Our doors have been open for three months now, and while we are thrilled to have returned to community worship, we look forward to the day when everyone feels safe to gather together. Until then we will continue to meet in person and on live-stream! Here are a few updates since re-opening:
- Per Governor Holcomb’s directive, we ask that you please wear a mask during all MAC gatherings.
- The coffee bar is serving again!
- Youth are meeting again on Sunday evenings from 7-8:30pm!
- We anticipate re-opening MAC Kids ministry on September 27th, but only as we have enough volunteers to keep classes staffed.
We are looking forward to a June 14 date to reopen MAC and begin offering public worship services in our building! As we consider ways that we may do that as safely as possible, we have consulted with district and national officials, spoken with local medical personnel and heard from other area churches (some that have already opened and others that are also in the midst of planning their openings). We are planning to adhere to Governor Holcomb’s “Back on Track” plan as it was laid out in a 5 stage process. June 14 marks Stage 4 of that plan allowing for gatherings of up to 250 people.
In discussions with our church leadership over the last several weeks, we have tried to discern between the FACTS of the pandemic and the PERCEPTIONS of the pandemic and its impact. Even among experts, we are short of facts upon which everyone can agree. There are far more perceptions out there! We want to be responsible and understanding of our whole church body in opening our building and moving forward cautiously with public services and reopening of various ministries.
While a lot is unknown and may not be discovered with certainty for a long time, what we do know is in Delaware County we have experienced a ‘flattening of the curve’ with new cases decreasing. We know that social distancing, while the actual distance is uncertain, seems to have been effective in minimizing risks. We have learned that the use of masks has shown some benefit in decreasing the transmission of the virus. Evidence exists to point to the fact that older people (65+) and those with a weakened immune system are at greater risk of developing more problems and can increase difficulties resulting in prolonged hospital stays and can even be fatal. Current data shows that 25% of people infected have no symptoms.
The facts seem elusive to us and the feelings reflect a broad spectrum of positions as well. Everything from “this is all an overreaction” to a fear that has paralyzed some. The issue we face with reopening is that there does not exist a guaranteed “safe date” to reopen, no matter what date we may choose. There is no way to give a 100% assurance that everyone will be “safe” and remain safe. We cannot mitigate every risk for every person. That is why the leadership has determined to move slowly, remain flexible and open ministry in stages. We want to offer the safest environment we can, knowing that each family must decide for themselves when will be the right time for them to return to public services here in the building. Everyone should feel freedom to make the best decision for themselves and their families given the information available to them and their own particular needs. No one should feel pressure or shame in the decisions they make on returning.
Out of a desire to mitigate those risks within our ability to do so, plans are in place to follow these “best practices” upon reopening the MAC building for public services.
- Public Services will resume on June 14, 10:00 am
- There will be no nursery, children’s ministry, or youth ministry at this initial stage. This has been common practice among churches as children don’t always understand social distancing. We will be continually evaluating when we feel it is best to provide these ministries in a public environment.
- We have also made the hard decision to cancel Vacation Bible School for this summer.
- The lobby, restrooms, sanctuary, and nursing mother’s room will be the only areas open to the public in the building. This means the Fireside Room, children’s classrooms, kitchen, office building, warehouse, and playground will remain closed during this initial stage.
- Social distancing will be encouraged upon entering, exiting, and while in the building.
- The Coffee Bar will not be serving coffee at this initial stage. As with MAC Kids and Youth we will be evaluating when to reopen this ministry.
- Sanctuary seating will be arranged so that family units can sit together and maintain the recommended six-foot distancing.
- We ask parents to closely monitor your children, keeping them within reach of you at all times.
- Hand sanitizer will be available upon entering the building.
- Masks will be worn by our door greeters and are encouraged but not mandatory for all others while in the building.
- All surfaces will be clean and sanitized during the week.
- We ask anyone experiencing symptoms to remain at home for the safety of others.
- Coughing, sneezing, runny nose and/or eyes
- Fever of 100 degrees or above
- Vomiting, Diarrhea
- Inflamed throat or mouth
As throughout this pandemic, information and best practices have changed as new information, data and statistics are made available. We expect, after every phase of the state’s reopening the community, there will be new data and statistics pertaining to new cases and possible changes. Our desire to reopen slowly and in stages will allow us to monitor what is happening as the community continues to reopen and will also allow us to remain flexible in our own plans so that we can respond with wisdom.
As we have done in the past, we will continue to livestream the service on Facebook and YouTube. We encourage everyone to join us each week whether in the building or from their living rooms.
We love our MAC Family! And desire God’s best for each of you.
Be Safe. Be Smart. Stay in Touch.