Section Title

COVID-19 In-person Worship

Question and Answers



































On January 7, 2021, the Session proposed and approved unanimously the closing / opening metrics during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Q. What if I don’t feel comfortable returning to in-person worship?

A. That is perfectly okay! We want all congregants to make the decision to return in person based on what is best for them and their loved ones. We encourage you to continue to worship virtually until you are truly comfortable that it is safe for you to return. We will welcome you back whenever that is, and be in spiritual communion with you until you return.


Q. What are the metrics that Session approved in regard to closing and opening for in-person worship during the pandemic?

A. Read the full resolution proposed and approved unanimously by the Session on January 7, 2021.


Q. What source are you using to monitor the positivity rate of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County?

A. We are using COVID ActNow.


Q. Will there still be on-line streaming of the worship service? 

A. Yes!  We consider this to be a vital part of our ministry and it has proven to be extremely important in this time when people have been asked to stay at home or feel that they need to do so for their best safety.

 

Q. What is the church doing to make it safe for congregants to return?

A. Key adaptations include placing additional hand sanitizing stations inside and outside the building. Modifications to the offering, Communion, baptism, bulletin distribution and greeting practices described elsewhere in this Q&A also contribute to the safety of all.

 

Q. How will the church reduce the chance that someone who is carrying the virus might attend our in-person worship?

A. First, we ask that anyone who has any symptoms of illness not to attend in person. Second, we put in place all the safeguards communicated here. Experts now say that masks and social distancing, coupled with good air circulation, are the most important ways in which we can prevent the virus from spreading. We believe we are taking a very conservative approach that will offer a significant amount of protection for everyone who chooses to attend. We ask – and require – that everyone who wants to join us in person adhere to the rules that we put in place.

 

Q. Will there be a limit on the number of people who are allowed to attend each service, and if so, how will I know that I will be able to get in if I make the trip to the church?

A. We have reduced our normal capacity during this unique time.  Most of the Sanctuary is available for open seating.  However, there are areas, including the Covered Patio, which provide social distance seating.  We want to make sure that there is a space for everyone within their comfort level.

 

Q. How many services are we going to have?  

A. There are two worship services on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. through the end of April 2022.

 

Q. Will I be required to wear a mask while I am on the church property/in the church buildings? What if I don’t have one with me?

A. Per Session's action on November 16, 2021, masks are not required except for those who are not vaccinated. As before, we will depend on the honor system for compliance. As always, we honor each person's individual decision with regard to masking. The Session reserves the right to make further changes should the COVID situation worsen.

 

Q. Will I be able to sit where I usually do in the Sanctuary?

A. We ask those sitting in the Sanctuary to be mindful of the comfort level of those around them.  When possible, please give others additional space.  This means that you may not be able to sit where you usually sit.  But this also provides an opportunity to meet others that you may not know.

 

Q. I understand that there will not be congregational singing – why not?  

A. A number of serious incidents of infection have been linked to choir rehearsals or performances. Singing projects the dangerous pathogens further than normal speaking. So, to be as safe as possible, we are asking that if the Spirit moves you to join in with our choir, you to hum or sing very softly behind your mask.  

 

Q. Will there be any changes to the practice of ushers handing out bulletins?

A. Bulletins are available for pick up in the lobby of the church.  Since we have removed hymnals, Bibles, and cards for prayer requests, etc. from the pews, the bulletin will provide everything you will need for the worship service, including the Scripture readings and words to the hymns.

 

Q. Will there be passing of the offering plates?

A.  We have modified our usual offering practice. Red offering receptacles are available in the church lobby so that you can give your offering before or after the worship service in a safe, secure, and anonymous manner. As always, you can also make a donation online.  Pew envelopes are available next to the offering boxes.

 

Q. How can we safely greet our fellow worshippers?

A. Based on our social distancing practice, we ask worshippers to use ways of greeting each other that do not involve proximity or physical conflict. These include placing your hand over your heart, a wave, or other friendly gesture.

 

Q. Will there be Sunday School or youth activities?

A. Nursery care, Bible Bunch, and Sunday School for children meet in the Center for Christian Studies.  Masks are required and social distancing is used.

 

Q. Will we be able to take Communion? 

A. Yes! We are conducting Communion on the first Sunday of the month, as usual, but through a “self-serve” process. When you enter the lobby, you can pick up a stack of two cups: the bottom with the bread and the top half filled with juice. The elements are prepared by individuals wearing gloves and masks. 

 

Q. How long will all of the practices described here be kept in place?

A. Our current plan is expected to be in place for now until such time that the Session feels it is safe to make changes.