(skip to the bottom to see a detailed service schedule as well as updated information for Wednesday Bible Classes as of October 17th, 2020)
MAY 31, 2020 REOPENING ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE ELDERS
We are very pleased to announce that our Sunday morning assembly will reopen on Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 9:30 AM. While we are grateful that technology has allowed us to communicate remotely, we know that it is never a good thing for the Body of Christ to be physically separated for any length of time.
To that end, there are some major changes that must occur in our interim “normal” meeting together. The elders have considered guidelines and precautions recommended by local and state governments and health organizations. We have developed some detailed plans for our meetings together and a set of questions and answers below that may help you prepare for upcoming events. Should you have any more questions or comments, please feel free to contact one of the elders.
Q – Why did you decide to reopen now?
A – The elders have had numerous meetings and discussions and have followed guidance from governmental and health care organizations. We’ve also been monitoring other churches who have recently opened or plan to open near the time we are opening. Two major principles we’ve used are “being intentional” but also “being prudent.” We recognize that “being together” is vital to the spiritual health of this congregation, but we also want to do this in the safest manner possible.
Q – Where do we meet on Sunday morning? The Auditorium as usual?
A – Initially, we will meet in the Fellowship Hall. The main entrance to the building will be through the South door of the Fellowship Hall. The entry door from the alley is a secondary option especially during inclement weather. When you enter, you should give attention to signage on the door. If you answer “yes” to any of the posted questions, you should not enter the building, as you will be putting others at risk from infection.
When entering, a gloved and masked elder will seat you with your family. The chairs have been arranged in the fellowship hall to keep proper social distancing between family groups.
Q – How will be the worship service be conducted? Any changes?
A – The worship service will be much the same, except for the Lord’s Supper and the offering. A gloved and masked elder will provide your family with a number of individually sealed communion kits in a disposable bowl. There will be no passing of communion trays. After communion, your family should collect the used communion kits and place them back in the bowl for disposal after dismissal.
Your offering should be placed in a basket in the foyer area of the South door. You may also wish to explore automatic contributions online with your financial institution.
Q – Do I need to wear a face mask?
A – Current guidelines from the Governor encourage wearing face masks in groups of people at this time. We would prefer that everyone follow the Governor’s guidelines but will not mandate face masks. Please bring your own face mask.
Q – How will we be dismissed? Are there concerns about congregating and social distancing?
A – At the end of services, families will be dismissed one a time, as a unit. We ask that you move promptly to your car and not congregate in large groups in the building, nor in the parking lot after services. We remain concerned about the safety of groups congregating and not following proper social distancing guidelines at this phase of the pandemic.
We especially ask parents with young children to ensure that the children stay with their family groups.
Q – What about bathrooms and water fountains?
A – The building will be closed off, except for the Fellowship Hall and the bathrooms just to the north of the Fellowship Hall. In order to minimize the need for excessive cleaning, no one should enter the Auditorium, the North wing, or any upstairs facilities. These will be blocked off. Under CDC guidelines, entrance to any of these areas will require recleaning and sanitizing these areas.
The bathrooms north of the fellowship hall will be open. Water fountains will be covered, but we will provide a limited supply of “emergency” bottled water.
Q – Will we have Bible classes?
A – In the initial stages, we will not have “face-to-face” Bible classes. The nursery will be closed, and there will be no pre-school, elementary, middle and high school, or adult classes. We hope to re-open these as soon as possible.
Q – What about Sunday and Wednesday nights?
A – Again in the initial stages, we will not have “face-to-face” gatherings on Sunday or Wednesday nights. We hope to have our full slate of Sunday and Wednesday activities back soon, but not at the present time.
Q – I want to be back with the Signal Mountain Church family but am in what the Governor’s guidelines describe as “vulnerable population” and don’t feel safe around others just yet. What advice can you give me?
