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. On this page, Pastor Steve provides additional details and responds to more questions.
What is in-person worship like in this season?
At the moment, around two-thirds of our worshipping community worships online at www.parkvillepresby.org/watch, while the other third of our community comes for in-person worship on Sunday morning.
As of this writing on August 28th, 2020, in-person worship takes place outside in the South parking lot. Masks are required for adults and recommended for children, and we have masks available for anyone who may need them. Each Sunday, chairs are positioned in the parking lot for social distancing.
We also have an abundant supply of hand sanitizer available and encourage good hand hygiene.
Of course, even putting the masks, social distancing, and hand sanitizer aside, worship is different in other ways. So that we are not gathering in the same space for too long, the service is shorter. So that we do not project our voices too often too closely to one another, the congregation is not singing at this time. Instead, soloists and small groups offer music. The musicians are seated at least twenty feet away from anyone in the congregation. The pastor also speaks from a distance of at least twenty feet.
In addition, to avoid touching the same surfaces, we are not handing out bulletins, hymnals, or Bibles. Instead, you are encouraged to bring your own Bible to worship. In a similar way, we are not passing an offering plate, but an offering plate is available up-front for those who would like to offer a financial gift in person. You are also invited to give online or through the mail, if you feel led.
What happens in case of inclement weather?
If there is inclement weather, in-person worship moves inside to the sanctuary. In the sanctuary, every other pew is roped off to encourage physical distancing in seating. In the building as a whole, we are closing the first floor and the basement in order to limit elevator use. Handicapped people and others who struggle with mobility are encouraged to enter the building on the second floor through the South parking lot, where they can access the elevator to the sanctuary on the third floor.
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.
Because the basement and the first floor are closed, 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.
What is the same about worship?
Our most important traditions remain the same. We worship God with body, mind, heart, and soul. We hear Scripture read and the Word proclaimed. We offer prayer requests and pray together. We are connected as the body of Christ, reaching up to God and rejoicing together, as God reaches down to us and we find each other in worship.
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 the nursery be open?
We are not currently staffing the nursery, as there is not much demand for nursery services at this time. However, the nursery is available for kids who are actively cared for by a grown-up and need a kid-oriented space in the church. The nursery and its toys and equipment are deep-cleaned after each use.
How can I help?
We need help setting up the South parking lot on Sunday morning. We could use ushers, greeters, and hosts. We could use people who can set up chairs, sound equipment, and other worship implements. You can also help to prepare or clean up after Communion. To learn more about these opportunities to serve, please contact the church office at 816-741-1641 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there a chance the church will stop offering in-person worship?
Yes. At the moment, Platte County (outside of the Kansas City limits) seems to be holding steady with an average of less than ten new COVID-19 infections each day. However, if we begin to see more incidences of COVID-19 in our area, or if local hospitals report that they are overwhelmed and stretched too thin, we will return to online-only worship and programming.
My family is holding out for a vaccine—or at least more widespread testing. What if I’m not comfortable coming back at this point?
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 email@example.com
Thank you for reading—and thank you for being part of God’s mission through the church! Whether it’s online or in-person, we hope to see you soon.