Church Phased Reopening Strategy

 

God’s Word tells us that as part of God’s creation we were not intended to do life alone (Genesis 2:18). That is especially true in times of extreme stress. This is a very important time for God’s family to care for each other (Matthew 25:40).

As a church, we will continue to provide worship opportunities through different platforms via livestream, Zoom, conference calls, and outside worship events. Essential staff and volunteers are working hard to create these experiences, while maintaining current guidelines of social distancing.

As part of our First Church family we always want to ask these questions:

  • How can we best serve others?
  • Where can our church family make the most difference?

It may feel there is little we can control in dealing with COVID-19, but every one of us can make choices that enable us to stay emotionally healthy.

Our Pastoral Leadership, Ministry Staff, and Church Council have crafted a four-step process for moving our church forward in the days ahead. We will continue working together to determine and frequently update each Phase of re-entry. These guidelines will be reviewed regularly and revised based on updated information. As we move through the different Phases, new guidelines will be communicated.

PHASE 1 (Current)
  • This is the phase we are currently in. We will continue to Worship and have all our Discipleship and Small Groups online only.
PHASE 2 (Est. start June)
  • Encourage families or small groups (self-grouping to level of comfort), to create in-home Sunday morning Watch Parties for Livestream services. Note: Discussion questions will be provided to enhance learning opportunities
  • Hold outside Family Worship Services once a month (beginning Saturday, June 13)
  • Discipleship and small groups will begin to meet in homes
  • Youth can meet in small groups
  • All online and virtual offerings will continue
  • Oviedo Kids VBS will be virtual (June 22-26)
  • Children’s summer camps have been cancelled
PHASE 3 (Est. start July)
  • Deep clean and sanitize facilities
  • Reinforce hand sanitizing areas around campus
  • Introduce small corporate worship services (strategy to be determined)
  • Discipleship groups can meet in designated areas on campus
  • During these events, no childcare or children’s programming will be provided.
  • Elderly and immune deficient individuals will be encouraged to continue watching services online
  • Continue holding outside Family Worship Services once a month
  • We will continue to offer quality online experiences as well
  • Mission trips have been postponed
  • Whale of a Sale has been cancelled
PHASE 4 (est. start August)
  • Resume full worship services and Discipleship classes on campus. (Service times and structure may be changed in accordance with a new and evolving environment
  • Youth, Children’s Ministry, and Nursery will resume on campus
  • Offering plates will no longer be passed. Will provide secure collection boxes at each entrance (Note: counters will need to wear gloves when handling cash)
  • Holy Communion will be handled differently (TBD)
  • Wednesday night dinners, Fellowship Café, etc. (TBD)

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR CHURCH REOPENING STRATEGY:

1)         When can we start holding worship services again using the phased re-entry plan?

John 9:3 says, “…that the works of God might be displayed in him. It would be good for all of us to ask how God’s work is being displayed in the midst of our situation. We seldom choose change, but God’s history shows that He makes use of change. He is Lord of all, including COVID-19, and He is at work through this time.

Now that our governmental and denominational leaders are measuring steps toward resuming activities, we want to lay out our preliminary plans for our church family.

The primary concern for church leaders is to keep our people safe and healthy. With that priority in mind, we choose to move forward at a slower pace than the businesses of Florida. Please refer to the Reopening Strategy above.

2)         What measures will the church take to ensure the safety of the congregation, including social distancing, the use of face masks, and sanitizing?
  • We will thoroughly sanitize the areas that will be open to the public a week prior to re-entry.
  • Bibles, hymnals, and prayer cards will be removed from the pews.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be at each entrance, as well as other designated areas.
  • Tithes and Offerings will no longer be received through the passing of collection plates. Secured collection boxes will be available at each entrance. Online and electronic giving will continue to be an option, as well.
  • Bulletins and other handouts will no longer be distributed. Relevant church information and news will be available in racks and electronically.
  • Face masks may be worn at each individual’s discretion. We will also have disposable masks available upon request.
  • Members will be encouraged to use non-physical forms of greeting one another.
3)         When can children and youth start interacting again?
  • Youth can meet in small groups as outlined in Phase 2.
  • Children’s programming and activities will not resume until Phase 4.

Will the nursery be available during worship services?

  • The nursery will not reopen until Phase 4 when we are able to resume worship services and activities.
4)         When will the church start hosting community events, weddings and funerals?

Church facilities have never been “closed” to worship events such as funerals or weddings. We will continue to make spaces available for these essential services within the social distancing guidelines and sanitation practices.

Each community event request will be considered on an individual basis. The request must come with a plan for personal safety and community sanitation.

5)         When will we have Wednesday night dinners and/or Fellowship Café?

Wednesday night dinners and the Fellowship Café have been suspended until further notice.