June 5, 2020
Our CCC family and friends,
We are excited to announce that this Sunday, June 7 we will re-open our church building for those who are ready to gather physically for worship! For the remaining weeks in June, based on responses from our recent survey, we anticipate having part of our family gathering in person and part connecting through our #ChurchAtHome service. It will look very different for all of us, but we know that as we gather in the name of Jesus, He will be in our midst. We anticipate a joyful ReGathering!
Our Leadership Team has worked hard considering many ideas about the ReGathering time. In addition to the survey of regular attenders, we have used resources from other churches, from our own church network (Free Methodist), and from our political leaders at the national, state, and local levels.
Within the Leadership Team there is a broad range of views represented, and we have been honest with each other in discussion. We have prayed that God would keep us from two pitfalls Satan would love to trap us in: pride and fear.
We appreciate the input so many of you offered through our ReGathering survey. In your responses we saw the same wide range of opinions and concerns. We also heard from many about your willingness to set aside personal preferences in order to find a plan to move us forward in this unprecedented time of challenge. As your pastors, it gave us great joy to see that kind of sacrificial love in our church family.
Although we have done our best to create this plan, we may make some mistakes or use incorrect assumptions. Where this is true, we ask for your patience and input as we move along. We are committed to respecting the guidelines set out by the County of Santa Cruz, and we are being generally cautious, due to our love for those who might be at greater risk in our church family and community.
We want to give you the specific ReGathering Plan for this Sunday. These are the highlights, and if you are interested in the complete plan you may request it by contacting the office.
- For those in our family and community who are 65 years and older, or those have underlying medical conditions, you are welcome to join us, but we recommend you consider continuing to connect with our #ChurchAtHome service. We will continue to offer the service online and in DVD format; and we will work to help everyone feel they are part of the same family, no matter how they experience the ReGathering service. We will, in effect, be a two-service church for some time (one in person, and one digital), but we equally love and value those watching at home and those who can attend a service in person.
- We can only have 55 people in the Worship Center at once, which significantly limits us. On a regular Sunday B.C. (Before Coronavirus), we averaged 115 people. For this first Sunday back, we will have to “close the doors” once we reach 55, and can allow 10 additional people to watch from the lobby. Based on survey results, we believe we will have space for everyone this first Sunday. For future ReGathering services, we will attempt new ways to accommodate more worshipers.
- People in the building are required to wear a face covering if they are school age or older. Please bring your most comfortable face covering to wear inside the building, and we will have single-use masks for anyone in need. Remember that a mask does not protect you; a mask protects others from getting any sickness you may have. This is a visible sign of caring for those around you. We do encourage fun designs on your face covering; that’s the kind of fun we’re known for at CCC!
- Please take your temperature before you arrive at the church building. You will be asked by a friendly greeter if you have done so before you enter the building. You will also be asked two other quick questions: Have you had a fever or any symptoms in the last 5 days? Have you recently been in close contact with anyone who is sick? If you were not able to take your temperature before arriving at church, a volunteer will quickly check it for you with a no-touch, infrared thermometer that accurately reads your temperature in just two seconds.
- You will see that our Worship Center looks very different with chairs in “pods” that are separated from each other. An usher will help you find a seat. Our unique chair arrangement observes social distancing measures while allowing families who have been sheltering in place together to sit together.
- Our service length will be shortened to 60 minutes (wait… some of you are cheering?!?!), from 10:10 to 11:10. We will sing together (with face coverings on), watch family videos, and hear teaching from the parables of Jesus. Our friends leading us from the stage will be socially distanced but are not required to wear face coverings because they are at least 18 feet from the rest of us.
- We will have volunteers outside each restroom to ensure use by only two people at a time. We suggest people use a restroom before arrival, but restrooms will be available.
- We request people socialize outside rather than in the building, as the chance of transmitting any illness while social distancing outdoors is quite small.
- We have many additional cleaning protocols in place. If you have any questions or are interested in reading the whole plan, please contact the church office by calling 831-722-4363 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our ReGathering Team is working hard to prepare for those who can join together in person on Sunday, and we look forward to even more of us worshiping at 26 Browns Valley Road as the weeks roll on. For the sake of simplicity and unity, we have made a plan that honors recommended guidelines and creates a safe, streamlined flow to our coming and going. Perhaps we will discover that this time of sheltering has prepared us to make our church family more accessible to those who can only join us digitally. That’s the kind of good gift God can bring out of a difficult time. He can truly work all things together for good for those who love and follow Him.
We look forward to being together this week, whether that means in person on Sunday morning or online at your convenience. #ChurchAtHome will be a video of our in-person service and will be posted Sunday evening. We know that might be later than you’re used to, so we thank you for your patience.
Be caring, growing, serving people wherever God has planted you!
We love you,
Pastors Theo and Gayleen