|Dear TCC Family,|
Prayers have been answered! This past Saturday Governor Cuomo relaxed his position on houses of worship waiting until Phase 4 to commence corporate worship services. Effective immediately we are permitted to open at 25% sanctuary seating capacity. This means we will be able to have 40 people in attendance at any one time.
Beyond the numbers there is a lot to consider. I am reminded of the words of St. Paul who wrote, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Paul is saying that just because we can do something, does not mean that we should. The reality is that some wish to return to worship right away and this is a very exciting time. However, there are others in a high risk demographic who may choose to continue their “Shelter in Place” practice. We want to be mindful of them as well. In either case, please do as you are lead following the example of St. Paul.
As we begin welcoming limited numbers of people for church services we believe it is important that we employ caution and good sense practices.
Detail on how we will move forward…
– If you or a member of your household is ill, stay home and join us via livestream. If you are in an at risk demographic please use personal discretion on when you choose to attend.
– We will have in person services on Sundays at 10:00am (beginning this week) and Thursday (starting 6/18) at 7:00pm. Over the next several weeks we will be using a lottery system to determine who can attend so we do not exceed 25% capacity. In order to participate we ask that you send an email to Tina Moulton, Church Admin by Friday 6/12. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org Please include: 1) Your name and number of people who will attend, 2) Your Phone number, and 3) Day you wish to attend over the next 4 weeks (NOTE: Select either Thursday OR Sunday as option for all 4 weeks. You will not be able to switch each week). You will be notified on Saturday if you are selected to attend that week. Please know that if you are not selected in the first week you will be entered automatically into the following week’s lottery.
– In the event we have surprise guests we will have the Fellowship Hall open for overflow and livestream option.
-Live streaming of masses is now a permanent practice at TCC. We will continue to livestream Sunday Services. Links to join are found on our website and through our App. Thursday’s in person service will be the same (music, sermon, etc.) as the previous Sunday service. It will not be livestreamed.
– Between services, our church will be cleaned according to CDC standards. The church is already cleaned and sanitized regularly but new attention to detail in the sanctuary and fellowship will be a priority. We are hiring additional cleaning services to be sure we take care of these important details.
Here is what to expect if you choose to attend an in person service….
– There will be a single point of entry at the double red doors. A greeter team will be there to assist you if you have any questions. For the time being, we will require that everyone wear a mask for the duration of the service. The exceptions will be small children, the music team while they lead signing, and the priest while preaching and leading the liturgy. Masks will be provided at the door for those who do not already have one.
– You are required to wash your hands often and use touch-less hand sanitizer stations prior to entering sanctuary.
– Communion will be distributed individually or in couple and family groups. The priest will wear a mask while distributing the bread/host. No chalice will be given at this time. Instructions on specific protocol will be offered at each mass with regard to receiving the Eucharist.
– You may not be able to sit in your “usual” spot. Social distancing practices will be in place. There will be more than 6 feet distance between designated pews. These pews will be clearly marked (see picture above). Families may sit together. Couples may sit together with a limit of one couple per designated pew. A single person can sit in the same pew as a couple. In this instance, individuals would sit on the ends of the pew allowing for 6 feet of separation and a total of 3 people in the pew. The final scenario involves two single people sitting at the ends of the same pew and a total of 2 people in the pew.
– There will be no TCC Kidz or Nursery available in the early stages of reopening. With this in mind, services will be shortened to accommodate families who remain together in the sanctuary. We intend to incorporate a VBS music during the music set and a video lesson during our children’s moment.
– The usual Passing of the Peace will be eliminated at services. Waves, nods, and hand over heart will become our practice. Please, no hugs or walking around the sanctuary.
– We will not be passing a plate to collect tithes and offerings. A collection box will be placed in the narthex for you to make a donation. Electronic donations are encouraged during this time.
– Coffee hour will be suspended.
-There will be no bulletins. Pew Bibles, tissues, and hard copy connect cards will be removed from the pews. Cushions have also been removed for sanitary reasons. We encourage you to bring a pad if you so desire.
We know this is a lot of information to absorb but we are truly excited to be making progress. Thanks to everyone in advance for your patience as we move forward together. We will live into these practices and adjust as we deem necessary. Your continued support and prayers are greatly appreciated.
Finally, know that the leadership of the church is praying for you. We appreciate your prayers as well. As I have said before, if there is a way we can be of service to you, let us know.