A – A number of our members have been designated in the Governor’s guidelines as part of a “vulnerable” population including, but not limited to people over 65, or having serious medical conditions, or having suppressed immune systems. The elders would encourage you in this first phase to stay at home. We certainly recognize the desire to be in the physical presence of our brothers and sisters, but we want our members in compromised situations to be safe. During this phase, we want you to know that we encourage and support your decision to stay at home until the situation settles.
A – Yes, we will continue to record our services and post them online on Sunday afternoon.
Q – Will the Fellowship Hall and bathrooms be sanitized after Sunday worship services?
A – Yes, the fellowship hall, bathroom facilities, and public areas will be sanitized after our meetings together. This is another reason we are asking for our members to stay out of other areas of the building at this time.
Q – What attendance do you expect the first week?
A – It is difficult to determine, but we believe that our Fellowship Hall will allow for a decent attendance level and still meet proper social distancing guidelines by family unit.
To help with final planning, families will be contacted by Friday afternoon to get a better idea of the numbers expected on Sunday morning.
Q – Where do I go to get other questions answered?
A – Please contact one of the elders, and he will be happy to answer your questions and concerns and consider any suggestions you may have.
|Worship Service Reminder : |
We now have four different opportunities to join together for worship on Sundays:
1. Fellowship Hall at 9:30 am
2. Join live on Facebook 9:30 am
3.Watch recorded Sunday worship service on Vimeo www.vimeo.com/smcoc
4. Outdoor service at 11:00 am in the North Lawn
For the outdoor service, masks and social-distancing are required, and please bring your own chairs.
We also plan to set up a transmitter to allow those who prefer to stay in their own car and listen thru the radio.
In the event of inclement weather, we will move to the south parking lot.
As we continue to adjust to the situations around us and in our church family, the elders want to encourage everyone to respect each individual families’ perspective and decisions regarding how they deal with the pandemic.
We continue to monitor the guidelines from local and state authorities and will adapt as required.
May GOD continue to bless His church!
OCTOBER 17th, 2020
|A Note from The Elders – Wednesday Bible Classes|
|Announcement – Resuming Wednesday Evening Bible Study Classes Wednesday evening Bible classes are scheduled to begin October 28 at 6:30 PM. |
The following is a general overview of the plans and protocols, subject to revisions as necessary. The concept is similar to our normal Wednesday evening gatherings with some modifications. We plan to follow local and state guidelines in the fellowship hall and classrooms regarding social distancing.
Under local guidelines, wearing masks is encouraged. Bible classes and study are vital for the growth and sustainability of any congregation. The elders want to encourage all our members to join in our Wednesday Bible classes, recognizing each family will decide their own comfort level with in-person meetings. Initially, we will not try to “live stream” or record our classes due to technological challenges.
Wednesday all gather in the Fellowship Hall at 6:30 PMSongs – 3-5 minutes.Brief Announcements/Opening prayer- 5 minutes.We will provide invitation to respond and meet with the Elders after dismissal. Dismiss to class – children will use stairs from fellowship hall entrance.Classes – 30-35 minutes, children will be led to their classrooms by teacher. Elementary classes will be dismissed with teachers escorting downstairs to join parents where adult class will be dismissed.
Elementary classes:Initially we envision 2 youth classes: K – 2nd (Susan Feher) and 3rd – 5th (Butch Feher) with helpers.We will also prepare for a separate pre-K class with teacher/helper, as needed.Classes will meet in the back two classrooms upstairs as long as social distancing can be maintained. If the classes are too large, they can be moved to large conference room on the 2nd floor or the open area upstairs. Middle School/High School:MS/HS continue weekly study/devotional/activity on Sunday afternoons.MS/HS students present on Wednesday evenings will join the adult class.Elementary teachers will contact MS/HS students to support as class helpers. Adult Classes:Adult class will resume in the fellowship hall.Bart Stewart, Brent Clark, and Greg Nance will develop class topics and teaching schedule.Tentatively, study will continue in Acts.