Returning to in-person meetings after coronavirus
May 21, 2020 by Steven Ottolini 0 comments
Praise Jesus, we're going to finally meet together again, in person!
We're going to ease back in to in-person meetings by having an outdoor, hybrid drive-in and lawn chair style meeting. This will accommodate whether people feel comfortable to be out together or remain in cars, and we have tons of grace for each other whatever people feel is the best option for their health and families.
We have a FM transmitter system that will broadcast the sound to cars, and we’ll also use our mobile speaker system so everyone can hear. We'll even live cast the meeting via facebook (www.facebook.com/nccstl) so those who don't feel they can venture out of their homes just yet can still join online.
This outdoor style meeting will be May 24 and 31, and possibly longer as we transition back to being together. Please remain fluid with us as we are trying to obey our government's requests while also continue ministry in a safe and reasonable manner.
Most importantly: our goal is to honor Jesus together and begin to graciously re-assemble. That means being patient with each other and demonstrating love toward one another so that stand together in kindness and humility if a person is ready to be physically together or is not yet to that place. Practically this means that we shouldn't be offended if people don't feel they can congregate yet, or if they roll up their window when we walk up to their cars, or if they decline to shake hands. The Lord is our Shepherd and our desire is to hold each other up close to Him - not force people to reintegrate according to our individual expectations.
Here's a video to summarize the plan:
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What if it rains?
We'll still meet, inside. If you are comfortable, join us. We'll social distance and be wise together to protect our vulnerable and demonstrate grace to each other. If you aren't comfortable going in the building, please still drive-in style park in our lot. Despite the rain, we will live stream on facebook and have our FM transmitters allowing you to participate from the parking lot. We'd love to at least wave to you or even pray with you while you remain in your car if you drive underneath the overhang drop-off area.
- Will you live stream if we can't make it to the meeting or don't feel like we can leave the house yet?
Absolutely. Please note though that a lot of time and effort (especially from our faithful brother, Roy Behymer) went in to making our videos each week and overlaying song lyrics during worship. The live stream will not have those features and will not be as polished as our more recent posts.
- Will we conduct communion?
Not this week, but we will do communion next week (31st). The reason for this is because doing the drive-in style is new, and we want to make sure everyone is safe with driving through the lot first before we add the administration of communion. Also, when we do begin communion again, we will pass out sealed containers that include a little wafer and juice cups to ensure hygienic administration of the sacrament. This will not be permeant but is a measure for the time being to protect our vulnerable.
- Is there childcare?
No childcare. We’ll reassess this in June.
- Is the building open for restrooms?
Absolutely. Please feel free to use the restrooms.
- How are we sanitizing the building?
We have a professional cleaning service that sanitizes the building for us each week. Teachers will sanitize classrooms and toys each Sunday after children classes when classes resume.
- Is the coffee bar open?
No coffee or food served for the time being.
- Are we going to do social distancing?
Yes. According to St. Louis County guidelines, we have removed rows in the auditorium seating and we're following the County's capacity caps for people in the building. Our goal is to be wise together, we we'll try to do that with our physical means in the building. This means that we should avoid hugging each other for a while and that it is probably better to wave rather than touch. Also, let's continue washing our hands often.
- Do I need to wear a mask?
Masks are not a requirement, but our government has recommended and requested us to wear masks in public. We will not remove you from the meeting if you don't wear a mask, but it is right for us to submit to our leaders. Please note that the people on stage will not wear masks because they can't communicate clearly to the group through the mask; it is not as a demonstration of policy. As in everything, we should be gracious with those who wear masks and with those who decline to wear them. We also realize that children struggle to keep the masks on. If they are not wearing masks we will have grace for families.
- What about tithes and offerings?
We still have our online means available through our website and the church center app. We'll also have a basket available to drop your tithe as you leave should you bring a check.
- What if I would like prayer from an elder but don't want to leave my car?
After the meeting, we'll depart the parking lot by driving around the building - the elders will be waiting under the overhang portico area should you like to stop and receive specific prayer while you remain in your car.
- Anything I need to bring?
Lawn chairs, if you feel comfortable sitting outside.
- How can I help?
If you would like to be on the usher team, help mow grass or upkeep our plant beds, to help do extra cleaning on the children's wing, or if you want to assist with meeting set-up, please email Suzanne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Is there any reason I shouldn’t come to the meeting?
If you are sick or feeling ill, please don’t come to the meeting. If you or your kids have fevers, please avoid the meeting. However, if you or your loved ones are sick, please do call us, and we will pray with you and support you however we can.
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