We understand not everyone is at the same place regarding their comfort level with attending church indoors. So...We have four options for you to choose from!
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As we assess how people are feeling about returning indoors for church services, most of us fit into one of three groups.
GROUP 1 are those who are not yet ready to come back indoors for worship services and church activities. There are many different reasons why people are not yet ready and we respect and acknowledge your feelings and concerns about returning indoors.
GROUP 2 are those who have some concerns about returning indoors but are willing to do it if the church is taking some steps to offer a safe environment (face coverings, physical distancing, contactless entry and exit, etc.) and if others who attend are willing to also follow the safety guidelines.
GROUP 3 are those who want things as normal as possible. Specifically, they don't want to wear face coverings while attending church. In fact, for this group, requiring face coverings is a deal breaker for returning to church.
HERE IS OUR COMMITMENT. We want to provide opportunities for all three groups of people to attend worship services. We also want to begin offering as many of our ministry programs as possible in the weeks ahead.
- All services include the same message and the same music.
- We are not limiting capacity in our Worship Center. However, we encourage you to physically distance yourself from non-family members to help prevent the spread of Covid. NOTE: We have removed every other row of chairs in two of the sections of seating (right and left sides) to help make it easier to be physically distanced in those sections.
- We have scheduled extra time between our worship services to allow everyone who wants to quickly exit the building to do so before people who are attending the next service begin entering the building. This will help assure physical distancing is possible in the lobby. Anyone who wishes may also use one of the two emergency exits in the Worship Center after the service if they desire to do so to avoid exiting through the lobby.
- All children and youth will have their temperature taken and will be asked Covid related questions prior to entering their classrooms. This will take place for children and volunteers in the hallway beside Guest Central as you enter into the children’s ministry area. Youth ministry volunteers and middle/high school students will be screened when they enter the OC Youth building.
- In all services, we will not be passing offering plates. We encourage you to GIVE ONLINE. We will have baskets available at the Worship Center doors for you to drop off your offering before and after the service if you prefer. Giving Kiosks will also be available in the lobby.
- On the weeks we have communion, you will be given juice and bread when you enter the Worship Center.
- Church bulletins with the message outline and announcements will be available at the doors as you enter the Worship Center. The outline and announcements are also available ONLINE.
- The Cafe will be open in the Church lobby following the 9:00 a.m. service and prior to the 10:45 a.m. service.
- A number of Adult Bible Classes are planning to meet. CLICK HERE for times, locations and names of the teachers.
CAN YOU PROMISE THAT WE WILL BE SAFE IF WE ATTEND?
The short answer is no. The truth is that no church or business or school or government official or anyone else should and can make that promise to you. There is a risk associated with returning indoors for worship services. If you are looking for a totally risk free environment, your best option will be to join us online.
ARE WE BREAKING THE LAW AS A CHURCH BY OFFERING SERVICES WHERE WE ARE NOT LIMITING CAPACITY OR REQUIRING FACE COVERINGS ALL THE TIME?
There is much debate about this question. Here is the position of our Elders. On July 15, 2020, Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Levine announced new limitations to outdoor and indoor gatherings (250 outdoors and 25 indoors). When they made the announcement, both were asked specifically if the guidelines applied to churches and religious services. Both answered no. Churches and religious institutions are not required to follow the health guidelines. It is our opinion that in light of their "no" answer to capacity limitation that they are also acknowledging that none of the other health guidelines they have issued are "required" and are simply recommendations for churches.
You may wonder if we are not "required" to follow the guidelines, then why ask people to wear a face covering during the 9:00 a.m. service. We are asking people to wear a face covering at that service to help those who desire certain safety protocols (like wearing a face mask) to feel more comfortable while attending a worship service. Our goal is to provide options for people who have different comfort levels for attending indoors and we want the 9:00 a.m. service to be a place for people to attend who want to wear a face covering and want others who worship with them to wear one too.
WILL WE HAVE AN 8:00 WORSHIP SERVICE AGAIN?
We will add the 8:00 a.m. service and adjust the other service times when we need additional seating capacity. We know that most churches both locally and nationally are seeing less than 50% of their congregation return for indoor worship services at this time. While we would like our experience at Otterbein to be different, we believe it will most likely not be different for several more weeks or months. Bottom line - we expect to add the 8:00 a.m. service to our schedule at some point in the future.
WILL YOU OFFER NURSERY AND CHILDREN'S MINISTRY AT THE 10:45 A.M. SERVICE?
Yes. We aren't quite sure when we will be able to do it but our desire is to do it soon. The timing will depend on availability of volunteers and what are attendance numbers look like for the 10:45 a.m. service.
Do you have other questions? If so, EMAIL us at email@example.com and we will do our best to answer your question.