Advent’s Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Advent is closely monitoring the situation and we have formed a coronavirus team that consists of members of the Session, staff leadership, and medical personnel. This proactive approach will help us to stay as up-to-date as possible on the virus itself, as well as be able to take necessary steps to insure the safety of our church.
 
We will be utilizing this page as well as email and social media to keep everyone informed and up to date about how Advent is responding to this rapidly changing situation.
 
 
 

 

 

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Helping our community during this crisis.
 
 

Opening Our Doors

Last week, I let you know we were working on our plan to re-open the church. This plan is consistent with protocols established by our mayor and governor, as well as what makes the most sense for our church and the protection of our congregation. I am happy to inform you that Tuesday, June 2, 2020, the Session approved this plan. This plan identifies June 14, 2020 as our first Sunday to regather for in-person worship on campus. Please understand that things will look and feel different. Our staff team is continuing to work hard to ensure that when we come back together for worship on campus, everything is in place for you, your family, and the guests you invite to have a safe, positive, and worshipful experience.
At Advent, we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to be the church, while honoring our government and ensuring we provide a safe, clean environment for our congregation.
 
The following are restrictions, recommendations, and steps we have taken and are taking as a church, to prepare for your arrival and continued safety. We are making every effort to ensure we provide a clean and safe environment, where we are mindful of health needs and issues in preparation for a non-touch experience. 
 
Restrictions:
·        We will limit occupancy of worship services to maintain space for appropriate social distancing. To ensure adherence to these limits, we have reconfigured seating in the Sanctuary, Chapel and Lindsay Hall. These areas are only open to Sunday worship services. Lindsay Hall and the Chapel will have a live feed of the worship service from the Sanctuary. Ushers and greeters will assist congregants for seating to ensure your family is safe.
·        We have suspended all Sunday School classes until further notice.
·        Access to the second floor of the main building will be closed until further notice.
·        We have suspended all children’s worship, classes, and nursery until further notice.
·        We request that children sit with their families during worship services.
·        We have suspended all choir rehearsal and participation until further notice.
·        We have suspended all coffee and donut service until further notice.
·        We have suspended all facility use during the week until further notice.
·        The Christian Life Center (CLC) is closed until further notice.
·        If you are sick, do not feel well, or if you are symptomatic, have a fever, have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or have traveled internationally or to a domestic hot spot in the past two weeks, please stay at home.
 
 
Recommendations:
·        The most vulnerable population (65 years and older, people with disabilities, people with serious respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, people who are immunocompromised, and others) should consider staying home and watching our services live on Facebook or YouTube.
·        If you are normally a second service attender, please consider coming to the 9:00 am service. Due to occupancy restrictions, this will help accommodate seating restrictions in the Sanctuary and other areas. 
·        Wear a face mask to worship services.
·        Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds prior to coming to church, after leaving church, and after using the restroom.
·        Use hand sanitizer frequently.
·        Practice social distancing at all times.
·        Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
 
Steps we are taking:
·        We will continue to provide virtual services for those of you who feel safer at home.
·        We will complete a deep clean of the church prior to opening.
·        We will sanitize highly-touched surfaces after each service.
·        We will suspend production and distribution of bulletins.
·        We will post signs about not shaking hands, instead, doing non-contact greetings.
·        We will post signs about social distancing and other pertinent information you need to know.
·        We have installed touchless water faucets in all downstairs bathrooms.
·        Protocols for staff and volunteers include:
o  Require COVID-19 symptom and temperature check on all staff and volunteers.
o  Screen all staff and volunteers for COVID-19 symptoms before services with the following questions:
-Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
– Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?
– Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
– Have you had new loss of taste or smell?
– Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?
 We will direct any staff member or volunteer who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms (i.e., answers yes to any of the screening questions or who is running a fever) to leave the campus.
·        We will provide hand sanitizer in multiple locations throughout the facility.
·        We will design and practice family worship that avoids touching or gathering until further notice.
·        We will provide containers to receive tithes and offerings at each entrance to the Sanctuary, Chapel and Lindsay Hall.
·        We ask that you use the north doors (direct doors to the Sanctuary will be open for entering) as designated entrances to maintain social distancing. All doors will be used as exits including the doors in the sanctuary. We will provide signage as well as have ushers and others directing you so it’s clear to everyone.
 
This is our initial plan for reopening. As we continue to move forward and things ease, we will phase in various aspects of the church. Please continue to watch your email and our social media for updates as we move forward. We are in unusual times right now, but our God is still the God of all, in all and through all. He is sovereign and still on the throne. Advent is still His church, and God is using these times to unify and mature us.
As we move through these unique times, I would ask that you continue to pray for our church and its leadership, our city, state, nation and world, as well as those that have been and are affected by the coronavirus. We are in this together! With God’s help and direction, we will get through this as stronger ambassadors for His kingdom’s sake. I love you all and look forward to seeing you soon!
 
