It is with great joy that I write to let you know that we will once again be opening the doors of the church building! As you have heard many times by now, the Church has not been closed, but the building has had restrictions upon it. It still does, but those restrictions allow us to meet again.
This Sunday, May 24th, we will have our scheduled drive in church service at 9:00 a.m. At this special service, we will recognize our graduates, hear a short message that will prepare us to start meeting again, and pray for the upcoming weekend. A separate online service will continue our look into 1 Peter—we will be looking at the joy that comes from our new identity (1 Peter 1:3-12).
Next Sunday, May 31st, we will open the building for worship services at 9:00 and 10:45 a.m. This presents us with a great opportunity to show the love of Christ to his body! At Calvary, we come together to know Christ so that we can go and make him known. I pray that each of us has been taking advantage of any opportunity God has presented in these last few weeks to make him known as we have been going! Now that we consider coming together again, there are a few things to consider.
It will not look the same as it did before the response to the pandemic. We live in a different world. The threat of the virus has caused different people to react in different ways. Some have not been concerned at all and some have been very concerned. Some have not felt vulnerable and some have felt very vulnerable. As the body of Christ, we need to be very careful not to assign maturity in our faith to our response to the virus. Just because one person does not feel as vulnerable does not necessarily mean they have more faith and just because a person is careful and chooses to take precautionary steps, such as wearing a mask, it does not mean they do not have faith. Remember that in the body of Christ (the Church) there are many different parts—and yet, we all form one body. Paul reminds us to love each part of the body and to walk with each other in great unity (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12). So, as we begin meeting again, let us make very sure that we are careful to extend great grace to each other, as I am confident you are ready to do!
What to expect and how to prepare:
As we reopen the church building, certain steps will be taken to assure, as much as possible, that we are reducing the risk of transmission of the virus. We will reopen in stages. Initially, we will reopen for worship services only on Sundays only. We will not be opening the Saturday service, the children’s ministry, or the adult learning opportunities at this time and will keep you informed as decisions about them are made.
Before you arrive, the building will be deep-cleaned, and all public spaces will be sanitized. If you feel very vulnerable but would still like to attend, we recommend that you come to the 9:00 a.m. service. While we will be taking steps to clean the building between services, the deepest cleaning will have occurred before the first service.
As you prepare to arrive, we want to let you know what to expect. Some things will be the same and some things will be different.
Some things will look the same as they did before the closure of the building.
- We will be excited to see you!! I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” Psalm 122:1
- Of course, we will still be coming to worship God. The morning will be all about him! We will have greeters at the doors, ushers ready to seat you, a worship team that will be ready to lead us in song as we praise our amazing God, a message from 1 Peter, and a benediction to send you out to a week of work, witness, and worship! We will have the livestream service online for those unable to attend.
Some things will look quite different!
- Some people will be wearing masks, and some will not. Extend grace either way!
- There will be greeters in the parking lot to assist with any questions you may have before you get to the building.
- Doors for the building will open ten minutes before the service time.
- The doors will be propped open so that you will not need to touch the handle.
- The greeters will be wearing masks and will not be shaking hands. In fact, we ask all people to refrain from shaking hands while in the building.
- There will be signs to help you know what is happening. There will not be marks on the floors or arrows or things like that, but there will be reminders of the care that needs to be taken as we reengage with each other.
- When you enter the building, we will help you make your way directly to the worship center.
- The chairs will be set for appropriate physical distancing. We will be removing about half the chairs. You will also need to leave two chairs between your family group and other people.
- You will want to print bulletins and note sheets yourself at home from the link on the website or follow along electronically as hard copies will not be handed out.
- Boxes will be available in the lobby where you can give your tithes and offerings, as the offering bag will not be passed.
- The service will be shorter (one hour) and will be a family-type service. Since no children’s ministries are happening, we will have the joy of having our children with us in the service!
- We will be singing. Now, you may wonder why that is listed under “what is different”! We realize that many of you are ready to get back to singing together in the worship center. What we have learned is that singing raises the risk of transmission of the disease. Therefore, if you feel most vulnerable, you may want to find a seat toward the back of the room.
- After the service, we will ask that you immediately leave the building without congregating in the worship center or in the hallways. Please make your way as quickly as possible to the parking lot. This will allow us to clean the room for the next service and will allow for a one-way traffic flow.
Other items of note:
- If you are not feeling well, please take advantage of the online services.
- Restrooms will have porters who will help ensure cleanliness after use.
- Water fountains will be turned off.
- Sections of the building will be inaccessible.
- Nursery will be open for nursing or changing babies, one at a time.
- Sanitizer will be available, as needed.
- Elders and shepherding staff will be available outdoors to talk with you and answer any questions you may have.
We look forward to seeing each of you again, as you feel the time is right for you to reengage with live worship. If you are choosing to wait a while, we fully understand and support you in your decision and will continue to bring the service into your home.