We now have two Sunday morning worship services along with Sunday morning preschool, children’s worship/LifeGroups, student LifeGroups, and some adult LifeGroups. (Note: As we focus right now on phasing back in on Sunday mornings, we have not yet made plans for Wednesdays or Sunday evenings.)
Sunday morning Worship Services are at 9:00 and 10:30 with overflow available to ensure that we are able to properly distance. The 10:30 service continues to be livestreamed for those who are not yet comfortable returning.
Preschool and Children meet at both 9:00 and 10:30 on Sunday mornings. Youth LifeGroups meet at 10:30, so youth are encouraged to attend the 9:00 worship service, although youth are welcome at either service.The Youth come to the 9:00 service and meet for LifeGroups at 10:30 (just like they did PC – pre-covid!). Please see the links below for important information regarding health and safety protocols and procedures for the preschool, children, and youth areas at this time.
As far as Adult LifeGroups are concerned, unfortunately we don’t have room for all of our adult LifeGroups to meet on campus on Sunday mornings at this point and still provide appropriate distancing. We want to be careful about not trying to put too many people into the classrooms, especially those who may be most vulnerable to COVID. Therefore, Matthew is working with LifeGroup leaders to encourage older adult groups to temporarily meet at alternative times other than Sunday mornings. Some have already begun to do this. This is only temporary, but it will leave room for younger adult classes to spread out in larger classrooms on Sunday mornings at the same time that classes are being offered for their children. (Check with your LifeGroup leader to see if your class is meeting yet or may be meeting at an alternate time.) This is all still a part of the phasing in process.
We’re asking everyone to continue to monitor the latest information and recommendations regarding COVID-19 and make their own personal decision about when to return. Please know that our strong desire is for everyone to be safe who gathers in person. We will continue to do our best to maintain the difficult balance between implementing important precautions and procedures to keep people safe while also trying to keep everything from feeling overly restrictive. There are so many opinions about how to achieve that balance, so thank you in advance for your prayers and understanding.
As we have said continually, we definitely urge anyone who feels sick, has a fever, or has any reason to believe that they may be infected with COVID-19 to stay home and engage online with the livestreamed Worship service.
Our cleaning staff is working diligently to keep the building clean each week. The church has recently purchased new, specialized cleaning equipment recommended for the disinfection of COVID-19. The restrooms are being monitored for cleanliness. If you see anything that needs attention, please let us know.
Everyone is still asked to do your best to maintain a distance of 6 feet from those around you for the duration of your time on the church campus. In the worship service, this means making sure that there are THREE empty chairs between you and the family group on either side of you (we will continue seating people on every other row to help with this as well.)
As you plan for who you will sit with in worship, please understand that your “family group” consists primarily of those who live with you. However, if you want to sit with a person(s) – or even another family – with whom you have been spending a lot of time without physical distancing, you may include them as part of your family group (with their permission, of course).
As more and more people return, we will offer overflow to make sure we have plenty of space in the worship center. We definitely don’t want to turn anyone away – especially guests. By the way, did you know that we have had guests in our worship service EVERY Sunday since we started Phase 1 of ReGathering on June 14th? Praise the Lord!
Masks are not required for those who come. However, out of consideration for the safety of others and an abundance of caution, we urge you to consider wearing a mask, particularly when entering and exiting the worship center and when transitioning to different parts of the building where physical distancing will be difficult (like hallways and the atrium). We have some complimentary disposable masks available for those who would like to wear one but do not have one.
Please refrain from handshaking and hugging. This is definitely hard in a church like Ephesus – but remember, it’s okay to just smile and wave for now!
As you can imagine, all of this requires a great deal of coordination and flexibility from week to week on the part of our leaders. Thanks to our volunteers in the various age-group ministries who are the key to making all of this happen.
As more and more people ReGather in person, please be in prayer that God will continue to lead us. We are in this together!!