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Sunday, September 20
Sunday Morning Update from E-Gram
Sunday Morning Groups
We have re-opened our Sunday morning groups for all ages. Face masks are required (3-yr-old and younger are exempt from this requirement, but if your child will wear a face mask, we encourage it). [Please see comments below about face masks.]
Appropriate social distancing must be maintained. If a class is too large to social distance in their assigned room, then we will make space in a larger room (if available) or we will request that the class work out an A-B schedule (i.e., the "A" part of the class comes on one Sunday and the "B" part comes on the following Sunday).
Sunday Morning Children's Ministry
We have children's Sunday School for all ages (groupings may be different right now than prior to the pandemic). We will screen all children and all childcare volunteers with a touchless thermometer when they enter the class. If we have sufficient volunteers to staff this effectively, and if the number of toddlers justifies this, we plan on having multiple toddler rooms since toddlers will be the hardest to provide social distancing. [NOTE to parents of toddlers and those who may volunteer in the toddler room. We recognize that it will be nearly impossible to "require" social distancing in a toddler room. These children WILL get close to one another. Our goal is to limit the number of children in a room so that we limit the social contact. Please see my comments below about why we're introducing children's ministry if we already know that it will be hard to keep them apart.]
We will NOT yet start Sonshine Kids worship on Sunday mornings. We do plan on having infant and toddler care available during the worship service (if we have enough childcare volunteers), but we will continue to ask our elementary-age students to stay in the worship service. The chapel (where we normally have Sonshine Kids worship) is still being used as a room for potential overflow from the main worship center.
Weekday Growth Groups
All weekday growth groups may use the building to host their groups. Masks and social distancing is a requirement. We plan on making four main spaces available for the weekday groups (the chapel, room 300, the small group room, and the worship center). If you're a weekday growth group leader, please email Sheila Astacio (
) to reserve a room.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Each group (weekday and Sunday) must take the time to wipe down the hard surfaces in the room with cloth and disinfectant spray at the end of every class. The church will provide the disinfectant spray and the clothes and gloves.
Please note that we may need to scale back on these recommendations if the current COVID-19 statistics change in a negative direction.
Who likes wearing a mask? I don't know of anyone who enjoys the mask, so, why are we requiring them? It's a way to love your neighbor. Masks help prevent the spread of potentially fatal diseases. We currently have a number of people who are in high-risk groups who have already started coming back to the church. We praise God for their return. If wearing a mask helps them feel less threatened during these early stages of our re-opening, then we should be willing to love our neighbors well by wearing a mask. It's a small thing to do, but it shows that you esteem others as more important than yourself (see Phil 2:1-11).
But, does wearing a mask mean that we're living in fear? NO! Wearing a mask doesn't mean that we're motivated by fear any more than wearing your seatbelt means that you're motivated by fear. We wear our seatbelts because it's wise and prudent. It keeps us from getting injured in the case of an accident. Wearing a mask is wise and prudent at this stage. It keeps others from suffering potential harm. It's a small thing to do. Let's love our neighbors!
Why Children's Ministry at This Time?
Governor Hogan has allowed daycare centers to re-open across the state so long as there are not more than 15 people in a room. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we didn't have 15 or more people in any childcare room on Sunday mornings. Those numbers are even lower now with some parents exercising an abundance of caution with their children. We anticipate that many parents will still wait a little while before bringing their children back. Therefore, our children's ministry will be handling a rather small number of children. We will be able to provide multiple rooms for various age groups. Our main concern will be the appropriate staffing of volunteers, but we feel like this is a hurdle we can easily overcome. We don't believe that we'll be putting any children in any unnecessary risk by re-opening our children's ministry at this time. Now, a special word to parents. These are your children. Some of you are not yet ready to reintroduce your child into a public space like this. We completely understand. We miss you and your children, but we want you to feel safe before you come back. If you want to talk with me about the safety protocols we have in place, I'd be happy to discuss these measures with you.