In His Grip,
Alan
 

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Giving to Help our Community

Hello, friends! Here we are in the middle of social distancing in response to the coronavirus. Maybe you saw the meme that said, 
“Our grandparents were called into war.
We are called to sit on the sofa. We can do this.”
 
All jokes aside, we are living in a strange season. It seems that we are just feeling our way through this, one day at a time. If you have been around Advent for a while, you won’t be surprised to learn that we have received calls and emails from many members who want to know what they can do to help. Of course that’s what they want to know! Advent takes service to others seriously.
 
In response to this crisis, we have set up a fund called
Advent Community Assistance Fund.
You can access this via the website and on the ShelbyNext app. 
 
We will use these funds to address the needs of folks in our community who have been impacted by the current health crisis.

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Updates from Alan

Yesterday I sent out a video message with a lot of information as to where we are as a church when it comes to decisions regarding our response to the coronavirus. In order to allow you time to “soak-in” all that we are doing as well as have information at your finger-tips, here is a recap of that video.
 
Out of an abundance of caution and love for our vulnerable, elderly and all members of our congregation, we have determined it is in the best interest of the church to suspend live worship services and on-campus activities for at least two weeks through March 29. We will reassess at that time to determine next steps.
 
I want to remind you that we are still the church whether we are gathered or scattered. God is still God and Romans 8:28 reminds us that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
 
So, what will church look like over the next few weeks? I’m glad you asked. Let’s talk about Sunday first. At 8:55 and 10:55 am, You can go online at facebook.com/adventpres or youtube.com/adventpres to watch our services.
 
Throughout the week we will be posting short devotionals to keep us engaged as a church. You will be able to find these as we go live as well as recorded on our Facebook page.
 
We will have content for our kids daily. Parents you need to download the DEEP BLUE app on your smart device for access to weekly lesson videos, trivia and games. Please like us @adventpreskids on facebook and Instagram to get daily engagement options to add to the weekly lesson.
 
For students in 6th-12th grade, we encourage you to watch our @adventyouthmin Instagram page and Advent Youth Ministry YouTube page as we roll out different ways, we can connect with one another digitally. We’ll continue our small group conversation over a Zoom group on Sunday at 10am for Connect Groups. And we’ll have a great time on Sunday night for Huddle over video chat at 5pm. So keep those times set aside as we gather in a different way. Contact Pastor Greg with any needs or questions: 724-698-4264.
 
For our small groups, circle groups and Sunday school classes, Video Chat Technology is available. If any group leaders would like to utilize a group calling technology called Zoom, we have a church account that you can use to keep your community together. Let the church office know if you need help setting up a Zoom call or if we can schedule one for you. Our current plan allows up to 100 participants on a call for an unlimited time. You can use audio or video. It’s easy to join a call from a computer or a smartphone. Contact Geoff Nelson with any questions (tech@adventpres.com).
 
In the meantime, we have formed various teams to ensure we are providing needed service and outreach to our church and community. Here are a few of the teams we have formed in our effort to continue to engage and execute ministry during these uncertain times:
 
Spiritual Communications/Messages/Devotions (This is the team that will be providing our weekly messages for Sunday services as well as devotional and on-line material during the week).
 
Care/Outreach (This team is responsible for making sure we are caring for the needs of our congregation as well as those in our community). This includes a variety of needs including prayer as well as practical needs and concerns. If you want to submit a prayer request you can go to online at www.adventpres.com/prayer or call the office.
 
Community Engagement: This team will provide opportunities for engagement, with offerings to meet remotely online and through digital meeting platforms. They will also look for opportunities to meet needs throughout our church and community.
 
Communications: This team is responsible for communicating what’s happening as well as keeping the church up-to-date regarding church offerings and other critical information that you need to know.
 
Giving/Stewardship: It is critical that we continue to give faithfully. Not only are we looking at the need to continue ministry in a very different way, but as a church and as ambassadors of Christ, we are called to be a light in the darkness. This means we have to be mobile and agile when it comes to meeting needs, not only for our church but also our community. We are currently looking into setting up a coronavirus fund that you can directly give to. These dollars will be used to help families and individuals directly impacted by the virus as well as those who are in need because of lost wages etc.
We encourage you to continue to be faithful in your generosity during this season. Please go online at www.adventpres.com/give 
You can also give through the Advent Presbyterian Church app in the giving section; so, if you haven’t downloaded the app on your smart device, I would encourage you to do it today!
 
Sanitation/Cleaning; This team is tasked with the responsibility of keeping our campus clean and sanitized. This is not only for the situation we are currently facing but also new standards for when we can re-gather on campus.
 
In His grip-
Alan
alan.bugg@adventpres.com
 
 

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DNOW2020 Suspended

 

In the interest of safety, Advent Church leadership has decided to suspend Disciple Now 2020. This decision is unfortunate and was not made lightly. We hope to be able to reschedule this retreat when appropriate, however, we cannot forecast if or when that would happen.
 
We are still excited to have our guest speaker, Terence Gray, preaching at our Sunday morning services at Advent on March 29th.
 
Please follow our social media and check your email for further updates.
 

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