- Are we having corporate services again?
Yes, 9am and 11am on Sundays.
- Are we continuing with a church online experience?
Yes, we will continue to do so as we have been at 10:30am on Sundays.
- How do we keep at 30% capacity?
If you want to come to a corporate worship service, you’ll need to phone the church office on Thursdays between 9am-3pm to sign up for a spot. We will be compiling a master list each week to make sure we stay in the correct numbers. There’s room for 50 worshipers (not including greeters, cleaners, etc.) at both services. This allows us to reach up to 100 people in person, as well as having the online option available for those who want or need to stay home.
- I want to make sure those that don’t have internet have first priority.
So do we, we’ll be contacting them first to let them know about the system and encourage them to come if they feel ready.
- I don’t feel ready to come back to a corporate gathering.
That’s perfectly alright, we understand many will not, or cannot for health or personal preference -- and that’s okay. That’s why we’re continuing a church online experience for those that need or want to stay home.
- What will change at the worship service?
A few things. To maintain physical distancing, there won’t be a greeting time, passing an offering plate, or a greeter shaking your hand. In order to cut down on cleaning and disinfecting, we won’t be having the coffee station or shared worship flags for kids to use. We also won’t be having Sunday school. Seating will be spaced out so that people remain six feet from each other. Households, of course, can sit together.
- What will be the same?
You will still be able to gather as a body of believers to corporately celebrate the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, fellowship with one another, receive communion, hear Scripture declared, hear a message from the Bible, and pray together.
- Will we celebrate communion?
Yes, but in a way that honours physical distancing and limits contact with others. Rather than coming up and being served by someone (or passing plates--both of which would increase contact) -- we will set up two stations at the front that a person can come up and take an individual bread and cup themselves. Bread will be cut up instead of torn from one loaf.
- How about cleaning between services?
Walter, our janitor, is ready to do a full washroom cleaning, and to disinfect all chairs, door handles and frequently touched surfaces. Everything will be clean for the next service.
- Will everyone have to use hand sanitizer upon entering the building?
Yes, this will be provided. (Much like how Schmidt’s greenhouse has a sanitizer and pump available for those walking in).
- Will people be required to wear masks?
At this point the public health unit has only recommended the use of masks if you can’t maintain physical distancing. Masks are not required, but if you choose to wear a mask you are welcome to do so.
- Who is going to stand at the door and turn people away if we reach our numbers but someone shows up that didn't sign up for that Sunday?
The greeters team and pastoral team will be prepared to explain our situation to people and encourage them to connect online if we aren’t able to have them join us for that particular service.
- How does offering work?
We will not be passing the plates, but will have a basket available at the back and watched by a greeter for people to give physical donations as they leave the service. We will continue to encourage people to give online by e-transfer or Canada Helps.
- Have you thought about an outdoor service or drive in service?
Yes, we have. Though they can be a great idea, there’s a few reasons we haven’t tried them. First, they are completely weather dependent (judging by our recent rain this is a fairly unpredictable thing). Second, they require volunteer set-up for sound equipment, etc., which would require more of Steve Henderson than I want to put on him at this time. Third, we can’t record them or eventually live-stream them as easily as we will be able to indoors. So, weather, volunteer-intensive, hinders ability to record and live-stream -- and also would be more difficult to uphold the physical distancing standards as an ‘outdoor gathering’ -- would probably be frowned upon.
- What about other ministries? Bible studies, healing rooms, youth, etc.?
At this time we are moving to a Sunday worship only use of our church building. This keeps the need to constantly disinfect and clean the building after every group’s usage down. We encourage all those who are yearning for discipleship to connect with our online prayer, Bible study and youth gatherings. For those that can’t connect online, it may be possible to meet together in homes in groups up to ten for a study, to foster community, etc.
- Are we rushing to re-open?
First of all the church is a people, not a building. And in that sense the church was never closed (unless you intentionally turned off being a disciple of Jesus for the last three months!) I prefer the term ‘re-gathering’ rather than ‘re-opening’ because we have been scattered these last three months, not closed.
To the main question: No. The pastoral team had met and talked through the regathering scenario back in May, so while the timing may have come sooner than we expected we were not unprepared for what would be involved in holding corporate worship services once again.
So it’s great to come back together, but if the guidelines change and we’re not able to have a worship experience that centres on Christ or fosters biblical community then we won’t rush to simply fill the pews. Our primary aim is to live out the Gospel, to share it with others, and to live for Christ as a body of believers. Gathering together is part of being human--enjoying the physical bodily presence of one another. I don’t believe we are rushing, and we are taking the necessary precautions, etc., to host our services according to the guidelines.
For the latest information please visit www.dfgc.ca.