The following plan is understood to be fluid as the CDC recommendations and our state guidelines continue to be modified. We will modify our plan as necessary to ensure continued compliance and the safety of our congregation and community.
Timeframe: Our leadership team has chosen to delay reopening for in-person gatherings until masks are no longer recommended for everyone in attendance.
Sunday Worship Gathering
- Attendance numbers will be kept in compliance with those established by the CDC, the state of Maryland, and the Allegany County Health Department.
- Multiple services will be offered while keeping in compliance with all established guidelines. Individuals and families will be asked to sign up in advance for the service they plan to attend to ensure numeric compliance.
- No one, other than those required to be inside to conduct the service, will be permitted to enter the facility until 15 minutes before the start of the service.
- Sanctuary seating will be designated with pews closed and marked to ensure proper social distancing. Alternating rows will be used for multiple services.
- Upon entering the facility, no one may congregate in the lobby. When an individual or family enters the facility, they are to go directly to their seat.
- Ushers will seat people from front to back as guests arrive.
- Once the service begins, the building entrances will be monitored so that no one else may enter. If someone arrives late, they will have to wait until the next available service time, space permitting.
- Ushers will dismiss guests to exit from back to front to ensure a steady flow. Upon exiting, no one is to remain in the foyer. Everyone is to proceed directly to their vehicles.
- No one may enter the facility until all guests have exited the previous service.
- All children must remain with their parent/caregiver during the service.
- While masks will not be required in the facility, those who feel safer wearing a mask are encouraged to do so.
- The pastor and several other leaders will be present at all gatherings. They will maintain proper social distancing and frequently wash their hands to avoid spreading the virus.
- They will avoid the lobby and parking lot during arrival and dismissal times. They will use the fellowship hall restrooms and will access them via the stairs behind the platform.
- We will continue to stream our gatherings with the understanding that many will not be ready to return once our doors initially open.
- We will continue to offer streamed children’s and student ministries, including 3AG Kids, 3AG Students, Royal Rangers, and Mpact.
- Ushers will be an important part of the overall safety and flow of our gatherings. They will assist in helping to direct the overall flow of movement.
- No offering plates will be passed during the service. No ushers will walk to the front of the sanctuary for the offering time.
- Offerings may be placed in designated drop boxes in the foyer and sanctuary.
- Communion will be offered on its regularly scheduled Sunday with prepackaged cups and wafers. The elements will be set up on a table in the foyer so that attendees may pick them up before entering the sanctuary.
- Nursery and kids' church will not be offered in-person during the initial phases of reopening. If parents bring their children, the family will sit together in the sanctuary during the gathering.
- These ministries will resume in keeping with guidelines established by government agencies and the Board of Education who is tasked with establishing rules for daycares.
- No outside use of the facility (funerals, weddings, etc.) will be permitted until all restrictions have been lifted by the CDC, the governor, and local authorities.
- The lower level of our facilities will be closed off completely during Sunday gatherings except for leaders and volunteers involved with the gathering. All entrances and exits of the facility will be conducted on the sanctuary level via the stairs from the parking lot or the ramp across from the Midlothian memorial.
- Entrance doors, bathrooms, lobby areas, pews, etc., will be properly sanitized between gatherings. An adequate amount of time between services will be allotted to ensure this is done in a safe and satisfactory manner.
- Doors to the foyer will be propped open before and after services so that attendees need not touch them.
- Doors to the sanctuary will remain open during gatherings so that attendees need not touch them.
- Restrooms will be open to only one individual or family unit at a time.
- No one under the age of 13 will be permitted to use the restroom without an accompanying parent or guardian.
- Restroom doors will remain open when restrooms are not being used. Those using the restroom will close the door and prop it open again when they leave.
- Anyone who uses the restroom must wipe down all surfaces with disinfectant wipes before exiting the restroom. Wipes will be provided by the church.
- One man and one woman will be assigned to monitor the use of the restrooms to ensure compliance. These people will not be in the restroom. They will monitor the doors to ensure that no one enters while someone else is present and to inquire about the sanitation of the restroom following use.
- The nursery will be available only for diaper changes and only to one family at a time. Children are not to play with toys.
- Parents will need to provide their own diapers and wipes.
- After using the changing table, the parent/caregiver must clean the surface with a sanitizing wipe.
Café – The cafe will not be open at this time.
Sunday School – Sunday school will not resume at this time.
Choir – Choir will not resume at this time.
Midweek Ministry – Upon initial re-opening, our midweek ministry will continue to be offered online rather than in person.
Attendance by those most vulnerable
- Those who have been deemed most vulnerable by the CDC are be encouraged to comply with all CDC guidelines. This includes staying home if you feel sick, have a fever, or have been in contact with someone who is sick.
- It is understood that not everyone will be comfortable returning right away. We strongly encourage those who are not comfortable to continue engaging with us online.
- It is our hope that everyone will work together during this time. If, however, it is determined that someone is not being compliant, this will not be ignored since the safety of our entire church family and community are at stake.
- Anyone who fails to comply with these established guidelines, will be asked to leave and not return until all restrictions are lifted.