On this page, we will try to answer as many questions as we can about policies and procedures at PPC during the age of COVID-19. In this season, we plan to worship in person on Sunday morning with physical distance, masks, and other precautions in place. We also intend to offer a robust online worship service each Sunday or any day of the week. Check out this page to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Reopening
By Pastor Steve
July 5th will be our first Sunday morning worship service in the church sanctuary since March.
We are not thinking of this as a church “reopening,” because the church has always been open for those who need it. The food pantry has been serving people in need and our Community Assistance ministries have been helping people in financial distress. The church building has also been open for Wednesday evening worship recording sessions, building and grounds work, ministry organizing, and interviews with church musicians interested in working with us. But in July, the building will be open even more. Here, we’ve compiled information about what the sanctuary reopening will look like, what policies and procedures we will have in place, and what it might feel like to worship in person again.
What will it be like when we worship in the sanctuary on July 5th?
I should say here, before I go any further, that July 5th is our intended date for reopening the sanctuary, but we will continue to monitor the Platte County Health Department website. We will continue to pay attention to the ongoing COVID-19 situation in our area and we are open to changing our plans, especially if the Health Department changes its prevailing advice.
But with that said, here’s a taste of what I think you’ll see on July 5th. We’ll have one worship service at 10am. Since we’ll have to deep clean the sanctuary after each service, and also because we’ll have a longing to see each other, it makes sense to have one indoor worship service. There will also be a live component of InterGenerational Sunday School at 9:15am. Participants will have the option of joining Sunday School either in-person or on Zoom.
In the sanctuary, the balcony will be closed, to limit the areas that need deep-cleaning, and every other pew will be roped off to encourage social distancing.
Outside the sanctuary, the current plan is to close the basement and first floor, so we can station ushers at the elevator doors on the 2nd and 3rd floors, and ensure that the elevator is only used by one person or household at a time. This means that you will not be able to park in the East parking lot off of Route 9, and signs on those doors will instead direct you up to Main Street and the parking lots up there.
When you enter the church building, we will encourage you to go directly to the sanctuary as a matter of directional flow. Once there, you will not find any handouts, pew Bibles, hymnals, or other items that might be touched by more than one person.
Throughout your time at church, ushers and other volunteers will help you find cloth masks (thank you to the volunteers making those!—in both kid and adult sizes). They will have instant, touchless thermometers that can read your temperature if you would like. There will be hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes in a variety of places, especially at the top and bottom of staircases.
With all these restrictions in place, will we even get to talk with each other?
Yes. Wearing masks and respecting physical distance, we can have great conversations with one another. Our volunteers and staff will do the best they can to break the ice and facilitate conversation, even though it might feel a little new and a bit awkward. After worship, the fellowship hall will be open for more conversation. Markings on the floor will help to measure physical distance.
What will the worship service be like on July 5th?
A lot of things will stay the same. We’ll worship God with body, mind, heart, and soul. We’ll hear Scripture read and the Word proclaimed. We’ll offer prayer requests and pray together. However, we will limit the number of spoken-word responses in worship. We will also limit the number of people who appear in front, participating in worship. In addition, the worship service will be shorter than it was in March and before–for the sake of everyone’s safety.
But the biggest difference will be music. When we have interviewed candidates for our vacant Music Director position, some have been reluctant about any kind of indoor singing at all. We will certainly have to forego congregational singing. However, there are other ways to offer music in worship. Soloists can sing from the chancel. Small groups can sing together when they are part of the same ‘contact bubble.’ We might also encourage congregational participation in music through hand symbols, ASL signs, or percussive instruments.
But with that said, again, Scripture will be proclaimed and preached, prayers will be received and offered, and we will find socially distanced ways to pass the peace.
What about Communion? Will we still have it every week?
For me, it is important to offer Communion every week, but I also want to respect whatever decision you make about whether to receive Communion. Therefore, there will be a point in the service when I stand at the Table, offer an invitation, and say the Words of Institution to bless Communion. The elements will then be available at individual stations up front, where you can come forward and take Communion at any time if you wish to receive the sacrament. The elements will have been prepared safely by gloved volunteers and offered in a safe way. If you are unable to come forward but still wish to receive the sacrament, I will be glad to bring the elements to you, as you feel comfortable.
Will we collect an offering?
An offering plate will be available outside the sanctuary where you may leave a monetary offering to support the church, but we will not be passing an offering plate.
Will the nursery be open?
This question has not yet been decided by our leadership. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like an update on this question or other information about children’s ministries at PPC.
Is there anything else I should know about worship?
I love you and I miss you, and even with all these physical distancing measures in place, I can’t wait to see you again!
How can I help?
Volunteer to serve as an usher, greeter, or host. Help to prepare or clean up after Communion. Help with sewing cloth masks. To learn more about these opportunities to serve, please contact the church office at 816-741-1641 or email@example.com
Why aren’t we opening sooner?
If Platte County continues to meet the benchmarks set out by its health department, July 5th will be the first Sunday when they commend gatherings of more than 50 people in a confined indoor space. We do not wish to meet until we can do so without specific limitations on the size of our gatherings.
My family is holding out for a vaccine—or at least more widespread testing. What if I’m not comfortable coming back in July?
We will continue to offer a high-quality Sunday morning worship experience on YouTube, recorded on Wednesday evening and designed with an online audience in mind. You can find online worship at www.parkvillepresby.org/watch
What if I have more questions?
I am always glad to answer your questions, hear your advice, or simply listen if that’s what you need. Please be in touch with me at 816-351-4993 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading—and thank you for supporting God’s mission through the church! Whether it’s online or in-person, we hope to see you soon.