It's a blessing to be able to gather for worship! As we deal with the continued possibility of COVID-19 outbreaks, we are limiting the seating in our Worship Center and Fellowship Hall to allow for social distancing. Please click on the link above to reserve seat for this Sunday's worship service.
Also note the following instructions designed to keep us safe:
First and foremost, the elders and I are concerned for the health and safety of every person who chooses to worship as a part of our church. If you don't feel safe being in a worship gathering because of risk factors that you may have or because you have family who could be susceptible to some of the COVID-19 complications, we understand that you may choose not to return to worship yet. That's okay! We respect that, and our 10:30 service will continue to be live streamed to Facebook Live. We expect this to become an important part of our church life in the future, regardless of the pandemic.
Also, if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past fourteen days, we ask that you wait to return to worship. Also, if you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (including having a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher), please do not attend worship at the building.
For the safety of those who do choose to worship in the building, we will need to restrict the crowd size in our building. Smaller crowds keep us safer. If someone came to worship not knowing they were infected, smaller crowds keep down the number of people who could possibly be infected. In order to maintain smaller crowd size, we're making two important adjustments:
- We will have two venues for worship for each service time. This allows us to accommodate more people in our building at any one time. We will have live worship in the Worship Center as always, and the service will also be live streamed to the screens in the Fellowship Hall. If you choose to worship in the Fellowship Hall, you will see exactly what happens in the Worship Center as it happens, but these two venues will be completely separate environments. Worshipers will use separate entrances and exits, as well as separate restrooms. It is important that we do not mix the two crowds.
- We will use a reservation system to cap attendance in each venue. You will be able to sign up by clicking on the link at the top of this page or by calling the church office at 217-824-6621. If at all possible, we ask that you use the online reservation system. It is much easier for us to keep track of the crowd, and it doesn't use as many staff resources. After you register, you will receive an email instructing you where you should enter the building along with some things to expect. We are maintaining our normal worship schedule so you will register for specific time and room in the reservation system.
To keep everyone safe, we encourage the following:
- Frequent use of hand sanitizer and washing hands
- Social distancing - Stay six feet away from those who are not in the family with which you live. This decreases the chances of infecting others. This means that we will need to refrain from handshakes and hugs, which will be a challenge. After being apart for so long, greeting one another will be a natural thing to do, but physical contact is one of the most effective ways of transmitting the virus. Please greet one another with a smile.
- When social distancing is not possible, masks are a good option. We are not requiring masks, but if you would like to wear a mask to guard your health and the health of others, please feel free to do so, and we ask that everyone show respect for those who do.
At this point, our elementary kids will be dismissed during the sermon to the activity center for a lesson and worship. There will be no early childhood ministry until August.
We will be using single use, disposable communion sets. They will be on the coffee bar and on tables when you arrive. Communion will be at the end of the service, and you can dispose of your sup after the service.
We will have offering baskets distributed throughout the building, though we will continue to encourage online giving.
We will not be serving coffee and doughnuts at this time. Water fountains will be unavailable.
In both our worship venues, we will be arranging seating for social distancing.
In the Worship Center, every other pew will be available for seating. The rest will be marked off. Please sit at the ends of the pews with family to allow space between you and others on the same pew.
In the Fellowship Hall, we will arrange the seating so that social distancing is possible.
Because we need to clean and sanitize the building between services, please expect the following:
- Each worship service will last about 45 minutes, which will allow us time for cleaning.
- We ask that you do not arrive for worship more than ten minutes before the worship service you attend. We will need as much time as possible between services to make sure you enter a safe environment.
- We will ask that you leave the building promptly at the end of worship. Again, this will allow us the necessary time to clean before the next service.
Because we are limiting the number of people in the building and due to the increased use of facilities for worship, we will not have Sunday School at this time.
We will not have paper bulletins at this time. The bulletin is available on the website.
I know some of this will make the worship experience feel less familiar, and that will be hard on all of us, but at this point, it will be a blessing to be together. Let's be patient and show grace as we walk through these adjustments together.
I'm so glad I can say this to you: See you Sunday!!!!
Grace & Peace,