Lot Worship – the worship service will be broadcast over an FM transmitter for those who would be most comfortable remaining in their cars. Ushers will collect offerings and hand out bulletins but otherwise there will be no contact with anyone outside the car.
- Delayed Video Worship – we are currently unable to offer a livestream of worship but the service will be recorded and available online Sunday afternoon/evening.
Note: Nursery and Children’s Church will continue to not be offered at this time
This reopening applies only to Sunday morning worship, decisions on Sunday School and Wednesday evening programs will be made at a later date. Obviously state guidelines and COVID numbers will continue to be monitored and in the event of a return to Phase 1 restrictions adjustments will be made. We know that this is an uncertain time and that there are many legitimate concerns about gathering in person. We believe that these options and precautions give us the best chance of safely continuing to worship together in the upcoming months. Over the next few weeks we’ll be giving you more information about logistics and precautions, but for now we ask that you pray for good weather the rest of this month and for a safe return to the Sanctuary on October 4th.