Many of us were caught off guard with the speed at which we were forced to stop having in person worship as a part of our normal practice. We celebrate that most of our regular attenders to worship have been able to connect through our live stream and we feel honored as others continue to watch our sermons online each week. We anticipate that our live stream will be a large part of how we plan in our future so that we can utilize this great tool for evangelism, senior care and to keep people connected when not actively in Pekin. We also know that we still value in person worship and so we want to share with you our plans for beginning that process again.
The following plans and guidelines will cover multiple phases of in person worship resuming. In each phase we ask that you comply with all requests for health safety. These are not political statements. Many are medically proven to be beneficial. They protect our most vulnerable populations. These also have connections to both our greater United Methodist denominational guidelines and to our ability to remain in compliance with our insurance.
Outdoor worship – June 14th, 21st and 28th at 9:30 am (also live streamed) In Phase 3 we are allowed to have 10 people inside (our normal crew just to pull off the live-stream) or we can have outside worship with social distancing with limitations only confined to your physical space. We plan on closing the street between the Mason Building and the primary church building and using the street, sidewalk and grass areas.
- Masks are required by every attender over two years of age. We have some extra but without them we unfortunately will be required to ask you to not be in person for that worship. During Phase 3 (our current phase) masks will be required to be worn the entire time.
- Please bring your own lawn chair and stay in a group in one of our 9’ x 9’ boxes that will be marked out on the ground. These are so that a small family can be in one space and maintain 6’ of social distancing.
- Singing will be led by the Worship team, please enjoy hearing them.
- Wave, say hello but also respect those who wish to keep distant.
- Only use the building for restrooms or as a pass through from the parking lot to the worship space.
- Offerings will be collected in a safe drop off location near the stairs where we will have our worship team.
- 10:45 will remain as our Traditional worship and will continue to be pre-recorded and posted as a live event.
In-Building Worship – Beginning July 5th thru Phase 4
We will be offering our Saturday Chapel service in the Sanctuary. Our Contemporary worship service will move to 9:00 am and our Traditional Worship to 11:00 am on Sunday to accommodate people moving through our building and parking lots safely.
- Follow seating guidance for maintaining 6’ of social distancing.
- No bulletins will be offered, and songs will be limited to those who are leading worship/performing so as to minimize the spread of virus in droplets spread further in singing.
- Offerings will be collected from fixed locations in both worship spaces near the entrances.
- Communion will be offered through individual, pre-sealed containers.
- Spaces will be limited to either 50 people or 25% of the room’s capacity (we are seeking clarification). If there are more people for a worship service than space in the room, we can utilize multiple gathering locations in the building and have equipment for “overflow” in both the Family Life Center and Sanctuary. This will utilize our live-stream equipment and we will have a host (Hospitality Team Volunteer) for each room if required.
- Children will be asked to stay with their families and packets will be made for all children who wish to utilize one. All of this will be based on our Children’s ministry curriculum and distributed in the most sanitary way.
- All restrooms, doors and other high touch areas will be cleaned between events, masks may yet be required and will be if social distancing cannot be followed. Automatic hand sanitizer devices will be available throughout the building.
We have been watching as other churches open and have been attempting to learn best practices. We know that this will take time and understanding from all of us. We know that things will not go back to the way they once were. But with much prayer and the continued inspiration of the Holy Spirit we know that this can continue to be a season of us living out the ministry of Jesus in life giving ways. Please continue to be in prayer for our church and if you have any questions, please reach out to the office or to me directly.
Peace + Grace,
Pastor Eric Swanson
Date: June 9, 2020