Dear Faith Friends,
Back on March 8th, when we had our last in-person worship at Faith, I had no idea it would be until July before we could even consider gathering in our building again. Thank you for your patience as we continue to wrestle with when and how to open our building, following the guiding tenet of showing love for our neighbor.
We are keeping a close eye on areas of the US where COVID-19 is again on the rise. Regardless of whether we can offer in-person worship in July, we will continue to broadcast the 9 am worship on the radio, and both services via livestream at FaithFL.org and Facebook Live.
Fair warning: when we do offer in-person worship, it will not feel like a typical worship. We encourage people to stay home, especially those in high-risk groups identified by the CDC and MDH.
Here is what to expect:
- Prior to worship, contact the church office by noon on Thursday to make a reservation (we have limited office hours). Please do not make reservations if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with anyone that has tested positive for COVID-19 in the 2 weeks prior to worship.
We tentatively believe 60 people can worship in the sanctuary and maintain physical distancing.
We will only offer one in-person service each week (perhaps alternating between 9 and 10:30 time slots) to allow for disinfecting.
- You will be required to wear a mask before entering and while you are in the building.
- Approach Door #6 by the gym beginning at 8:45 (or 10:15). A volunteer will check your temperature and verify that you have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms.
- Enter the church for reservation check off. If you did not call/email ahead, you will be asked to return home.
- Enter the sanctuary. You will be directed to a pew with no cushions (cushions cannot be sanitized). Stay in your spot and do not socialize. Yes, we know it’s been a long time… more on that below.
- Bathroom use is limited to emergency only, using the family bathroom in the North Lobby.
- During worship, your mask will remain on and all spoken/sung parts will be done by the liturgist/musicians at the front who are appropriately distanced.
- There will be no passing of the offering plate (there will be baskets at exits) or sharing of the peace.
- If you are in the sanctuary when there is communion, you will receive communion when the service concludes.
If you are at home, have bread and wine/juice available. As I say the words of institution, you can say them with me at home! Then, take and eat.
If you are not able to attend worship in person, but would like to receive communion at church, please call the office to make an appointment. We will have blocks of time available in July.
- As you exit the sanctuary, you will receive a container with bread and wine/grape juice. You may remove your mask to have communion. Then, please return your mask until you are out of the building.
- You will leave the building through Door #6 (sorry, no coffee or treats in the building). What you do after worship is up to you—restaurants and coffee shops are now open. Have a Faith break with a few friends by supporting a favorite local business!
This feels very rigid—but it HAS to be. Remember that this isn’t permanent. (Did you know that during the 1918 influenza outbreak, many churches didn’t re-open for 2 full years?)
Why are we even considering this restricted re-opening? We expect most people to stay home. But, even though it’s a lot of work, there is a pastoral care element that sparked this decision. There are members who have poor technology connections or no access to internet. There are families who need our support and funeral services as they mourn the loss of loved ones.
We are grateful for your grace and patience, and your tremendous distance engagement. I’m looking forward to digging into our next sermon series: Apostle Paul Inside the Box: Romans as our Roadmap Out. I appreciate the wise leadership of the Be Well Faith Committee, the Worship Experience Committee, Faith Council and staff. Thank you for being Faith!