COVID-19 Worship Guidelines
First Presbyterian Guidelines for Worship during the Pandemic
The Session of First Presbyterian Church meets monthly on the second Tuesday of the month. At each meeting since the pandemic began one of the items of concern is to consider what types of restrictions or conditions need to be in place for the safety of all who may choose to worship here. As of this date (January 13, 2021) the following restrictions/conditions have been put into practice by our church Session for all those attending worship:
Masks are required to be worn. Masks are available at the church at all times. UPDATE! Beginning May 30, 2021, the mask requirement has been lifted. It is recommended that those who have NOT been vaccinated still wear a mask. Anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask may continue to do so.
Social distancing (maintaining an approximate distance of 6 feet) is expected to be followed while in the sanctuary – both seated and standing. Seating is every other pew which is marked by the placement of bulletins. Family groups may choose to sit together in a single pew. If our numbers of people in worship exceed our capacity to social distance some worshipers will be asked to sit downstairs in the fellowship hall to watch the service remotely (but live) via television.
No physical contact – all human-to-human contact is strongly discouraged (handshaking, hugging, any direct person-to-person contacting is not permissible). Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance to the sanctuary and fellowship hall.
No singing and only limited congregational responses. No hymns or singing of any kind by congregational members or choirs during worship. Limited and quiet congregational responses will be allowed – i.e. repeating the Lord’s Prayer and our Affirmation of Faith quietly is now permissible.
No passing of materials from person to person or between persons. Bulletins will be placed in the appropriate pews, no communion passed, no offering plates distributed – offering plates will be available next to the doors.
The Session hopes all in attendance will abide by these restrictions. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope that these can be removed in the near future.
Other notes about our worship service:
The offering will be collected by asking you to place your gifts in the collection plate as you leave the sanctuary.
There will be no communion until further notice.
There will be no congregational singing of hymns or congregational choral responses until further notice.
Hymnals and pew Bibles will be removed from the sanctuary. If you wish to use a Bible, please bring your own.
Bulletins will be placed in the pews which are to be used for seating - bulletins will not be handed to you upon entering.
Any type of physical contact is discouraged – no handshakes and no hugging. Social distancing (approximately 6 feet of space between people) should be maintained when at all possible.
The service will be streamlined: no Children’s Moment; only one scripture passage read; no hymns; etc.
Worship will last approximately 45 minutes to limit the amount of time anyone spends in the sanctuary. It will be “Short Service Sunday” every Sunday!
As space in our sanctuary is limited due to social distancing guidelines, some worshippers may be seated downstairs in the fellowship hall and will watch the service live via closed circuit television. All the conditions established for worship in our sanctuary will be followed by those worshipping downstairs.
We realize that these conditions may seem restrictive, but we believe they are necessary at this time for the safety of our church family. Please feel free to express your opinion of our worship conditions to any of our currently serving Elders or to Pastor Steve.
In addition, the Session now will allow other groups of our church to begin meeting at the discretion of their respective group leaders. The Session expects these groups to practice social distancing and other safe practices during their gatherings.