Church Reopening Details 3

Church Reopening Details 3

September 10, 2020 Update

As the Provincial Government starts to approve the reopening of many activities, including allowing Churches to reopen at 30% capacity, people are starting to ask when when we can return to Church. Our Church Council has created a subcommittee to review and address our reopening and how, and when, this might occur. The Church Council as a whole has authorized the subcommittee to make decisions regarding COVID-19 matters.

Members of the subcommittee are as follows:

  • Bill Powell – Chair Church Council
  • Jim Courtney – Chair Board of Trustees 
  • Kate Sparrow – Chair Pastoral Care & Public Health Resource
  • Anna Loughlin – Chair Worship Committee 
  • Charlie Walsh – Ministry & Personnel
  • Cathy Hitchcock – Chair Christian Education
  • Doug Hitchcock – Rental Coordinator 

Welcome Back!

Fellow members of Streetsville United Church – Welcome back!  We are tentatively scheduled to restart worshiping in person on Sunday, September 27th.  Over the summer The Back to Church Committee has been meeting regularly and working to make the Sanctuary safe for Sunday morning worship.

Things will be a little different.  You will pre-screen yourself for symptoms prior to coming to Church; check-in upon arrival for potential contact tracing, use hand sanitizer, follow a set traffic-flow for safe physical distancing, and be seated by friendly ushers to minimize physical contact. We’ll all be wearing masks, and of course we can’t sing, but we can still enjoy music and fellowship. We look forward to being strengthened and enriched by Reverend Jessica’s ministry at Streetsville.

We are making plans to re-open carefully and as safely as possible.  COVID-19 will be with us for some time, and for those not planning to attend in-person, we are looking into being able to live-stream the service on Sunday morning.

Sunday School will remain paused for the first few weeks; the Committee has held discussions with the Sunday School teachers and we hope that we can restart this later in October.  We will be in touch with the Sunday School parents separately.

Please read the following details about coming back to Church:

  1. Pre-screening

Before coming to Church, pre-screen yourself for the following symptoms and situations:

  • Do you have a fever; are you feeling feverish, or having chills?
  • Do you have a new or worsening cough, or difficulty breathing?
  • Do you have a sore throat?
  • Have you recently lost your sense of smell or taste?
  • Do you have nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain?
  • Do you have a runny/congested nose (not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions)?
  • Have you come in close contact with a person with symptoms of COVID-19 or who has come in close contact of a confirmed case COVID-19, in the past 14 days?
  • Are you awaiting test results for COVID-19?
  • Have you travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days or been in contact with someone who is sick and who has travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, please do not come to Church

  • Check-in

At this time, the doors onto Queen Street will remain locked and we will enter the Church through the sliding glass door at the Fellowship Lounge entrance. The only exception to this will be for those individuals requiring elevator access.  Please put on your mask before entering the building and maintain appropriate physical distancing as you approach the door.  Inside, you will be greeted by a friendly greeter wearing a name tag and will be provided with hand sanitizer.  They will check off your name on their list, showing that you have pre-screened yourself prior to coming to Church. This list will also be used for potential contact tracing Individuals using the elevator will be checked in by the Elevator attendant. Visitors will be asked the screening questions and give their contact information.

Check-in will begin around 9:15 to allow extra time for this and to seat people.  Please be patient.

Regarding privacy issues related to these lists and forms, the Check-in lists and screening forms will be kept in a file in the office for one month and then will be destroyed.

  • Elevator Access

If you require elevator access, please come to the elevator vestibule.  The attendant will open the exterior door using the automatic opener, and will open the elevator door for you.  You will then enter the elevator.  Do not attempt to operate the elevator.  The attendant will close the elevator door, and will walk to the floor which you request.  The attendant will summon the elevator to the appropriate floor and will meet you to open the door for you.

  • Washrooms

Washrooms will be open, but please try to use washrooms before coming to Church.

  • Traffic Flow to Sanctuary

Following Check-in, you will be directed to the Narthex.  Traffic flow and physical distancing will be indicated by signs and floor markings…please follow these directions. 

  • Entering and Seating in the Sanctuary

To keep our attendance at 30% of capacity – or about 90 people, we have a seating plan to maintain good physical distancing.  At the door of the Sanctuary, you will be met by an usher who will show you to a designated seat on the main floor or in the balcony, marked with tape and /or ropes.  Please take your coat with you – you may be leaving by a different door and there will be room for your coats in the pews because of physical distancing.

Ushers need to fill seats from the front of the Church to the back to ensure we will pass by as few people as possible and to be as safe as possible.  You might even be sitting in a different seat each week!

As usual, please do not bring food or drink into the Sanctuary.

 To keep our safe distance, and meet Ontario Government Emergency Orders concerning capacity, if we have a large number of people attending we will have an overflow area in the Heritage Hall and stream the service to the large TV in that room.

  • During the Service

Seat cushions, hymn books, and bibles have been removed from the pews to minimize cleaning of high-touch surfaces. If you need a cushion, please bring one with you and take it home.  Similarly if you like to follow scripture readings in a bible, bring yours with you to Church. 

During this pandemic we cannot safely sing at Church but we will have music in the service.  Passing of the Peace will be without physical contact and we will use individually packaged wafers/juice for Communion.

  • Offering

Please continue to contribute your offering as done during the pandemic by using PAR, e-transfers or mailing cheques to the office.  Collection plates will not be passed during the service but we now have collection boxes at the exits for individuals wishing to deposit their envelopes when they attend Sunday Church service.

  • Exiting the Sanctuary

We will empty the Church starting from the front to the back keeping our physical distance, using two exits.  The main floor will exit (where possible) down the Office stairs.   Anyone needing to use the Narthex stairs will remain seated until the Sanctuary is emptied, then exit at that time. The balcony will exit through the Narthex, emptying in this case from back to front.  Individuals needing elevator access should briefly remain in their seat until traffic at the door decreases, then exit through the Narthex to the elevator.

  1. Cleaning

Recommended cleaning of our Church is a key part of our protocols.  Pews and the Sanctuary will be cleaned prior to the Sunday morning service.

The Back to Church Committee has used recommended public health guidelines, and the Government Emergency Order Protocols to plan as safe a return as possible.  Committee members will check-in and guide people attending Sunday worship, and will adjust these practices as necessary. Please be patient as we work together with our Church Family. These are new ways of doing things, for now. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by phone or email (william.powell@sympatico.ca).

Bill Powell

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