Socially-distant greetings! Many aspects of our lives have been disrupted during this unusual season! However, we rejoice that this is temporary and that God continues to work in countless ways to build His kingdom! In an effort to love our neighbor well, we are abiding by the Alabama Department of Public Health’s “Guidelines for Places of Worship.” We are doing this for multiple reasons but primarily out of love for one another and as a witness to those around us. Based on the current guidelines, here is what we are doing as we gather together:
(1) All people are asked to maintain six feet of separation between those of different
(2) People 65 or older, and others at greater risk due to health concerns, are strongly
encouraged to continue to participate online.
(3) All are strongly encouraged to wear cloth face coverings.*(see note at the end of this
letter) We will have disposable masks available, as well as hand sanitizer at each entrance.
(4) Seating will be on every other row in the sanctuary. Please maintain two empty chairs
between people from different households on the same row.
(5) You are encouraged to take your own temperature before you come and stay home
if it is over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If you forget to do this, we will have instant-read, no-touch thermometers at the church.
(6) Please stay home and recover fully if:
(i) you are sick or have been sick within 48 hours of Sunday morning.
(ii) someone in your household is sick or has been within 48 hours of Sunday,
please stay home to care for them and protect others.
(iii) you are experiencing a cough, shortness of breath or sore throat.
(iv) you had a fever in the last 48 hours (over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit)
(v) you experienced a new loss of taste or smell
(vi) or you experienced vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours.
We are offering a nursery for children under 3, but not children’s church during our worship service.
Our Sunday School is offered online as well as in person. It is held in the Sanctuary.
We are asking that you make wise decisions about participating in large gatherings (here or anywhere). Many factors will go into that decision for you and your family. We trust that you will pray and then follow the leading of the Spirit. Some will feel more comfortable gathering sooner; others will not. Please resist the temptation to project your conclusion as to the right course of action on another person. As one person wisely noted, “What will it matter if we re-assimilate only to end up ‘socially distant’ again not because of a virus, but because of our inability to love others who approach COVID-19 differently than we do?”
Instead, let us model before a watching world the new command Jesus has given us: Love one
another (John 13:34). Our humility, gentleness, and patience (Ephesians 4:2) will be seen by
others and point them to our King. And so will our quiet confidence. Therefore, let us in all
things trust in the kind providence of our God, knowing that He is at work in all things for the
good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purposes!
For your elders,
*One of the unique challenges we will face in worship is singing! We love to sing—but the act of
singing is considered a “super-spreader” activity, as potentially infected water droplets are able
to travel as far as 16 feet. Those in our “choir” (the 4-5 people who will help lead us as we sing)
will not be required to wear masks while singing since they will be more than 16 feet away from
the second row in our sanctuary (under our current guidelines, no one will be sitting on the first
row). But those in the congregation will not be separated as much from one another. For this
reason, we will ask those in the congregation to wear a mask while singing.