Reopening Mercy Hill Church

May 1, 2020

I know everyone is eager to get back to business as usual! However, we want to be wise and to bear with one another in the midst of varying thoughts on our current situation. As important as when we meet is a desire to do so in a way that honors Christ and our brothers and sisters in this congregation. 
We are a church that usually has 100 or so in attendance on a Sunday. We have a sanctuary that has a capacity of  140 or so. That means we could not all meet together on a Sunday morning while observing appropriate social distancing practices that Governor Parson and other state officials are requesting of us. The Elder Leadership Team has met and we want to honor these restrictions. Our plan is to hold in-person worship services starting May 10. Here are a few guidelines we will seek to apply that first Sunday back:

  • Our main goal is to be physically present together for our normal Sunday morning gatherings.
  • There will be no Sunday school in the beginning.
  • There will be no nursery and child-care during the morning gathering until we feel it is safe to do so.
  • We will have sections of chairs roped off to provide social distancing standards and to encourage us to spread out around the sanctuary.
  • We will dedicate a section of seats for those over 60 or whose health is compromised, but wish to attend.
  • The Lord’s Supper will be prepared by one Elder with a mask and gloves.
  • The Lord’s Supper will be administered by 2 elders wearing masks and gloves.
  • We will use the designated boxes a the back of the sanctuary for offerings moving forward.
  • We will enter and exit through the main doors only.
  • We ask everyone to honor social distancing while in the sanctuary interacting with others as well as in the parking lot.
  • A mask is not required, but is encouraged, especially for those who fall into the more vulnerable category.
  • We ask all parents to keep their children with them at all times in your row of seats before, during and after the service. We love children hanging out and running around and enjoying themselves as parents talk. However, we will have to wait a while before allowing children to run freely through the building.
  • We will stream the service on YouTube and Facebook live for those still uncomfortable attending or for families concerned about children sitting through the full service.
  • Knowing little children will be in the service, we will shorten our normal 75 minute service to 50-60 minutes.
  • Please only use the main restrooms adjacent to the foyer. (not the one in the TRIBE room or the trailer)
  • There is a traffic flow plan for restroom use that we will distribute and ask that you follow in order to maintain social distancing.
  • We will dismiss in rows after the service concludes and leave through the main doors.
  • We will be diligent to have the areas we use cleaned and disinfected before each Sunday gathering
  • We will be conducting in person and online polls to determine how many people will come back right away and how many people will continue to worship via live stream. The results of that survey will determine whether we start out with 1 service at our usual time, or if we move to 2 services to accommodate social distancing. We will let you know ASAP. 

We realize this may sound like a bit much to some, but we would rather over-prepare and lighten some of these restrictions than return to gather together ill-prepared or make certain folks feel unsafe. Our aim is to make sure all feel safe and comfortable to return.
Whether it is on May 10 or a later date (when you are comfortable doing so) we hope to see you soon!
Christ is All,
Pastor Aaron (on behalf of the Elder Leadership Team)

Seating Chart and Traffic Flow Plan

Restroom Plan

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