July 19th Worship Registration.
In preparation for in-person services beginning July 12 at 8:30AM and 11:00AM, the LOWC Elders, clergy, and church leaders are committed to taking all the steps required or recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Safer at Home guidelines. Those “best practices” include the following:
• Wearing of face covering by all participants except worship leaders while they are addressing the congregation.
• Safe distancing by closing alternate rows of seats in the Worship Center, by maintaining two empty chairs between individuals or family groups, and by refraining from congregating in the narthex and the gathering place either before or after the services.
• Safe distancing can only be made possible by requiring advance registration of those wishing to attend. Phase Two guidelines limit the number of people present to one-half the number permitted by the building or room occupancy code. In the case of the Worship Center, that limit is 125 people. In order to maintain safe distancing, however, the limit must be reduced to no more than 100 people in any service. The Elders have approved two Sunday morning services, so we will be able to accommodate up to 200 worshipers. It will be necessary to pre-register either by telephone or on-line if you wish to attend.
• Provision of hand sanitizer stations at building entry points.
• Sanitizing the worship seating areas between services.
• Eliminating the use of service leaflets, pew Bibles, and hymnals, and substituting projected images on the large screens above the sound stage.
• No choir, but provision of live and/or recorded music as our capabilities evolve.
• Faith giving offerings will be collected in drop boxes at the exit doors.
• Holy Communion will be conducted on the first Sunday of the month using the process that has been employed in the recent Wednesday night services.
• Limiting the use of restrooms and sanitizing them regularly.
• No food or coffee will be served.
• No child care will be available, and children will need to attend worship with their families.
Plenty of trained volunteers will be on hand to assist the congregation in navigating these requirements.
It’s especially important to point out that ON-LINE SERVICES WILL CONTINUE to be provided even after in-person services resume. Clearly, many of our congregation will continue to prefer the on-line option due to their age and/or underlying medical conditions. The prevailing wisdom among LOWC leadership is that we have entered a new era in which worship opportunities must be presented using a variety of media, methods, and techniques.
Several of you have asked about gatherings of ministry groups, Bible study classes, etc. The Elders approved those activities in the church building limited only by the types of requirements outlined above: face covering, safe distancing, sanitization, etc. Groups will be restricted in size to one-half the capacity of the room to which they have been assigned. The specific requirements approved by the elders are as follows:
• Sign-up for meeting space in advance with the church administrative staff.
• The meeting space requested must support social distancing of at least 6 feet between each participant.
• Face masks must be worn while in the church building.
• Each participant must have a temperature check upon entering the building. Persons with temperatures of 99.4 or higher will not be allowed to participate and must return home. (Forehead scanning thermometer is available in the Administrative Office).
• No food or beverage service is allowed. May bring personal items, but no sharing.
• Hand sanitizer will be available.
• Each participant must sanitize the seat and/or table area before and after use. (Sanitizing wipes will be provided)
• Use only the designated restrooms and sanitize area after use.
• Groups are encouraged to appoint a monitor who will be present to review and oversee compliance with these guidelines.
Your patience and perseverance have been remarkable during this pandemic. You have been exceedingly generous with your gifts, talents and finances, and you are filled with the spirit of the Lord. This time of pandemic has revealed us to be a strong, dynamic, healthy church committed to serving one another and the community in the name of Jesus in spite of the forces that might keep us down.
May God’s blessings continue to be poured out on you and on The Lake of the Woods Church.
Wayne Thompson