What to expect when you go to worship
The doors of First Church are open once again. Members of our church family who feel safer at home should know that we will continue to offer our worship services online, and we can continue to stay connected with Zoom midweek Bible studies, Zoom Coffee Fellowship, and Zoom prayer groups.
For those who are ready to venture out to an in-person worship service once again, here is what you can expect to find at First Church.
8:45 AM worship in our Sanctuary
When do we meet?
We have resumed in-person worship on Sundays at 8:45 AM. Our expectation is that people will return to church gradually, and so we will start with just one service, all together. As soon as our numbers grow to the point where we can no longer remain safely distanced, we will add a second service.
What about entering and exiting?
Unlike a store, where people may be entering and exiting at the same time, our traffic flow will be one direction only. Accordingly, all doors to the church will be unlocked and open except the doors from the Garden. Folks may park, enter, and exit according to their comfort and custom.
How far apart are we?
Two out of every three pews in the Sanctuary will be unavailable for seating. This will give us a full six feet between us and both the folks sitting behind us and the folks sitting in front of us.
What about children?
We provide a staffed nursery for young children. The nursery room is part of the facility that is used all week by First Preschool, which has continued to remain open and operating throughout these recent months. It is a carefully maintained space for children.
Will we be wearing masks?
We strongly encourage members of the church family to wear masks, and we will have masks available at the church. We remember that masks are not just about protecting ourselves; they are about protecting those around us, too. Masks will be required of the Greeters and Ushers.
Are we able to receive Communion?
Yes! We have purchased small, prepackaged, individual units that contain both a wafer and a cup of grape juice. These will be available on a table for members to pick up for themselves as they enter the Sanctuary on the first Sunday of each month.
Are we able to sing?
Yes! There will be less congregational singing than had been our custom, but we include singing in our worship. Our expectation is that the combination of wearing masks and being seated two pews apart allows us to sing safely.
What else is different?
The Ushers will not hand you your bulletin; you will be asked to pick one up for yourself from a table as you enter.
All hymns and Scripture readings will be printed in the bulletin. Bibles and Hymnals will be removed from the pews.
Greeters will take attendance as folks enter the Sanctuary. We will not be passing the Attendance Pads.
Offering plates will be located at the front of the Sanctuary, and members will be able to place their offering in those plates as they leave the Sanctuary at the conclusion of the service. Offering plates will not be passed.
We are not yet resuming Sunday School classes for children, youth, or adults.
In order to avoid congestion when the service is over, the Ushers will dismiss a few pews at a time in much the same manner as we have all experienced at weddings.
There will be no Coffee Fellowship provided in the Gathering Area before or after the service. However, we will have a virtual Coffee Fellowship via Zoom at 12:00 PM. We invite you to join us. Contact Lina Green for the link to join.
10:45 AM worship in the garden
After so many weeks of the church being locked up with no opportunity for in-person worship, we were delighted to be able to come back together again beginning in July. But we are not all back together. The risks of public gatherings are still too great for many people, and so we’re glad to be able to offer livestreaming of each Sunday morning service.
Meanwhile, some folks feel more comfortable gathering in outdoor spaces rather than in the Sanctuary. With those friends and members in mind, then, we will be offering an outdoor worship opportunity beginning Sunday, August 30 through September 27). We will gather in the Garden area at 10:45 AM for a time of singing, prayer, and reflecting on God’s word. This is certain to be a very meaningful worship and fellowship experience, and we look forward to being together in this special way!
When will we meet?
We will meet at 10:45 AM each Sunday morning for five weeks – August 30 through September 27. This will be in addition to our Sanctuary worship service at 8:45 AM.
Where will we meet?
We will gather in the Garden area along Howe Street, near the fountain. Please enter through the East garden gate.
How safe will we be?
Some research suggests that outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor ones. We will meet in a circle, but with some distance between chairs. We are also mindful that the Governor’s order requires masks to be worn even in outdoor settings where people are congregating.
Will the outdoor service be the same as the Sanctuary service?
No. The outdoor service will be less formal than the 8:45 AM Sanctuary service – more opportunity for sharing and dialogue. Pastor David will take a different approach to the message. And, of course, there will be no organ!
What about bad weather?
An outdoor service will not have the climate control advantages that we enjoy in the Sanctuary. It may feel too warm or too humid. It may feel too cool or too breezy. But we will embrace these vicissitudes as part of the charm, remembering that much of the preaching of John the Baptist, Jesus, John Wesley, Francis Asbury, and so many others were also outdoors. If shelter is needed, we will meet under the overhang in the parking lot.
There will be no Coffee Fellowship provided before or after the service. However, we will have a virtual Coffee Fellowship via Zoom at 12:00 PM. We invite you to join us. Contact Lina Green for the link to join.