Worship in the Sanctuary

While we are excited to return indoors, it has been good to have been reminded that church is more than a building and worship happens in many different forms. We have also been reminded that loving our neighbor means to seek their physical safety as well as to pursue their psychological, relational, and emotional well being. Worship and continuing to come together are important parts of loving one another.

“How good and precious it is when
the family of God dwells together in unity.” 
Psalm  133:1

What follows is a living document based on the Session’s interpretation of current trends in Science, edicts of the State and applications in broader Society all of which we seek to read through the lens of Scripture. Our goal is to gather Christ’s body for worship in a way that brings glory to Him and shows love to fellow humans while living with the Coronavirus.

When will indoor Sunday worship services resume?

Indoor services will resume in the evening (6:00pm) on Sept. 27 and then in the morning of October 4 with a full slate of services that day (8:30, 10:00, 11:30 and 6:00). RSVPs are required for each service and this can be done on the website.  We acknowledge that there is some variance with state executive orders even while recognizing religious institutions are not penalized for this variance. In the end the Session has weighed the overall needs of the church and feels that we can move inside safely. We remain supportive of the state and are seeking to promote its well being in the best way we know how. 

Will other modes of participating in worship be available?

Yes!  We will continue to prepare and post the Home Worship Guide on the website.  We will also continue to transmit the worship service being conducted inside to the parking lot via FM 90.1, for those who wish to remain in their cars. The Session encourages everyone to follow their conscience, take responsibility for your own health needs, and show love by caring for others’ health and safety. As we move forward, we will continually assess how best to call the congregation to worship and provide the means for us all to respond to that call.

What health and safety measures is Christ Church planning?

Currently the best practices to maintain a healthy environment are to wear masks indoors and maintain social distancing. Borrowing from regulations being used in higher education we have determined that the square footage of our sanctuary allows for around 120 worshippers with appropriate distancing.  In order to continue to be welcoming for visitors we will be reserving seats for visitors and for CC folks who forgot to register or had a change of plans. People will be strategically seated to maintain distancing, and ushers will be available to assist with seating needs. You are encouraged to bring your own PPE – there will also be face masks available at the door.  Per CDC guidelines, children under age 5, or anyone who has trouble breathing, should not wear masks. The pastor will not wear a face mask while at the pulpit. We are designating our 8:30 service as especially appropriate for immunocompromised and/or vulnerable individuals and asking everyone who attends that service to be particularly conscientious about mask wearing.  Hand sanitizer is readily available, as will be sanitizing wipes for hard surfaces.  These best practices are currently being followed by other congregations and higher education institutions that are gathering large groups. (Additional safety and control measures are available here. For information specific to the state of Michigan look here.)

Will the nursery and children’s program be available?

Nurseries and Christ Kids Worship are temporarily suspended. The opening up of these two programs will be in accordance with the rapidly unfolding CDC guidelines and at the session’s direction. They will also be contingent upon adequate volunteer availability.  Families with infants and children are encouraged to come to corporate worship in the church building, and we encourage you to create your own “church bags” including a children’s Bible, crayons, drawing pads, and other quiet activities that will help keep little hands busy. Children’s bulletins and coloring pages will also be available at the welcome desk.  The nursery will be open to nursing mothers for feeding and diaper changes. Diaper changing stations are also available in the women’s and men’s restrooms. When using a changing station, we ask that you use the table liners (your own or one provided) and that you wipe down the table with a Clorox wipe after changing your baby’s diaper.   

Will the congregation continue to sing?

Absolutely!  Though initially you will notice some changes in the liturgy as we seek to honor the realities of the virus.  Our liturgy inside the sanctuary will consist of much prayer, readings from God’s word and a sermon.  We will then process outside, while maintaining social distancing practices, and surround the island.  We will sing a bit outside, whatever the weather, and receive the Benediction which will conclude our service. We want to begin this way for a couple of reasons:  1) We do not want to spread this virus and indoor singing has been shown to have risk  2) We are cautious of some type of adaptive indoor singing that feels reserved, quenched or dangerous. We don’t want to murmur our praise together and we want to love each other well.  Singing together is one of our defining practices, and we can still do it freely outside. We are excited to try some “out-of-the-box” approaches as we continue our worship life together.

Will we take Communion?

Yes. As you have seen though the summer, on weeks we celebrate communion it will be distributed by the elders at the beginning of the service via self-contained packets of juice and wafers (gluten-free option available).

Will we still have an opportunity to fellowship with others?

Yes, as our services will be concluding outside the main thing will be to maintain social distancing and not be in the way of those who are arriving for the next service.  Orange juice and coffee will not initially be available. In the future we expect refreshments to be available.

Will restrooms be available?

Yes, the main restrooms off the narthex, across from the kitchen are still available. When possible, for health and safety concerns, please try to use the bathroom at home. The hallways will be blocked off past the restrooms.

What time should our family plan to arrive on Sunday?

Please plan to come around 15 minutes early for the service you have signed up for.

What should be expected with our HVAC system?

To maximize airflow in the sanctuary, windows and doors will be opened and air circulated by use of fans when possible. Depending on the weather, it may be warmer or cooler than usual in the sanctuary; please dress accordingly.  To improve quality of air in the sanctuary, MERV-13 air filters have been installed in the AC and heating systems.  This the highest filtration threshold recommended by our HVAC service provider.

What should I do if I feel sick?

You should refrain from coming or entering the building if any of the following apply: You have had symptoms in the past 72 hours, including, but not limited to: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, and/or diarrhea; You have had any close contact in the last 14 days with someone with a diagnosis of COVID-19; You have traveled to a known COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days.  If you are a volunteer that day, you should stay home, do your best to find a replacement, and notify the lead deacon.

What happens if I start feeling sick and am diagnosed with COVID-19 after I’ve attended a CC service?

Please email the office so the church can notify everyone who was involved in that service that they may have been exposed. We would ask that those people would refrain from attending indoor services for 14 days (see #11 Q&A).

Are there ways that I can help with CC’s reopening?

Yes; as we implement multiple Sunday services, we may need additional help with various tasks. Please email the office for additional info and to sign-up.