Dear EBC Family & Visitors,
As you are all aware, we have been dealing with the impact of COVID-19 since March of this year. This situation has forced our church to adopt new ways of worshiping in order to glorify God by loving one another and loving our neighbors, by promoting good health practices so as not to spread this virus.
Thus, as your pastor, I have been diligently keeping up to date with the many changes that the CDC and the State of Connecticut have given as guidelines throughout this process. As I said at the beginning, the Bible is clear that we are to be subject to governmental authorities, so far as they do not subvert our conscience in worshiping and obeying the Lord Jesus Himself. So far, this has not happened, and we praise God for that. However, as I said, it has led us to a variety of changes in order to walk that extra mile with our government and our neighbors through this pandemic.
Thus, this has led us first to online-only devotionals for several months, two “Drive-In” style services, and then finally, as the weather warmed up, outdoor, “tent-meeting” services throughout the entire summer, all of which have been used by God to encourage us and keep us focused on Christ during this very strange time.
That being said, the seasons are changing, and this means that we will have no other option but to move indoors, which we will be doing Sunday, October 4th for our 9:30AM worship service. We will be meeting in the sanctuary live, but continuing to broadcast the services on both YouTube and Facebook live, as well as posting a recording of the services on our website later the same day. The FM transmitter will also continue to be utilized. Simply come to park in the church lot and tune your car radio to 95.1 FM to listen to the service live.
That being said, with the State of Connecticut still in the re-opening process, we will have to take some cautionary measures in order to make sure that we offer the safest possible worship experience for those in attendance, so that no one gets sick or potentially spreads to this virus to others. All of these measures are given by the recommendations of the State of Connecticut’s document entitled “Guidelines for Houses of Worship” and applied properly to our context in the Quiet Corner, as well as to our church in particular.
Thus, as we move inside, this is what things will look like as you enter the building October 4th:
1.) Arrival and Seating.
Service will begin at 9:30am. We would ask that you please try to arrive as early as possible. This will make the process flow much easier.
When you arrive at the church building, enter only through the foyer entrance. Please wear a mask upon entry. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided for you at the door.
The State of CT “Guidelines For Houses of Worship” states, “Attendees and volunteers are required to bring & wear masks or cloth face covering that completely covers the nose and mouth unless doing so would be contrary to his or her health or safety due to a medical condition.” Thus, our basic rule for masks will be, “If you are inside the building and you are standing up, you wear a mask”. Period.
There will be sanitation stations located as you enter, and throughout the building, and we encourage you to please sanitize your hands as you enter.
As you enter the foyer, please wait to be seated by an usher, standing at the indicated social-distance markers on the floor.
Once it is your turn, an usher will escort you and your family to a socially-distanced pew. The State of CT “Guidelines for Houses of Worship” once again, states, “all people except members of the same family shall remain 6 ft. apart at all times.” It also states, “Rearrange space to maintain at least 6 ft. of distance between attendees. Alternate rows between attendees (every other row should be kept empty). Two or more members of the same household may be seated adjacent to each other with 6 ft. distance maintained on either side from the next attendee.” We have adjusted the seating in our sanctuary accordingly.
We are also pleased to offer an “At-Risk” Section in the Sanctuary. Again, the State of CT “Guidelines For Houses of Worship” also recommends the following: “Reserved seating: Designate an area inside the facility reserved for the at-risk population”. Thus, we are making the entire left side of the sanctuary our “At-Risk” section. In this section, pews will be distanced at an extra length, and masks will be required to remain on for the entire service. If you and your family would like a reserved pew in the “At-Risk” section, please contact the church office and we will make those accommodations.
2.) The Worship Service.
Our worship services will remain around 45 minutes to 1 hour in length, as they have been throughout the summer.
In regard to singing, while other states have taken stricter measures, according to the the State of Connecticut, singing is not prohibited in worship services.
We will, unfortunately, be unable to offer a nursery or Children’s Church at this time. The State of CT, once again, states, “It is recommended that Houses of Worship not offer nursery or children’s House of Worship ministries.”
I would, however, encourage parents to still attend church, and bring your children, no matter how noisy or distracting you may think they are. Children crying and making noise does not bother me, and it certainly does not bother others. In fact, it is encouraging to have children be a part of our worship service. So please bring them, and take part together with us.
That being said, the nursing room will be available for our new mothers, and the nursery itself will function as a quiet room for parents if they need to take their children out of service, with the service being broadcast live on a screen in that room.
Bathrooms will be available, however, we would encourage you to use them in a limited fashion.
We will not be passing the plate for our offering, instead encouraging you to either give online through our website, by mail, or by placing your offering in the indicated box on the table in the rear of the sanctuary as you enter or exit service. Thank you so much for your stewardship during this time especially.
At the end of service, we will dismiss everyone row by row, and we will exit through the foyer into the parking lot, beginning with the “At-Risk” section. Please wait for your row to be dismissed and make your way immediately to the parking lot. Again, I will reiterate our rule for masks, that if you are standing up, your mask is on.
Terri Smith, our custodian does an excellent job at making sure our facilities are cleaned each and every week. We will make sure all surfaces are sanitized and ready for the following Sunday.
5.) Most importantly: Stay home if you are sick. Period. Do not come to service if you have a fever or are showing signs of illness.
Thank you all so much for bearing with us through this process. I praise God for how He has been guiding and directing our church throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and am looking forward to what He is going to do in the fall and winter! I leave us with these words from the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:33-36:
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen!”
Grace and Peace,