The “New Normal” at Ujima Village Christian Church
Over the past months we have lived through challenging times. The COVID-19 pandemic caused us to learn a new vocabulary term, “social distancing,” and also caused us to be locked-in and locked away from our normal lifestyles. Some of us have lost loved ones, lost income, lost touch with friends. The Lord has seen us through these challenging days and He will see us through the days to come and the adjustments we must make in order to help protect the health of the community. As we slowly emerge from the lock-down, there will be a “new normal” for many areas of our lives. When our church leadership determines that it is appropriate to permit those who are willing to return to worship in our sanctuary, we will be taking steps to help keep everyone safe...
Social distancing will be applied to worship in the sanctuary. Worshipers must wear masks, which will be provided if needed. Members of the same household can sit together, but there will be empty seating maintained between different households. There will also be increased space between seating rows, so the seating capacity of the sanctuary will be slightly decreased.
“No-touch” temperature thermometers will be used to check worshipers and determine if anyone has a fever. Anyone who is sick is asked to stay home and participate in the worship provided online through the church website.
People are encouraged to have their own hand sanitizer, however hand sanitizer will be available in the building. Hand washing is encouraged. Areas will be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
To reduce the likelihood of virus transmission, everyone is asked to bring their own Bibles for worship and study. Church Bibles and hymnals will be removed from the sanctuary and classrooms. Hymn lyrics will be provided in the bulletin.
Worship bulletin distribution will be done by a single designated usher, who will be masked and gloved.
Until further notice, the processional and recessional will be suspended. Worship will open and close with the choir and ministers in their places.
The parts of worship will be led by the clergy. The volunteer lay worship leaders will be reinstated over time.
Affectionate nods and smiles will replace handshakes and hugs. We even encourage “blowing masked kisses” while maintaining social distance.
Use of the Elevator will be limited to four people at a time, unless all on the elevator are from the same household. Masks must be worn by everyone on the elevator as well as elsewhere.
An online worship experience will continue to be provided on the church website. While it will not be posted until later on Sunday (time yet to be determined). Also, the online worship will be in a slightly different format than what has been done during the pandemic lock-down. We have learned of the value of providing this online ministry and will continue to do so.
Sunday and Wednesday Bible Study classes will continue to be available through conference call even after in-person classes resume.
In addition to the offering during worship in the sanctuary, online giving will remain available on the church website. Those who choose to continue to give their tithes and offerings online are asked to still use a tithe or offering envelope when in the sanctuary on Sundays, simply marked with their name, date, amount, and “gave online,” to acknowledge your witness as a cheerful giver during the offering when in worship.
Please maintain social distancing when exiting the sanctuary. Please keep your mask on in the parking lot until you return to your vehicle.
Be sure to disinfect your cell phone if you have had it out in public.
The “New Normal” Notes for Facilities Care, Ushers, Choir and Trustees
This is a supplement to the “New Normal” handout given to members and provides additional specifics for those preparing for and conducting worship. All must wear masks.
Sexton and Busy Bees
All hard surfaces regularly touched should be disinfected prior 10AM on Sunday and again after worship and study. Doorknobs, panic bars, elevator buttons, restroom fixtures, etc… should be wiped with disinfectant. The pulpit should be wiped with a wood-safe disinfectant after worship.
Sanctuary seating rows should be spread out to allow for no less than three feet between rows. The removal of two rows from the rear of the sanctuary may be needed to accomplish this. Choir chairs and pulpit chairs will have to be separated and spaced at least three feet apart. Some chairs may need to be removed to accomplish this.
Ushers should be masked and gloved. Their temperatures should be taken before taking their posts.
All Bibles and hymnals should be removed from the sanctuary and stored in the stage closets.
Doors to the main stairway and rear sanctuary doors should remain open to reduce the number of people having to touch them.
No later than 10:15AM on Sundays, two ushers should be posted at the main 1st floor entry to distribute masks as needed and take no-touch temperature of anyone entering. A high temperature can be retaken to ensure it was not in error. Anyone with a fever should be asked to worship from home. Worshipers should be told to go to the sanctuary level quietly, as doors will be left open to reduce the number of people touching them. Unless all are from the same household, elevators are limited to four people at a time.
