Morning Worship Services Resume—with Social Distancing

Morning Worship Resumes on Sunday, May 3, at 11:00 a.m.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Based upon the latest recommendations from our Georgia governor and the movement of the state of Georgia into the first stage of relaxing of social distancing precautions, we plan on returning to regular worship gatherings on Sunday mornings, beginning at 11:00 am and ending around 12:15 pm. All other in–building programming will remain suspended until we progress further along in the stages of gradual lessening of restrictions.

As part of the return to Sunday morning worship, we thank God for the new opportunity to share our time of glorifying God with our daughter church, Christ Covenant Presbyterian of Woodstock. This arrangement of sharing in May and June will no doubt be a tremendous blessings to both of our congregations. In order to facilitate the return to worship in our facility while still protecting church members and our community through reducing the likelihood of virus transmission, the following procedures should be followed this Sunday and until further notice. We all recognize that the present situation is fluid and may change in a few weeks:

  1. Sunday 11 a.m. worship only. There will be no Sunday school or Sunday evening study at Hope, within our physical location, at the present time.
  2. No coffee or food will be set up in the hallway at the present time.
  3. No first-of-the-month fellowship meal (although we hope to able to have one with proper precautions the first Sunday of June)
  4. Offering plates will not be passed, however we have placed one at the back of our sanctuary. Checks will be allocated just as the various church members have made them out. Cash offerings should be placed in an envelope with the intended church’s name written on the outside.
  5. We will not serve Communion until the social distancing protocols are lessened.
  6. We will provide photocopies of hymns.
  7. Bulletins will be printed and left on the table in the hallway nearest the back entrance of the sanctuary. Each person should take their own bulletin. There will not be people handing them out.
  8. Each individual and family should practice self-check on the morning of worship as to temperature or possible symptoms of infection before coming to church. If an elevated temperature or other symptoms are present, the family should remain at home.
  9. Those members who are at higher risk, such as those over 60 years of age, those with heart, immune system, diabetes, or chronic asthma concerns should consider remaining at home at this time.
  10. A small supply of surgical masks will be available in the entryway. However we encourage those families who desire to use masks to bring their own, if possible.
  11. Hand sanitizer will be available in the entryway area and anti-bacterial soap is located near the bathrooms. We strongly suggest that each family bring their own hand sanitizer as well.
  12. After the benediction and three-fold amen, people will be asked to leave by rows so as to reduce potential close contact. The church’s front doors and the sanctuary doors will be propped open at all times during the worship period to reduce possible transmission via door handles and pulls.
  13. Our live streaming broadcast on Facebook and YouTube will also be provided as before for those remaining at home. There is a change to the starting time, which was previously 11:30 am, to the new time of 11:00 am. Our plan is to stream the entire service, including the hymns and musical ministry as well. For those in the sanctuary, we apologize in advance for the placement of the recording device directly in front of the pulpit.
  14. We recommend that only one person at a time use our bathrooms so as to reduce close contact.
  15. Please exercise the social distancing guidelines as when you are in other public locations. This includes: maintaining 6 feet of space between you and non–immediate family members, avoiding direct physical contact including the shaking of hands, and sitting in the sanctuary such that the 6 foot spacing is also maintained.
  16. We have arranged the chairs in the sanctuary using a new configuration that meets the 6 foot social distancing standard while allowing up to 64 persons to use our facility. To accomplish this, the chairs are arranged into three sections with two aisles. The first set of rows closest the sanctuary doors contain 5 chairs in each row. The middle set of rows contain only 3 chairs per row. And the furthest set of rows along the windows are each 5 chairs long (with the exception of the first row of 6 chairs for the Hodges family who also lead music ministry). In order for us to seat everyone and to be in compliance with health standards, we need every individual, couple, or family to choose the most efficient set of chairs for their particular situation. This means, for example, that those who come as families with one child, couples, or singles should first use the middle row of 3 chairs. Larger families ought to use the first or third rows with 5 chairs. A rule of thumb is that the space of 3 to 3 1/2 chairs is equivalent to the 6 foot guideline. In every case, the rows themselves are presently spaced 6 feet apart.
  17. The church will be thoroughly cleaned by both our cleaning staff and also by others who will be wiping contact surfaces with disinfectant after each Sunday’s worship concludes and attendees have left our facility.
  18. We ask you to park your vehicle if at all possible in every other parking space, leaving a full space between your vehicle and the next. We also appreciate it if families that sometimes drive multiple vehicles would carpool to reduce the amount of traffic in our parking area until the pandemic conditions more fully improve.

Whether you are able to be present for this service of worship or decide it is wiser to remain home for the time being, we covet your many and fervent prayers that God will be glorified and His people built up in their shared faith, through this Sunday’s worship. Also, that many would view the live stream or watch it in the hours afterward and be enriched through the Gospel of God’s Word and the means of His grace.

With Prayers for God’s Richest Blessings Upon You All,

Pastor Martin