Frequently Asked Questions for Returning to Worship after Covid-19 Quarantine
Service Times, Seating and Worship Style
Q: What are the plans for returning to In-person worship?
A: If the infection numbers continue to decline, we will begin with worship in the sanctuary on April 18, 2021, for BOTH services. Reservations will be required via https://god-is-love.org/in-person-worship-reservation/
Until we return indoors, we will conduct parking lot worship on an alternating schedule, March 28 at 9, April 4 (Easter) at 10:30, April 11 at 9.
Q: What is a “Festival” service?
A: That is our name for the service that was at 10:30 AM up until the quarantine stopped in-person worship. The music is led by the Organ and has a more formal feel.
Q: Will I need a reservation?
A: Yes, please. We will take reservations on the web page and or by calling Donna Fairley at 410-657-3908.
Q: I am so anxious to return to my favorite pew. My family has sat in the same place for sixty two years.
A: In order to seat as many people as possible while maintaining six feet of physical distancing, the seats to be used are marked with colored tape. There is a separate color for the 9 AM and 10:30 AM services. After the last service, all seats will be sanitized.
Q: Must I wear a mask the whole time?
A: Yes, everyone over the age of 3 must wear a mask at all times. Masks have been identified as a key in minimizing the spread of the virus. Maryland is not seeing as much of a resurgence in infections as are other states, and we certainly don’t want to contribute to one. We are following CDC, government, and synod guidelines.
Q: I have a doctor’s note saying I don’t have to wear a mask. Can I come?
A: Our accommodation for such a health concern is that we will live stream the service and you may worship from home.
Q: Will there be Sunday School or Kid Zone?
A: No children’s programs, activity bags, or child care will be available. The building will be closed except for the restrooms. This will be changed when it is deemed safe.
Q: Will there be bulletins?
A: The church will not provide printed bulletins. They are online and may be printed at home to bring with you. You may also download it to your portable device, and bring that device with you so that you can follow along with the service. The eHerald published on Wednesday includes links to the Sunday bulletins. We are not confessing the creed or responding to prayers or speaking aloud. The worship leaders will speak the service, from a physical distance of 20+ feet.
Q: How will I know what songs to sing, so I can find them in my hymn book?
A: The congregation is asked not to sing, or speak responses out loud. We are arranging cantors and/or soloists who will be able to provide all the words in song and for all singing. Note, if you are viewing from home, Please sing out!
Q: I enjoy the live streaming and premiering videos. Will they continue?
A: Yes, each week, we will livestream the service at 9 AM and at 10:30.
Q: How often will we celebrate Holy Communion?
A: We will celebrate Holy Communion on the last Sunday of each month. At both services, the single-serving cups will be distributed as you leave, so that you may consume them in your car or when you get home. For those watching the livestream from home, we will also deliver to your home if you sign up. Deliveries are made between 10 AM and noon.
Q: How do I sign up for home delivery of the Holy Communion?
A: You may sign up on the web page at https://god-is-love.org/home-communion/ or by calling the church office (410-485-7654 M-Th 9:30-3:00, F 9:30 – 11:30). Be sure to specify the following details:
1. Your name or family name
2. Number of servings
4. How many of the servings must be gluten-free?
5. Any special delivery instructions? (side or back door, put inside the storm door, etc)
6. The driver will try to call you some minutes before they reach your home. Please answer the phone during that time, even if you don’t recognize the phone number!
Q: Will we be greeted and greet each other?
A: An usher will be at the door to welcome you, show you the hand sanitizing station, direct you toward your seat, and a reminder to keep your mask on. We will have a limited supply of masks to provide to those who forgot to bring one. We ask that your greetings to your friends and neighbors be a nod or a wave from at least 6 feet distance. During the worship, we will not be sharing the peace with one another except by a wave.
Q: How often will the seats be sanitized?
A: The chairs will be sanitized after both services. They are marked so that one row is used for 9 AM, and the adjacent row is used at 10:30. Our parish nurses have provided the instructions to the setup/cleanup teams as to what product to use and how to use it so that we meet the CDC standards.
Q: Will hand sanitizer be available?
A: A touchless dispenser will be at the entry gate and the usher will encourage you to use it. We have also ordered another for the CloisterHallway outside the restrooms when it arrives.
Q: Why did we not come back to in-person worship as soon as it was allowed?
A: Following the guidance of Bishop William (Bill) Gohl, “Just because we can, does not mean we should”. The guidance from the synod was that we carefully plan to include all concerns. We have a task force of subject-matter-experts and volunteers that has been meeting weekly to plan a safe and meaningful experience so that we can once again worship together. There have been too many stories of congregations that met for worship, and the virus was spread. The plan is to avoid that from happening, especially since many members and visitors of our congregation have additional risk factors.
Personal Needs Accommodations
Q: Will the restrooms be available?
A: The Restrooms will be available, but only one household may use the facility at any particular time. Be sure to wash your hands for the 20 seconds suggested limit. Therefore we suggest that individuals not loiter, after using the facilities, as others may be waiting to use them. Upon departing the restrooms, we suggest you visit and use the hand sanitizer station (mentioned above).
Q: Will water be available?
A: We strongly suggest you bring water with you. The CDC recommendations do not provide for water fountains or distribution of water.