As businesses around us slowly start to re-open, and it seems that the world is slowly beginning to turn again, we recognize the need to move with caution. Early in this pandemic, places of worship were among some well-documented and carefully studied “super-spreader” events, in which many people became ill. As a sign of our love for each other and our mutual care for each other’s health, we commit to re-opening with care.
25% capacity for now
After careful consideration by our leadership board and property committee, with input from the congregation in adult forums and consultation with other churches in the area, we will re-open for in-person worship on Sunday, July 12th and Wednesday, July 15. Seating will be limited to 25% capacity, many new rules will be established to minimize contact time, and worship services will be staggered:
- traditional worship service on Sundays at 9am
- contemporary worship service on Wednesdays at 6:30pm
to prevent repeated use of the same space within any 36-hour period. Additionally, all worship services will continue to be live-streamed, so those who aren’t worshipping in-person can still be a part of Mt Zion’s church life.
Sign-up is no longer required
When we started in-person worship, we were concerned about reaching our 25% capacity and needing to turn people away. However, we have found that the number of people who are interested is small, so we are no longer requiring advance reservation. However, those who come to Mt Zion for in-person worship will be expected to commit to new rules to help protect themselves and others, which will be posted on the entrances as a Covenant of Care, so please read it carefully.
Attend from home
If you continue to worship from home (because you have health issues, because you’re out of town, because you are not yet comfortable in crowds, etc), refer to our Virtual Resources for up-to-date information on how to watch the live-stream.
What to expect
- Don’t arrive early or late — the doors will open 15 minutes before the service and will close 10 minutes after the service begins.
- Don’t come if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have recently been in contact with anyone with symptoms.
- The south entrance to the church will not be open. Please use the main entrance on the north. If you wish to socialize a little before church, please do so outside in the courtyard and enter through the courtyard doors.
- You must wear a mask (unless you’re under 2-years-old).
- Stay 6′ apart, avoiding touching each other, and avoiding blocking traffic. Look for tape marks on the floor to remind you where to stand. (People living in the same household may stay together.)
- Frequently use hand sanitizer or wash your hands, especially after touching commonly used surfaces (handrails, light switches, etc) and after touching your face or facemask. Many new hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed for your convenience.
- No common food or drink will be offered. Please bring your own cup of coffee or water bottle. Communion will be served with individual, pre-packaged wafers and cups of wine.
- You may only sit in specific pews that are far enough apart.
- We will open windows to encourage airflow to dissipate any respiratory particles that might escape your mask.
- There will be no congregational singing, and spoken responses will be limited. We encourage clapping, dancing, and sign language.
- When the service ends, please exit the building promptly using the northeast door (unless you need the ramp and elevator).
- If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 after having attended church in-person, you must notify the church office, so effective contact tracing can occur, and others who may have been exposed to the virus can be informed.
Our custodian will clean and sanitize the sanctuary 24 hours after each worship service (to allow time for airborne particles to settle to the floor and reduce his risk), along with daily sanitizing of high-traffic areas (entrances, bathrooms, and the administration area). To help focus his cleaning efforts, many bathrooms, entrances, and other spaces have been closed for the time being. Please respect the signs telling you not to use these spaces. If we discover that a person diagnosed with COVID-19 has been present in the building for a worship service, everyone that attended that service will be notified, and in-person worship will be suspended for 14 days.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.