This past Sunday marked exactly three months since we held our first online-only service. As you know, during the month of June, we have chosen to hold services outdoors, weather permitting, to maximize the number of people willing to attend as we re-opened our face-to-face gatherings. Now, as we move into July, we are taking the step of moving all our services back indoors.
On June 21, we had a good experience with our Sunday morning classes indoors. Today, as we publish this update, we are planning to hold our annual business meeting indoors. And, starting with our Wednesday evening service on July 1, we will be moving our Wednesday and Sunday services back indoors.
The following plans apply to the months of July and August. Another update will be sent out in the future for plans beyond August.
With that in mind, please consider and pass along these very important considerations.
- We will do everything possible to communicate, promote, and practice safe measures as we meet in person. A list of those measures is provided at the end of this document. Please review them closely.
- Our service times and schedules will remain as they were before the COVID crisis, but additional in-person services might be added in the future to allow for safe distancing.
- If Akron ever became a COVID hot-spot or if there were clear indications that going back to online services was the wisest approach, we are more equipped than ever to make that adjustment.
- As we move indoors, Sunday and Wednesday services will be streamed live online. New Kids Online services will be offered through June 28, and the library of older services will be available throughout the remainder of the summer.
- The nursery area will be open and available, but will not be staffed in July and August.
- Children’s church will be offered for 3/4 year-olds and 5/6 year-olds upstairs in the pre-kindergarten hall, just as in the past. Children who have just completed 1st through 6th grade will meet in the downstairs class where this group typically gathers.
Safety Practices for Indoor Services
- We respectfully ask at-risk individuals to continue to stay safe and join us online. However, we sincerely respect the right of each person/family to make their own determination as to whether they feel they are in the at-risk category.
- We will ask any people who are sick or feel they may be coming down with an illness to rest, recover, and join us online.
- Hand sanitizer will be available at the doors and in the lobby.
- Masks will be strongly encouraged, but not required. People are asked to bring their own masks, but a limited supply will be made available at the church.
- Greeters and ushers, along with all those attending, will be asked to refrain from shaking hands or hugging.
- Smiley face stickers will be available at each entrance. Those who wish to convey their desire to stay adequately distanced from others can simply wear a smiley face sticker.
- Family groups and extended families who typically gather outside of church can sit together during the service, but spacing between different groups/individuals should be maintained for safety. “Spacing” is defined as three chairs separating people in a given row and not sitting directly in front of or behind another person so that there is six feet of separation.
- Where it is fitting, doors will be propped open. Weather permitting, exterior doors will be propped open during service entry and exit times.
- Appropriate surfaces and doors handles will be disinfected before, during, and after services.
- Offering plates/stations will be available just inside the sanctuary doors. Offering plates will not be passed. Online giving will be encouraged.
- Communion will be served using pre-prepared, wrapped elements. These will be made available at the sanctuary doors to be picked up by each individual when arriving for the service.
Thank you for your wonderful grace and understanding during these unique days. With all sincerity, COVID seemed to have frustrated the forward momentum of many churches, but we hope you will join our team in believing that we are stronger and more ready than ever to fulfill the Great Commission. Full steam ahead!
Your Church Board and Staff