What a strange ride we’ve been on these past two months.
Who would have guessed that church buildings across the United States would be closed for Easter?
And yet, we have found new ways of remaining in ministry and growing in Christ.
Great news! According to the most recent information we have,
we are projecting that we will return to in-person worship on June 21.
I’m grateful that President Trump put churches in the category of essential businesses and at the heart of America’s return to normalcy. While many congregations are opening earlier, we have decided to wait until June 21. This honors our governor’s request for vulnerable persons to continue sheltering at home and our Bishop’s request that we not open for in-person worship until this date. We are a family at Forest Hills and when we open our doors, we want to ensure that our entire family and community is welcome.
Those who return to in-person worship will notice many differences. The following plans for our Second Phase of reopening (we are in Phase One now) are the best we have at the moment but will be revised as necessary. Phase Three will relax some of these changes, and Phase Four will see a return to full operation.
8:30 A.M. Blended: service in Sanctuary
9:45 A.M. Contemporary: in Ministry Center with overflow seating simulcast in Sanctuary
11:00 A.M. Traditional: in Sanctuary with overflow seating simulcast in Ministry Center
• Each service will have special seating arrangements allowing for the six-foot social distancing
• We will suspend greeting time and ask folks to maintain a six-foot distance from those not in their immediate family
• Air conditioning will run before and after people are present in the room,
but will be turned off during worship to limit airflow
• We are encouraging everyone to wear masks
• We will remain seated through the service
• The furniture has been removed from the hallways to limit social grouping
• Hymnals and pew Bibles have been removed
• As boisterous singing has been shown to spread this virus, choir will resume at a later date
• Resumption of Sunday School will be part of a later phase.
You are welcome to make offsite or Zoom options for your class at this time.
• We will not have children’s church or nursery.
Children will need to remain with parents, as the children’s classrooms are closed.
• We will open the doors 15 minutes before the service begins and ask folks to return to their cars after the service ends so that our team can prepare the worship space for the next service
• We plan to keep the services to 45 minutes to allow time to wipe down surfaces and clean bathrooms between services
I hope you can see that while we are excited to regather in our building for our Sunday morning services, we are taking precautions to ensure the safety of those who attend. Please continue to pray for our church as we make the slow transition back to “normal.” I look forward to seeing you soon!
– Baxter Hurley