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Reentering God's Courts: First Christian's Plan for Returning to Onsite Worship

As we move closer to the day we can once again worship as a gathered community, we want to share with you our plan for doing so as safely as possible.

Two groups have been working very hard to draft our path forward.

The first is our church's Discipleship Team. As part of our church board, one of this team's primary responsibilities is overseeing worship and they have taken the lead on discerning how and when we will return to onsite worship.

The following people are members of this team: Merry Beth Henderson, Tim Hoagland, Alicia Kraus, Christina Milner, and Drexel Rankin

The second group is a Medical Advisory Task Group, which was appointed by the Discipleship Team to provide advice and direction for a safe return. Members of this team are practicing medical professionals who regularly worship at First Christian Church and include the following individuals:

  • Stephanie Copeland, BSN, Cardiac Cath Lab, Jewish Hospital

  • April Fiel, BSN, Hosparus Health

  • Mark Head, MD, Internal Medicine, Clark Medical Group, Jeffersonville, IN

  • Zachary Gilbertson, DMD, Private Practice, Madison, IN

  • Lori Scales, MD, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Primary Care Norton Medical Group, Mt. Washington, KY

  • Margaret Simpson, RN, Critical Care Unit, ICU for Covid-19 Patients, Norton Audubon Hospital, Louisville, KY

  • Gail Sprigler, DNP, MSN, RN, Robley Rex VA Center, Chief Learning Officer, Covid-19 Incident Command Operations Division

  • Jenny Zimmerman, LATATC, Athletic Trainer, University of Florida

The first recommendation made by the Medical Advisory Task Group was that First Christian Church should not return to onsite worship until the state restrictions on social gatherings were lifted to include groups of over ten people. That recommendation was made unanimously by the group and then formally approved by our Discipleship Team. That vote was also unanimous and communicated in our e-news beginning May 5, 2020.

At their second meeting, the Medical Advisory Task Group approved a plan for our first phase of returning to onsite worship. That plan, affirmed without dissent, was then passed into action by unanimous vote of the Discipleship Team.

You can read the details of that plan by clicking here, but these are some of the practices that will be implemented:

  • We recommend that anyone who is part of an at risk group as defined by the CDC, as well as those who provide direct care to those who do, not attend worship during this first phase. You can find a list of those groups by clicking here.

  • Worship attendees will be screened upon arrival to verify they have not experienced any symptoms related to Covid-19 in the past 14 days. They will also have their temperature checked using touch free thermometers. Anyone exhibiting symptoms or having a temperature of 100° will be asked to return home.

  • Masks will be required of all attendees.

  • Attendees will be checked in so that we can follow up with them should someone in attendance receive a positive diagnosis.

  • Seating in the sanctuary will be limited in order to keep proper social distancing. Seats will have to be reserved online before arrival.

  • While there will be music, there will be no congregational singing.

  • Single serve communion sets will be given to worshippers as they enter.

  • There will be no coffee bar or food service.

  • Offertory baskets will be at the end of pews and will not be passed.

  • Hand sanitizer stations will be set up at entry points to building and sanctuary.

  • There will be no child care or youth group activities. Children will need to sit with their family.

  • All hard surfaces will be disinfected between services.

As a reminder, the above practices are for the first phase of our return to worship and reflect an approach that errs on the side of caution. We will make appropriate adjustments for each phase that follows and will announce those adjustments when formalized.

Another essential aspect of our return is having the volunteers necessary to safely implement the above procedures as well as providing other essential aspect of worship. If we cannot secure enough volunteers, we will not be able to re-open or have as many services as we are hoping to provide. If you are not in an at-risk group and not providing care to someone who is, please click here to volunteer. We will begin scheduling as soon as we have a firm start date.

We appreciate your continuing support and patience as we seek to chart a path forward and look forward to seeing you in worship as soon and as safely as possible.


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