CoVid-19 Accommodations

Note: On 11/21/2020, new face-mask requirements were imposed by the state Governor and Raleigh Mayor to help prevent the spread of the CoVid-19 virus. They expect all people who attend indoor gatherings to now wear face masks. We are free to continue our times of fellowship and worship as a congregation, but should respect the health concerns of some as well as these new requirements. The sections below have been updated to reflect these new accommodations, schedules, and process changes.  Updated text is shown in red.

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 have modified some of the special accommodations we initially made as the situation has progressed and new requirements have been imposed. Here are the current accommodations related to CoVid-19 that you will see when attending indoor services and ministry activities at North Haven Church.

Facility Changes
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) HVAC fans will be running to bring in outdoor air, 3) doors, door handles and furnishings are regularly sanitized.

Process Changes
Offerings: Offering plates are 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 sealed communion items will be available at each entrance for you to pick up when you enter. After each service, these will be collected and disposed of by ushers.

Bulletins: Sunday bulletins will be available for pick-up or distributed by Greeters 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. Disposable face masks will be available near each entry door and the Visitor’s Center.  Provide your own personal masks, gloves, and/or sanitizing wipes if you wish to use them but do not dispose any of these items in the toilets.

Other Considerations
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.

Face Masks and other PPE: These are personal items, provided by you and worn at your discretion.  As of 11/23/2020, all attendees should wear face masks while indoors at North Haven events. Children under the age of 5 are not required to wear masks.  If needed, face masks are available at the doors and the Visitor’s Desk.

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 and Pastor Ben has established safe processes for children in the classrooms and as they move throughout the building.
  • 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

  • The pastor’s Wednesday Bible-study series continues. It is recorded and available on-line by the following Thursday.
  • We have regular Wednesday night programs for children and youth with appropriate use of PPE and safe processes.
  • Some Bible studies and other ministries continue to meet using Zoom and/or on-site meetings.
  • We continue to provide recordings of the Sunday Morning Worship services through Facebook and the church web site. These recordings are available around 5:00PM each Sunday.
  • The Food Pantry is providing food distributions after Sunday Morning worship services. Food is still available by contacting the church office or during other times of controlled distribution.
  • Community Outreach continues with special provisions, such as limiting the number of people in the gym at one time, sanitizing surfaces, and guests remaining in their cars until being served.

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