Refinery Church Pandemic Return Policy
“ Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Hello Refinery Church Family!
Good news! The County of San Diego, based on guidelines released Monday by the State of California, has just given faith communities the ok to resume physical worship in an outdoor setting, with a number of guidelines in place to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. This is a great blessing, and we are grateful to God for the opportunity to engage in face-to-face worship again.
Many of our loved ones at church are people in high-risk categories for Covid-19. Moreover, we interact with people beyond our church -- some we will never know personally, but they are precious to God -- who are at serious risk.
In practical terms, as we reopen our church we also need to be careful to abide by the county guidelines for legal reasons and as part of our responsibility to the community. The procedures are designed to help us maintain healthy physical distance and prevent disease transmission.
We plan to have in-service meetings again starting soon in the courtyard at 10:30 am.
Worship will be different. There will be some inconvenience. But as we maintain patience with each other and look to the Lord in gratitude for the joy of being together, I know God will bless us.
Here are some procedures that will be part of worshiping together in the short term:
--Please do not attend worship if you are ill. We will be taking temperatures (with a no-touch forehead device) at the door of all who attend or lead the service, hand sanitizer will be required for all as they enter the building also-- if your temperature is over 100 degrees, we have to ask you not to attend.
--Staff, volunteers, congregants, and visitors (except for children under 2, who should not) will have to wear face coverings to and during church. Many people already have their own face coverings, but we have disposable masks to offer those who need them at our new welcome desk.
--We will not hold coffee time before or after service. Sunday school will also not take place during service for kids, youth, or special needs until phase 4 starts around the county.
--For the first three weeks of services, capacity for worship is capped at 60 people.
--We are skipping every other row of pews to maintain six feet of spacing, and have put signs on the pews that we are not using. Family groups should sit together with at least six feet of distance from other groups.
--We will not be using pew Bibles. For the moment, we will have singing by the band but congregation members are asked to stay seated and listen to worship and meditate in that moment of worship in your heart.
--Please be reassured, and reassure others, that people do not need to come to physical church right now if they feel it is not best for their health. We will be streaming live the service of The Refinery Facebook page and will upload a prerecorded version of the sermon to our website for Sunday morning and the full version of the service to our website by Monday morning.
--For the time being, we will have children sit with their parents or guardians in the main worship service. A kid's packet of activity sheets will be available at the welcome desk. Please parents bring crayons or pens for your Littles to use. The children's team and I are working on procedures for nursery and Children's Sunday school going forward.
--We will have restrooms and basic common surfaces wiped down before and after our service. The other churches who share our space Maranatha and Emanuel Anglican will do the same after their services. Any volunteers (should be people in low-health-risk categories) for a "wipedown crew" before and after service would be appreciated. Gloves will be handed out to you.
--We will not use bulletins for the time being or will have someone distribute bulletins at the new welcome desk as time and safety continues.
--We cannot "pass the plate" for offerings. Offering boxes will be available at the back of the room or the welcome desk before and after services to place our tithes and offerings.
--We have prepackaged communion kits for the Lord's Supper to hand out for appropriate Sundays.
--We will need to encourage, model, and practice no-touch greetings. Yes, this is hard but we can do it.
This is a lot of details and it's easy to feel. Overwhelmed or mad at it all, but the gain of being in worship together is worth the inconveniences posed by these health measures. We as a church can do this. Let's do this with grace, with patience, and with gratitude towards God. It will be a joy to see each other again in person.
Blessings to you all.