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.
• 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.