As we prepare to return to in-person worship, these are the guidelines adopted by our Church Council.
Grace Lutheran Church
Approved Guideline for Resuming In-Person Worship
After meeting and giving prayerful consideration to many issues, the Church Council, acting on recommendations from the Task Force on Resuming In-Person Worship, has approved the following guidelines. In developing these guidelines, the Church Council tried to faithfully balance the desire to and benefits of resuming in-person worship with the responsibility and call to protect the most vulnerable among us. The italic font is used to indicate additional information, insight, or clarifications concerning the recommendations
- We will continue to livestream the services using Zoom even when in-person worship has resumed, providing the opportunity for all to join us in worship.
- Sunday, September 6, 2020 has been approved as the tentative target date for resuming in-person worship.
- We will adhere to the regulatory occupancy limits, including our particular “practical limit.”
We will use 50 attendees as the “practical upper occupancy limit.” Per the Fire Marshal, our maximum occupancy is 356. Our maximum occupancy per NJ Executive Order is 25% of 356 or 89. However, given our physical configuration, in order to maintain six feet (6’) between non-family members probably only 50 persons could be in the sanctuary at any one time. This would be our “practical limit.”
- Face-covering (masks) are required to be worn, covering both the mouth and nose, for the duration of the service.
The Task Force and Council feel strongly that those persons who are so compromised as to not be able to wear a face-covering should probably refrain from public gatherings.
- Nitrile (non-latex) gloves will be made available on request to those who desire them but will not be required.
- Grace will provide bottles of hand sanitizer for the convenience of worshipers.
- Persons who: feel sick, have a temperature of over 100°F, or any other symptoms such as: shortness of breath, congestion, cough, body aches, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; or who have been in contact with someone known to be infected with COVID-19 in the last fourteen (14) should stay at home.
- A distance of at least six (6) feet must be maintained between non-family members.
An usher will show persons to available seats.
Family members living in the same house may sit together.
The available seating may need to be adjusted as the sanctuary fills to maintain proper social distancing.
- We will provide all-inclusive bulletins, which worshipers are to take with them. Trash cans will be positioned by the exit doors for those who do not want to take them home.
- Hymnals will be removed and safely store them for a future date.
- The worship area will be cleaned and/or disinfected according to the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) weekly in between worship services.
The material for cleaning is to be determined by Council.
The individual(s) doing the cleaning will be determined by Council.
- Singing will be limited to 3 persons leading worship.
Those persons will be kept at a distance of at least fifteen feet (15’) from others.
Those persons would continue to wear their face mask and will be screened with a clear plastic face shield.
- The Sharing of the Peace will be done through no-contact means.
- The Offering will be collected by having stationary collection points into which the worshiper may deposit their offering as they enter/exit.
- Grace will celebrate communion each week using pre-packaged individual servings of wafer and wine or wafer and grape juice.
- We will make every effort to keep the length of service to 1 hour.
- Entrance and egress will be controlled and directed by the ushers to maintain six feet (6’) between non-family units.
- Grace will post a checklist of what is to be done to sanitize the bathroom and provide the materials for the same. Anyone that uses the bathroom during worship will be expected to follow the sanitizing procedure checklist before and after use. Worshipers are strongly encouraged to use their home bathrooms before or after worship.
- Attendance by name of attendee will be recorded and kept in the office. Worshipers who subsequently test positive for COVID-19 will be expected to contact the office so that post-COVID contact tracing can be initiated.
Approved by Church Council July 15, 2020
With thanks to the Task Force on Resuming In-Person Worship:
Deacon Karen Kelly, RN, BSN, MAR Co-Chair; Pr. Bernie Kelly, M.Div., Co-Chair; Earle Conrad, MBA, Council President; Cookie Fassl, BMus, Director of Music; Joseph Fassl, MD; Andrew Fischer, PT; Jen Fischer, MEd; Judy Garrison, Administrative Assistant; Walt Howell, BA; Anne Korbobo, AA, Worship & Music Liaison; Patty Martino, RN., BSN