by: James Kelly
A Letter of Encouragement & Guidance from the Pastor & Leadership
Good Afternoon Ebenezer family,
It’s been a while since we have seen each other as a congregation and for this reason many of us, if not all, are eager to get back to church so that we can at a minimum see one another again and enjoy worshiping together even as we safely practice social distancing. Well, as you know our Governor declared Friday, May 28th as the Reopening for the state of Virginia. The Governor’s ruling is that a Worship Facility can have up to 100% of its capacity. However, we can and should return while practicing the six feet social distancing, and the wearing of masks as highly recommended as a precaution. However, there are many states that have already opened around our nation; and granted, many have recovered from Covid-19. Thank the LORD! Thus, the executive leadership team and I will discuss, praying and counseling with one another, until we unanimously agree, and we believe that it is in the best and safe interest of our church family to re-open our church facility to house 50% of its capacity. Below is the plan for consideration that we will be discussing:
Re-Opening Social Distancing Strategic Plan
1. Registration: During the week leading up to the re-opening we will ask every member who desires to be physically present in church to please call in between the hours of 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday and reserve his or her seat. And when calling in to reserve your seat, you will be asked how many are in your group. This will help us to determine how many persons will be allowed to sit on any given pew. Furthermore, the pews will be marked with white tape for individual persons to be seated and red tape for families of two or more to be seated.
A. Only 2 to 3 individual persons will be allowed to sit on a pew 6 ft. apart from one another (depending on the pew) and then we will skip a pew before seating the next set of worshipers.
B. If a family of 2 persons are seated together on a pew, there is still enough room for 1 or 2 other (individual) persons to sit on that same pew 6 ft. apart from one another.
C. If a family of 3 or more persons are seated on a pew, then only one or two other persons (seated together) will be allowed to sit on that same pew 6 ft. apart from one another. Also, two families of 3 or more may be seated on one pew 6 feet apart (on the longer pews).
2. Seating & Masks: Seating will be done on a first call, first serve basis. Once we have reached 50% capacity in the sanctuary, the Godwin Fellowship Hall will be used to seat the remainder of persons desiring to be physically present seeing that the service can be seen and heard in the Fellowship Hall on the flat screen TV.
3. Sanctuary Seating: Persons registered to be seated in the sanctuary are asked to enter through the doors of the glass foyer on the South Street side.
4. Godwin Fellowship Hall Seating: Persons registered to be seated in the Godwin Fellowship Hall are asked to enter through the glass doors of the Fellowship Hall facing South Street through the fenced area.
5. Mask Wearing: In light of the deadly virus that is still present, the wearing of a face mask is mandatory. If by chance you do not have one, a disposable face mask will be provided for you.
6. Security Staff: For persons who show up after we have reached 50% capacity will be kindly informed by the Security Staff that our Sanctuary & Godwin Fellowship Hall have reached 50% capacity and no additional persons can be admitted at this time. Therefore, if you have friends, relatives, or co-workers who would like to attend please inform them of our stated procedures. And the procedures will be posted on our website www.ebcpva.org.
7. Temperature Check by a Health Team: Upon entering the sanctuary please submit to the forehead temperature check and form provided by a Health Team (this is a need). Once cleared by the Health Team, please submit to the guidance and directions of our Usher’s Ministry to lead you to your designated seat. Once seated, please remain in your seat until the worship celebration has ended, unless you need to excuse yourself to the rest room or for personal reasons.
8. Rest Rooms: Two restrooms will be made available and we will have janitors to clean, sanitize, and disinfect the restrooms after each use. The janitors will be one male and one female.
9. Offering: Our offering will not be done as usual due to our circumstances, but the offering will be received by another set of Ushers or Trustees with secured locked boxes at the entrance to the sanctuary or Fellowship Hall. Thus, we are asking that all persons please come with envelopes prepared with cash or checks written to be placed in the secured locked offering boxes upon entering the Sanctuary or Fellowship Hall. Auto Bill Pay, Regular or Re-occurring electronic giving is strongly encouraged! Also Digital giving through Givelify and other giving plans will be made available.
10. Communion: On Communion Sunday, all worshipers will pick up their communion elements as they enter the sanctuary. The elements will be placed on a table at each entrance for both the Sanctuary and the Godwin Fellowship Hall.
11. Baptism: Our baptism service will not be held until the “Social Distancing” band has been lifted completely.
12. Music Ministry: Members singing in the choir will be limited to no more than 6 or 9 persons for the purpose of “social distancing” and will be selected at the discretion of the Choir leaders/musicians.
13. Transportation Bus Ministry: Persons who would like to ride the bus to and from church must call in and request a “pick-up” as usual. But are required to wear a mask. And if by chance you do not have a mask, one will be provided for you.
14. At the Benediction: Once the closing prayer and benediction has been given, please remain seated and our Usher’s Ministry will come and dismiss the congregation one pew at a time to respect the protocol for “social distancing.”
15. Hugging & Hand Shaking: Until further notice, we are asking our church family to refrain from hugging & hand shaking during worship to ensure that everyone is respected and kept safe until the virus has been eradicated and herd immunity has been declared, and the “social distancing” ban has been totally lifted.
16. Until Further Notice: There will be no Third Sunday morning breakfast. Our Sunday School, Bible Study Classes, and Children’s and Youth Ministry will remain virtual, on-line by Zoom, Facebook Live, YouTube, and also utilizing the RightNow Media Discipleship virtual ministry.
17. Random Visitors: We realize that we may receive random visitors who will not have received this information; thus, we are asking that you please share this information freely with your friends, relatives, associates, co-workers and neighbors.
18. Membership Concerns or Feedback: As a member of EBC, if you have any questions, concerns, or feedback concerning the aforementioned procedures outlined in this document PLEASE do not hesitate to call, email, or text me with those concerns.
***Thanks so very much for your kind cooperation, participation & faithful support***
God’s Mercy, Peace, Favor, Protection, Provision, & Blessings to our entire EBC Family!
Dr. LeRoy Hill, Jr., Pastor and
EBC Leadership Ministry
(Ministers, Deacons, Deaconess, & Trustees)