Church Reopening

Everything you need to know about coming back to church

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 (Messages page), mobile app or Facebook account.