Over the last couple of months, the COVID-19 crisis has left us with many questions as to what is the correct way to continue forward. Our response to this crisis is one of careful thought and prayer. We have contacted our insurance company as well as followed the guidelines passed down from the state and national authorities. We have read through CDC guidelines and attempted to make sense of the vast amount of sometimes contradicting information surrounding this situation, all with the intent of creating a place that is safe for all people entering our building of faith. With that said, we also recognize that we have a responsibility to provide our congregation with a fellowship of faith and community. This is an essential piece to our established Christian walk.
In no way are our actions motivated politically, emotionally or capriciously. We truly seek to serve our community of faith in the best possible way.
What This Means:
1. The Waynesburg Bible Chapel is planning for a “soft opening” on Sunday, May 17, 2020. Because this will be a “soft” opening, we will be rolling out certain aspects of what you have come to expect in phases. As of right now, we are only going to be holding in-person services during the 10:45 AM worship/preaching service. There will be no Breaking of Bread, nor will there be a nursery or Children’s Church.
2. If you decide to join us at our physical location, you do so at your own risk. As was the case before COVID-19, we have no way of controlling the spread of any virus other than the increased cleaning and precautions that we will have in place.
3. Also, if you enter the church building for our services you are doing so voluntarily. We have under no circumstances obligated or forcibly coerced anyone to be here against their will or judgment.
4. Before opening next Sunday, the building will receive a rigorous professional cleaning and sanitization.
5. Below, you will find a list of important recommendations and requirements that we are asking you to follow to reduce the risk of spreading germs.
∙ Face masks must be worn while in the building.
∙ If you are sick with ANY symptoms, stay home. (Due to the virus’s unpredictable symptoms, we ask that if you are feeling anything but completely normal that you would please refrain from coming to the physical church, but rather, please join us for our live-stream.)
∙ We ask that everyone utilize the sanitation stations available throughout the church.
∙ We ask that everyone social distance themselves and respect others' space. The CDC recommendation is at least 6 feet. Though you may be comfortable with hugs and handshakes, please don’t place others in the awkward situation of feeling obligated to reciprocate.
∙ Those with comorbidities or any preexisting conditions that would place you at a greater risk for illness are strongly recommended to stay home.
∙ There will be rows of seats sectioned off to create socially distant space. Please refrain from using those closed off rows.
∙ Though we are in the same building, we would also recommend that families stay seated together and six feet apart from other families in order to remain socially distanced.
∙ If parents choose to bring their children, they will need to take responsibility for keeping them within arm’s reach and accounted for at all times.
We all have opinions on how our church should operate, and what “going to church” on a Sunday should look like. Some may view these requirements and recommendations and suggest we have done too little, while others may suggest we have taken it too far. Regardless of what your opinions are on the matter, we as a leadership team wants you to know that the decisions made were not easy to come to, and there is no set rule book for how this is supposed to look.
Because we all may be viewing this situation from differing perspectives, we are asking that everyone resists the temptation to view others negatively that choose a different response to in-person gathering. Whether you choose to come worship in-person or continue to worship from home, you are loved and accepted regardless. We DO NOT want this to be a dividing point in our congregation, but rather a way for everyone to respond at their own comfort level.
Finally, all of these plans are extremely subject to change. As new information becomes available, we will pivot quickly and accelerate or decelerate plans accordingly.
Please know that you are prayed for daily as we walk through this confusing state of affairs.
The Waynesburg Bible Chapel Leadership