Where Is Your Church at in the Physical Reopening Process?


Where is your church at in the physical reopening process? Are you still gathering via live stream? Meeting outside? Meeting inside with precautions?

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Fantastic question, Staci! I serve at Third CRC in Kalamazoo, MI as Director of Worship Arts. Throughout the Michigan "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order and in recent weeks, we've been pre-recording all of our worship services. Currently, we are moving toward live-streaming on Sunday mornings (after making a significant financial investment in upgrading the audio, visual and lighting capabilities in our sanctuary). This past Sunday (June 28), we held our first in-person worship gathering since March 8 as an outdoor service, with plans to have one again next Sunday, July 5. Beginning July 12, we'll be inside the building, but with significant precautions in place (physical distancing, hand sanitizer stations, communion with pre-packaged elements, limited congregational singing with masks required, pre-registration for contact tracing purposes, and two service times to accommodate the limited capacity).


We are holding small services now but are having issues with people not wanting to mask! It's tearing the church apart with some leaving. It is so difficult when the masking became a political statement instead of a health decision. It prevents any of our older or people with other health issues from attending. We have a long way to go with a lot refusing to attend! Sad!

We just started having outdoor services (we're in northern NJ). Our church is fortunate to have a large hill behind the church lined with trees at the top for shade. Our Plan B in the event of bad weather is to cancel the outdoor portion and livestream the Pastor and Praise Team. I don't think we'll be having services in the sanctuary until it's safe to have the majority of the congregation back in there.


NJ laws currently allow for 100 people indoors or 25% capacity, whichever is lower, but religious and political groups can have unlimited numbers outdoors as long as we social distance and take precautions.


July 5 was the first in-person worship service at Fleetwood CRC in Surrey, BC.  We allowed 49 people in the sanctuary.  They had to pre-register on our app, wear a mask if they sing, sit in the designated pews, sanitize their hands at the door and at the pew, only wave or nod to each other at the passing of the peace, practice physical distancing and exit through the back doors.  Members can register for two services a month.  We are allowing for 5 walk-ups per service so that we can still practice hospitality.  It went well, but I think people were a bit reluctant to be the first ones to sign up (sort of like how no one wants to be the first to go up to get food at a potluck), so we had some seats left over.  We have a lot more signed up for this week.  It's a communion service so we will ask people to either take their own elements or take the prepared elements that will be on a table in the lobby.