Regathering for Worship
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated October 21, 2020
Will the live stream continue?
Yes. While we long for the day when we may all return to gathered worship, we will continue to offer live streaming as a measure for as many of our Covenant Partners as possible to remain connected and participate in Sunday morning worship during this pandemic.
How many services? Why not 2?
Initially, we will regather for worship in one service rather than two. Practically, we want to be cautious of overstepping the capacity of our volunteers and staff as they ensure all of the safety/sanitation protocols (described below) in place. Additionally, our congregational survey suggests that the number of people who will regather when the time comes will be relatively small. Perhaps most importantly, though, is that we want our initial regathering to be a celebration of our unity as an entire body for a season before returning to our regular practice of two worship services.
Will there be a sign up to attend?
Yes. In accordance with the reduced maximum capacity guidance set forth by Governor Cooper, we will require covenant partners to register to attend in-person worship. Registration will become available on the Monday prior to the Sunday worship gathering each week. In the event that available spots become full, a waiting list will be recorded. We will encourage congregants not to sign up for multiple weeks in a row to ensure that there are available spots for all who desire to gather for worship.
Visit 1stpres.com/regathering to register. If you need assistance with registering, call the church at (336) 723-1621.
Will certain ages be prohibited?
No ages will be prohibited; however, we strongly advise those who are at risk to take appropriate measures of protection. Additionally, all who are in attendance will be required to wear face coverings over their noses and mouths during the entirety of the time on campus regardless of age.
Will there be childcare when we regather?
We will not be offering childcare or regular on-campus programs for preschool or elementary students at this time. Our children’s ministry and pastoral staff is committed to staying informed and up-to-date with the school system, governor, and CDC’s guidelines and recommendations, and we will reevaluate this decision when we believe it is safe and appropriate to do so.
What will the service look like—meet and greet/offering passed/bulletins?
When we regather for worship, we will initially have a worship service that assures proper social distancing. Worshipers will be seated to maintain 6 feet from others, and all in attendance will be required to wear a properly adorned mask. There will be no meet and greet in the service. Baskets will be placed near the exit for offering, and continued online giving will be encouraged. We will not have bulletins and will rely on projection. There will be no hymnals, Bibles, pens, or other paper products in the seat backs. Music will be a part of the service, but the congregation will not be encouraged to participate in singing.
As progress is made in the containment of the virus and medical experts’ advise, we will begin to add many of these elements back into worship.
Will there be singing?
We will regather without congregational singing as the medical evidence suggests against it at this time. Our Worship staff plans small ensembles to lead from a distance from the congregation and social distance themselves. Additionally, some music may be pre-recorded to ensure that safety protocols are followed.
Will there be communion?
We hope to be able to begin offering communion sometime shortly following regathering for worship. We will not be utilizing our customary process of intinction, or dipping, for serving. We are currently working on viable and sanitary methods to serve communion.
Will there be a choir or wind instruments?
Our Worship staff plans to utilize small ensembles, both instrumental and vocal, in order to provide social distancing for the musicians and vocalists. We will not regather with the choir due to concerns for proper social distancing during rehearsal and the worship service. We continue to see that medical evidence suggests higher risks for COVID-19 spread with the presence of choral singing.
How will service leaders and musicians be protected?
Service participants and musicians will maintain social distance from one another and maintain increased social distance from the congregation while leading the service from the platform. Participants will also wear masks during the times when they are not speaking or singing.
We will continue to sanitize microphones and microphone packs, lecterns, and keyboards, and other musical instruments as we have done since beginning virtual worship.
What cleaning will be done before, during, and after service?
Our facilities staff has a cleaning and sanitization schedule that ensures the thorough cleaning of our buildings and complies with CDC guidelines. All common surfaces such as doors, door handles and push bars, and railings will be sanitized prior to services and during times the building is being utilized. Restrooms will be thoroughly sanitized prior to services and re-sanitized at regular intervals while the buildings are occupied.
The facilities staff has purchased a fogger that will be used to sanitize the facility prior to and following services. This equipment is being used currently by airlines to sanitize aircraft prior to passenger embarkation.
Do we have safety supplies and what do we have?
In addition to the fogger mentioned previously, the staff has been successful in acquiring a supply of disinfectant spray and wipes, hand sanitizer, and personal protective supplies including, gloves and masks for children and adults.
Additionally, both facilities staff and Children’s Ministry staff have purchased non-contact thermometers for pre-screening present volunteers, staff, and worshipers.
What will the pre and post service time look like—will there be a fellowship time?
Upon our regathering for worship, there will be no fellowship time. The congregation will be asked to move through the health screening area immediately to their socially distanced seating prior to the service. When dismissed at the end of the service, worshipers will be asked to proceed directly to their cars in the parking lot.
How will social distancing be enforced?
Markings on floors will help folks gauge proper distance and hosts will escort families and individuals to their seats in the worship venues. Alternating rows and spacing within rows will ensure social distancing. Worshipers will be dismissed by rows to ensure social distancing following the service.
How will attenders be spaced apart when seated?
We will use alternating rows and spacing within rows to maintain social distancing.
What if someone refuses to wear a mask?
When we regather, masks (properly covering mouths and noses) will be required of all in attendance. The church has a supply of masks for both adults and children should someone forget to bring their own.
If an individual is unable to wear a mask due to a medical issue, a note from a physician will be needed and that individual will be seated with enhanced social distancing for their protection and the protection of other worshippers.
As a reminder to those who prefer not to wear a mask, the service will continue to be live streamed for the foreseeable future making worship accessible to all.
Will there be enough handicapped parking?
The parking lot between buildings B & C on the Cherry St. side will be reserved for those who require handicapped parking or have special needs. With many folks self-selecting to wait to regather for worship in person, we are confident we will have close parking in these lots to meet the demand.
What will the screening process on arrival be like?
Everyone who attends will be asked to respond to health screening questions concerning symptoms, exposure to COVID-positive individuals, and recent travel. Each individual in attendance will also have their temperature taken via touchless thermometers. A mask will be provided in the event that someone does not have one.
We look forward to the day when we can gather together for worship! The Lord is with us!