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. 
·        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.
·        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,