Current Protocol

Everything you need to know about coming back to church

Update  |  June 9, 2021: Beginning June 13, masks are optional on the main floor for all individuals. In the balcony, masks are required throughout the service. Face coverings will continue to be required for children in Kingdom Kids. We also ask all staff members and volunteers—Kingdom Kids, prayer ministry, media team, communion distribution, greeters and ushers—to wear a mask during the time you are serving.

Update  |  June 2, 2021: Beginning June 6, masks are optional on the main floor for all individuals who have been vaccinated. The balcony will continue to be set aside for those who prefer to remain masked—if you're in the balcony, masking is required throughout the service. Face coverings will continue to be required for children in Kingdom Kids. We are asking all staff and volunteers—Kingdom Kids, prayer ministry, media team, communion distribution, greeters and ushers—to wear a mask during the time you are serving. This allows everyone to feel comfortable receiving the ministry you are involved with.

Update  |  May 16, 2021
  • During the sermon, people sitting on the main floor will have the option to unmask.  Masking will continue to be required as you move into and out of the sanctuary and during worship. It is only during the sermon, only if you are seated, and only if you are on the main floor that unmasking will be permissible.
  • We are offering the balcony for people who prefer to remain masked and sit with others who also stay masked throughout the entire service. If you sit in the balcony, please keep your mask on.
  • Please be respectful of the decision that each person makes, and be careful to show love and unity. We all have different circumstances at home, and we can trust that the Lord is leading all of us, even if we don't all come to the same conclusions.
  • Coffee service is back—before the service (9:30 to 10 am). It will be served outside if the weather is nice, or just inside the front entrance if the weather does not cooperate.

Update  |  March 28, 2021
  • Registration is no longer required for church attendance. Registration IS required for Kingdom Kids.
  • Kingdom Kids resumes for Pre-K/K and Club 15. Each class size is limited to 10 students, with all students and teachers wearing masks. Registration is necessary. The nursery will not be staffed at this time, but parents are welcome to use the nursery to care for their fussy babies. The service will be livestreamed into the nursery.
  • Middle-of-the-pew seating will no longer be restricted in our sanctuary. However, in order to allow people to distance comfortably, red spacers will be available at the back of the church. When you enter the sanctuary, grab some spacers to block off seats to your right and/or left. Place as many on your pew as you need to feel comfortably distanced. We will continue the practice of using every other pew.

Update  |  March 7, 2021: After-service prayer ministry is being offered again for those who would like to receive it. Masks are necessary, and social distancing will be observed as well as possible.

Current status  |  February 10, 2021: We can’t make Sunday mornings 100% safe, but we're doing everything we can to reduce risk. These are our current mitigation procedures. We are:
  • Taking our volunteers' temperatures at the door
  • Asking volunteers to stay home from church for 14 days if they've been exposed
  • Wearing masks  (over your nose and mouth, even while singing)
  • Limiting our attendance to one-quarter of our capacity
  • Asking people to register so we can manage that limit
  • Worshiping at a distance of six feet between groups (every other row, within marked sections)
  • Putting a temporary hold on after-church prayer ministry, coffee ministry and in-person Kingdom Kids
  • Providing hand sanitizer stations
  • Maintaining a regular cleaning and sanitizing schedule for the sanctuary and restrooms 

Of course, if you are at high risk, are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19, we would ask you to please stay home from church and enjoy the service online. God shows up at our online service, too!

Update  |  December 6, 2020: We're sharing communion again every week, with individual wafer/juice packages. People watching on livestream will want to have their communion elements ready before the service begins.

Update  |  November 5, 2020: Out of an abundance of caution, communion and after-service prayer ministry are on hold again for the time being.

Update  |  October 4, 2020: We're moving into the next stage in our reopening plan.

So far, we have been super conservative, holding our attendance at 70 people and keeping a 10-foot distance (two empty pews between us) when we worship. Starting October 4, we're planning to make the following changes:

  • The attendance ceiling will be raised to 125 (still just one-quarter of our sanctuary capacity).
  • Seating will be reconfigured to accommodate the increase but also maintain social distancing. With only one empty pew between us, we can keep a 6-foot distance from the people in front and behind us. With the center of each pew empty, we can also stay 6 feet away from those in the next family or group.
  • No more assigned seating; you choose your own place to sit. In each section of designated open seating, you are free to sit with whomever you are comfortable.
  • We do still need you to sign up to attend (volunteers included). The number of spaces will be increased to 125.
  • We will continue to wear masks and would remind you to please keep yours over your nose and mouth even during singing.
  • Communion will be back and celebrated every week. You'll be receiving an individual wafer/juice package when you enter the building, but we'll wait and take communion together later in the service. (Unfortunately, we do not have a gluten-free option available at this time.) People watching on livestream will want to have the communion elements ready before the service begins.
  • Prayer ministry time will return at the end of the service.
July 19, 2020: Here's an outline of what corporate worship looks like in our initial phase:
 
Seating
  • We have a limited capacity, in accordance with state guidelines. For now, we can accommodate 65 people, not including volunteers.
  • Everyone who wants to attend will need to sign up every week to reserve their seat. We know this is an inconvenience, but it's really the only way to manage the number of people in the building. 
  • For each service, sign-up is open during the week prior— from Monday morning through Saturday morning at 9 am. Look for the sign-up link on this page, our home page, our mobile app and our church Facebook account.
  • Social distancing is required, and seating will be assigned. Families sit together, leaving six feet between them and the next household. Designated pews will be blocked off. 
  • Staircases are designated up or down only, with appropriate signage at each.
 
Masks
We are asking everyone to wear a mask. This is a concession we need to make for two reasons:
  • You may be convinced that masks are absolutely necessary, or you may be of the opinion that the whole thing is overblown. We are not here to debate this issue; we're here to honor each other. In this context, honoring means wearing masks. It means protecting each other from possible contamination as well as from undue anxiety. We wear masks out of an abundance of caution, responsibility and love. The service only lasts an hour; we can do this for each other.
  • Masks help support our value of singing. Experts say that the virus spreads through droplets expelled when an infected person coughs, talks, sneezes or sings vigorously. We're not going to stop singing at Elgin Vineyard! So we wear masks.
 
Hugging
Sadly, for the time being, we have to recommend no hugging. Hugging defeats the purpose of social distancing. Although some people find it an acceptable risk, others are understandably wary. Let's be sensitive and not put someone in the awkward position of having to accept a hug they're not ready for, or having to turn you down if you ask.
 
Kingdom Kids
There is no Kingdom Kids for now. But please note that the service is shorter— about an hour, which should make it easier for families.
We also continue to offer teaching for the kids through Zoom.
 
Also on hold for the time being
  • Communion
  • Coffee and snacks
  • Ministry time
 
Hand sanitizers
We have new hand sanitizer stations. At minimum, we would ask you to use them:
  • When you enter and exit the building 
  • When you enter and exit the restrooms

We’re live!
On July 19 we also introduced a livestream format for our online service, rather than prerecorded. If you are not able to come to church, you can watch the service as it happens— or if you miss it, you’ll be able to view the service later. Watch it on our website, mobile app or Facebook account.