On May 22nd, the NC Department of Health and Human Services issued a document titled “Interim Guidance for Places of Worship and Religious Services.” The CDC has additional guidance for childcare programs like our Anchor Kids ministry. These guidelines include recommendations to help ensure a healthful environment for indoor worship services.
Many of these suggestions were already being considered for use at North Haven and we have included some of the recommendations to further enhance our post-CoVid-19 activities. When you come to North Haven, things will be somewhat different than before the crisis. We may modify some of the special accommodations we have mode as the situation changes, but here are a few changes you can expect to see when you attend services and ministry activities at North Haven Church.
Bathrooms: 1) hands-free faucets and paper towel dispensers have been installed, 2) door knobs have been replaced with push plates, 3) counter-tops, fixtures, stall enclosures, and doors have been sanitized, and 4) fresh water systems have been purged as recommended by CDC guidelines.
Sanctuary and Overflow Seating Areas: 1) additional seating with increased inter-row spacing has been added, 2) fans will be running to bring in outdoor air, 3) doors, door handles and furnishings have been sanitized.
Offerings: Offering plates will be available prior to each service on the communion table in the front of the Sanctuary and at locations at the rear of the Sanctuary. Your tithes and offerings can be placed in these plates before or after the service.
Communion: Individual communion sets will be available at each entrance for you to pick up when you enter. After each service, these will be collected, bagged, and disposed of by ushers.
Bulletins: Sunday bulletins will be available for pick-up when you enter the Sanctuary building at the Visitor’s Center and by each door.
Entry/Exit: When possible, entry and exit doors will be propped open to reduce the need for using door handles. If weather permits, socializing should be done outside prior to coming into the Sanctuary or Educational buildings.
Seating: Additional chairs have been added to the Sanctuary and Overflow room. You will choose you own seating with your proximity to others based on your personal preference.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): North Haven will have hand sanitizer at the Visitor’s Center and in bathrooms. Provide your own masks, gloves, and/or sanitizing wipes if you wish to use them but do not dispose any of these items in the toilets.
Health Screening: We will not be providing health screenings for attendees. If you have active CoVid-19 or any CoVid-19 symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell), do not attend North Haven services until you have fully recovered.
Those At-Risk: Older adults (65+) and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from CoVid-19. It may be prudent for anyone in those categories to refrain from attending North Haven services until a later time.
Social Distancing: When choosing your seats for services, leave space between you and others as you think appropriate. We suggest that families sit together if possible. North Haven will not enforce or instruct attendees in social distancing practices, but we encourage everyone to be considerate of others and respect their personal space.
Masks and other PPE: These are personal items, provided by you and worn at your discretion. North Haven will not enforce the use of these items by attendees.
Sunday Morning Worship and Beyond
Here are a few things to note for Sunday services:
- Park as you normally do.
- Come early to have time to greet your friends outside before entering the Sanctuary.
- If you have children, take them to the Education Building as you normally do before the 9:15AM service. They will have the normal Sunday School and Children’s Church. Pastor Ben will send all Anchor parents more detailed instructions about the children’s ministries and processes we will use that day.
- When you enter the Sanctuary, pick up your Sunday bulletin before choosing your seats.
- Seating will be available anywhere in the Sanctuary.
- After the service, instead of remaining in the buildings, move outdoors to fellowship if the weather permits.
Other Schedule Changes
- We will not have regular Wednesday night services or children’s programs until after the summer, probably resuming in August.
- The pastor’s current Wednesday Bible-study series, The Life and Times of Elijah, will continue to be recorded and made available on-line each Wednesday through June 24th.
- Some Bible studies and other ministries may continue to host Zoom or other types of on-line meetings throughout the summer.
- We will continue to provide recordings of the Sunday Morning Worship services through Facebook or the church web site. We hope to have these recordings available around 5:00PM each Sunday.
- The Food Pantry will not be providing food distributions after Sunday Morning worship services until further notice; however, food is still available by contacting the church office or during other times of controlled distribution.
We understand that, even with these accommodations, some may not feel comfortable attending services yet. These are individual decisions each family or individual must make. North Haven will continue these special accommodations to reduce the risk of CoVid-19 exposure, but the choice to attend indoor services is still a personal one.
Someday in the future we will look back on this time of trouble and see the mighty hand of God was at work in our fellowship and throughout our nation. Until then, I feel with these common-sense accommodations, we can be obedient to those in authority, respectful to those at-risk, and still be “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” as instructed by God’s Word.
If you have any questions or need clarifications on any of the items mentioned in this mailing, please contact the church office.
Dr. James Seymour
Pastor, North Haven Church
Go back to the CoVid-19 Update page.