Bulletins should be folded only when wearing both a mask and gloves. One usher should hand the bulletins to worshipers as they enter.
Ushers should have hand sanitizer available to use as needed.
Worshipers should be separated by households with no less than two seats between each household. Ushers will have to conduct people to their seats to ensure distance is maintained.
Social distancing should be maintained when giving tithes and offerings, for the Lord’s Supper, and when exiting the building.
Masks must be worn even while singing. So, raising your voice is crucial.
Choir chairs will be spaced to allow for social distancing. The choir may opt to sit in the first rows and come forward and stay three feet apart while singing.
No more than three people should be in the Trustee office at any one time and they should always be masked and not touch their faces with unwashed or unsanitized hands after touching envelopes or money.
Trustees should open envelopes and count money with gloves on and wash or sanitize their hands when done. As the virus can only survive on surfaces for 48 to 72 hours, Trustees may opt to wait that time to deal with the envelopes and money.
Every surface touched should be sanitized when finished.
No fellowship meals will be served until further notice.
The “New Normal” Notes for the Council of Ministers
This is a supplement to the “New Normal” handout given to members and provides additional specifics for those preparing for and conducting worship during the COVID-19 pandemic. All must wear masks.
As there will be no processional or recessional until further notice, the acolytes or stewards should ensure that the candles are lit prior to the start of worship and snuffed out after the benediction.
To minimize exposure, the parts of worship will be conducted from the lectern, while remaining masked. Because he will be removing his mask to preach, only the pastor will use the pulpit. The pulpit will need to be sanitized after each worship service.
Everyone is asked to bring their own Bible. Those reading the Scripture Lesson should read from the English Standard Version (ESV).
During the Wisdom Keeping, efforts should be made to maintain social distancing with an expanded circle. There should be no holding of hands between those of different households while praying. Items may only be distributed with sanitized gloved hands.
The Lord’s Supper
(New procedures for when we restart worship in the sanctuary)
The Lord’s Supper elements must be prepared and served while wearing masks and rubber gloves. Individual communion cups should only be ⅓ to ½ full to help prevent spillage. The pastor’s chalice and large wafer can be set up as usual.
At the start of the ritual, hand sanitizer will be used by each elder and deacon. Then two sets of new rubber gloves will be distributed to each elder and deacon to be worn, one on top of the other. Instead of water being in the basin while washing hands, a small amount of water should be poured over glove-covered hands into the basin and a separate paper towel used to dry each minister’s hands. The paper towels should be disposed of.
After the elders and deacons receive the Lord’s Supper themselves (following the same procedure outlined below for serving the congregation), their outer gloves should be removed so that they are only using the untouch inner glove to commune others. The used outer gloves should then be disposed of in the bags that will also receive the used communion cups.
A continuous line of those receiving the Lord’s Supper, each household separated by at least three feet, will be conducted by the ushers down the center aisle, and return by the side aisles. Ushers will offer a “squirt” of hand sanitizer to worshipers as they enter the line to receive communion.
A deacon, standing in the middle, will drop the wafer into the open hands of each one receiving the Lord’s Supper, being careful not to touch the recipient's hands as they approach from the center aisle. Then deacons, on either side of the one in the middle, will pass each worshiper a single cup, while holding the top rim, to be received by the worshiper by grasping the bottom of the cup, being careful not to touch hands. Once both the bread and the cup are received by each worshiper, then they may lift their masks enough to eat the bread and drink from the cup, immediately putting the mask back in place once finished (worshipers should be careful to maintain social distancing while consuming the elements).
The blessing of children, who may not be receiving the Lord’s Supper, should be done without touching their skin. The sign of the cross will be given over them.
The same process for serving will be followed for those needing communion in their seats, with the deacon disposing of the used cup.
A deacon, steward, or acolyte will be on each corner with a disposable bag for each worshiper to dispose of their empty cup along with the deacons’ and elders’ used gloves and paper towels. When done, the bags should be tied and disposed of.