Dear STL family,
We are eager to gather together to worship in our sanctuary, but we want to make sure that we are doing everything possible to keep our families safe, while complying with the Governor and the Michigan Department of Health.
The elders of STL have approved the following plan, but it is important to understand that this plan could still change, depending upon state guidelines.
We do not yet have a date for re-opening, but as soon as we do, we will let you know. Our 9:30 a.m. services will continue to be broadcast on Facebook and our web page as they are. Here is the plan as we initially phase back corporate worship:
- We will have 3 Sunday morning Worship services: 8:00 a.m. / 9:30 a.m. / 11:00 a.m.
- Seating will be limited to 75 people per service – reservations recommended to guarantee seating.
- Individuals who have any flu-like symptoms, who are high risk, or who have compromised immune systems are encouraged to continue live streaming the worship service from home.
- We will practice social distancing—one family per pew. Worship folders will be in the pews that are reserved for each family.
- DO NOT LEAVE YOUR WORSHIP FOLDER IN THE BACK OF CHURCH AFTER WORSHIP. Either take it home or leave in on your pew.
- Face masks will be required in the halls and entrance ways, but not in the sanctuary.
- We will be cleaning/disinfecting the worship area after each worship service.
We will partake in Holy Communion at the conclusion of the service:
- We will not have a common cup, and those serving communion will wear gloves and a mask.
- We will have two serving stations —and keep social distance between families.
- Worshipers will go directly to the parking lot after they have communed.
A few more things to note:
- The offering plates will not be passed around. Instead we will have a Tithe & Offerings box by each entrance. Offerings can be placed in the boxes before or after the worship service, or you can give online.
- We will have no Greeters or Children’s activity bags, and no coffee or donuts after worship.
Blessings, Pastor Mark W Hetzner and the Board of Elders
Frequently Asked Questions About Reopening STL Sanctuary
Q: WILL FACEBOOK AND ONLINE WORSHIP STILL BE AVAILABLE?
A: Yes, we will continue to broadcast the 9:30 service, and are working on expanding our ministry to those who choose to worship from their homes.
Q: WHEN WILL PUBLIC WORHIP IN THE SANCTUARY RESUME.
A: We do not yet have an answer to this question, but we promise to notify the entire STL family as soon as we do.
Q: WHEN THE DOORS RE-OPENED, CAN ANYONE ATTEND?
A: No. These people especially should worship from home, if possible:
1) If you have symptoms of illness, like fever, cough, or sneezing
2) If you are 65 or older with underlying health conditions
3) If you have health conditions that make you more susceptible to illness
4) If you are not yet comfortable being out in a crowd.
Q: WHAT TIME WILL THE SERVICES BE HELD?
A: STL will host three Sunday morning services at 8:00 a.m. / 9:30 a.m. / 11:00 a.m. The Monday evening service at 7:30 p.m. will also come back, though the format will be altered for social distancing purposes.
Q: WILL SOCIAL DISTANCING BE REQUESTED AMONG WORSHIPERS?
A: Yes, worshipers will be requested to sit only where they find a worship folder on the pew.
Q: HOW MANY PEOPLE MAY ATTEND EACH SERVICE?
A: For starters, up to 75 people may be seated in each service while still having physical distance.
Q: WILL WE NEED TO CONTACT THE CHURCH AHEAD OF TIME TO SAY WE ARE COMING?
A: Yes, everyone is asked to contact the church office to set up a standard reservation for one of the three services. This will enable us to designate seats and maintain proper social distancing.
Q: WHAT IF MORE THAN THAT MANY PEOPLE ARRIVE?
A: Families with standing reservations for a specific service will have seats reserved for them. Undesignated seats will be given to walk-ins as available, and we will find a way to minister to all, even if it means asking them to return for a different service.
Q: WHAT OTHER STEPS ARE BEING TAKEN TO PROTECT THOSE WHO GATHER?
A: There are several important changes, including:
1) As weather permits, doors will be propped open before and after services.
2) Additional hand-sanitizers have been placed in the entranceways.
3) All bulletins will include hymns and liturgy, so hymnals will be removed.
4) Bulletins will be in the pew where you may sit, instead of being passed out, and are to be taken home by the worshipper.
5) Attendance registers have been removed.
6) Ushers will not pass the offering plate. Instead we will have offering boxes at the exits.
7) The worship area will be sanitized after each service.
8) We will not have greeters, and pastors will not greet after the services.
10) Ushers will be available to help people find seats.
11) Children will stay with their families for the Children’s Sermon.
Q: CAN I WEAR A MASK?
A: Yes, and we are asking everyone to wear them while in the entranceways and halls.
Q: WILL THERE BE CROSSTRAINING OR FHL GROUPS IN THE BUILDING?
A: No, we will not offer them at this point, but FHL groups are conducting Zoom gatherings.
Q: WILL WE BE SERVING HOLY COMMUNION?
A: Yes. However, there will be changes in how it is offered for physical distancing and sanitization:
1) We will have two separated stations with continuous line distribution.
2) Those serving the bread will be 6-8 feet from those distributing the cups.
3) We will use only the individual cups.
4) Servers will sanitize their hands publicly before serving
5) The host will be dropped (not placed) into the open hands of the communicant
6) Cups will be placed on a table for the communicant to pick up to avoid contact
7) Individuals will come up the side aisles and leave in the center aisle, according to family groups, and will then exit directly to the parking lot.
8)The blessing of children will be done without touching them
Q: HOW LONG WILL THESE CHANGES BE IN PLACE?
A: We will review them and change them when it seems safe to do so.
Q: WILL PEOPLE BE UPSET WITH ME IF I CHOOSE TO CONTINUE TO WORSHP FROM HOME?
A: We will not. In fact, we are working on developing plans to expand our ministry to those who worship from their homes.
If you have any additional questions, please contact the church office.