First Church of God is opening for public worship on Sunday May 31, 2020. Please take a look at some of the measures we are putting in place so that we can feel comfortable coming together again.

It is time for First Church to once again open its doors for public worship. The Bible makes it clear that the assembling together of the people of God is something that should not be forsaken, nor should it be something that is taken lightly. Only through gathering together do we partake in all the dynamics associated with God’s Church.

With that being said, we also have a responsibility to be good stewards of this opportunity. This means that we must consider one another and consider the current season in which we live. We understand that not everyone will feel comfortable attending in person. In fact, we encourage those who are unhealthy or feeling ill/off, immune-compromised, or high risk to stay home. In no way should anyone feel pressured about attending once we are open for worship. Situations are varied and each person needs to assess the best options for themselves and their family.

In order to fulfill both the calling to gather and the calling to love one another, our re-gathering will begin at our 10:00am service on Sunday, May 31. At least for the near future, things will be a bit different from what we were accustomed to.

Here are the things you can anticipate on Sunday mornings beginning May 31:

AT-HOME PREPARATION FOR ATTENDING IN PERSON
As you are preparing to come to church each Sunday morning, please assess your own wellness level by considering your temperature, any feelings of congestion, cough, etc. If you know you or a family member is exhibiting anything other than normal, please stay at home. We love you, whether you are at home, at work, at church, wherever you are!

THE FRONT DOORS WILL BE PROPPED OPEN
When you arrive, use the main doors to the church building, under the canopy. These doors will be propped open so as to facilitate a more sanitary entrance. This will be the case when you enter and when you leave.

THE PROTOCOL OF SOCIAL DISTANCING WILL BE ENCOURAGED.
Since the start of the pandemic the medical community has been encouraging social distancing and hand washing as appropriate measures to mitigate COVID-19. We will be encouraging the same.

THE LOBBY WILL BE A LARGE HALL-WAY TO THE WORSHIP SPACE.
As you enter, please go directly to the sanctuary. Do not take time to gather in the lobby but make your way straight through the lobby. This is both for entrance to worship and also exit to your vehicle.

RESTROOMS
Lobby restrooms will be available for use. Consider the number of persons in the restroom at one time to maintain social distancing. Infant changing stations are available in both men’s and women’s restrooms. Avoid lingering in the lobby waiting on someone in a restroom.

SANITIZING STATIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE IN THE LOBBY.
While we encourage moving instead of lingering in the lobby, please also note that several hand sanitizing stations will be setup there for your use. Once again, we ask that you maintain the suggested social distance, but feel free to stop long enough to get hand sanitizer if you want.

SOCIAL DISTANCING IN THE PEWS
When you make your way into the sanctuary, we are going to ask that you fill the room from the front to the back. We will be using every other pew for seating and there will be blue tape that marks the approximate places to sit. We are encouraging families to sit together (parents, youth, children, and infants), but please keep the correct distance from your family to the next. We believe that First Church folks will exhibit love in action by “preferring one another” when it comes to finding possibly new seating arrangements in our sanctuary.

MASKS ARE UP TO YOU
There has been much discussion about masks, whether it’s best to wear one or not, and there are people on both sides of this issue. Let us all remember that we are to prefer one another in many areas of life, and this is one of those areas. While we are encouraging masks, we are not mandating masks. Each person needs to determine his or her own responsibility in this regard.

CHILDREN WILL BE SITTING WITH THEIR FAMILIES
We will not be having any separate children’s programming at this time. The Action Zone will not be in session and the Nursery will be closed. The Cry room will be available to nursing mothers. Infant changing stations are available in the lobby restrooms. Our Children’s Director Kelly Worline will have activity packets ready to distribute to parents. These packets will help our children stay focused during our time together.

LIVE STREAMING WILL CONTINUE
First Church will be live streaming the messages from May 31 and on into the future. Many people will not be comfortable gathering at our church building yet. That is perfectly all right. We can all stay connected through the gift of technology. The message audio will also continue to be uploaded to our church website for listening at any time.