Merrimack Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church

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Merrimack Valley SDA Church reopening - Phase 1

By Andreas Goelzer - Posted on 17 June 2020

PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE MESSAGE (for the signup details).
We are happy to announce phase 1 of reopening our building. This is just a small step towards reopening. Please see the following guidelines for being part of this phase. Also we want to encourage the following not to return as part of phase 1.
1. Those identified as at risk by the CDC, elderly, or immunocompromised.
2. Anyone that is just uncertain that it's the right time.
3. If you have kids and they will not be able to sit in the pew for 90 minutes. Kids will not be allowed to move freely about the church building as they have been accustomed to in the past. If this will be a problem please wait for the next phases of reopening to start coming back.
If you are looking for total security before returning we encourage you to wait till you feel that all is clear. We are a group of volunteers and don't have the resources to make the church as secure as some may need to feel comfortable. We have put measures in place to do the best job of making it as safe as we can for those who feel ready to return. Here are measures we are taking in Phase 1:
1. Limited to 40 people that will sign up on a first come first serve basis. The form for this sign up is in this link at the end of the email.
Here is an alternative some may find appealing: If people want to come and sit on the grass outside with their laptops or tablets and watch livestream they can. Families should practice physical distancing when doing so with other families.
2. Please remain at home if you are sick or have been exposed within the last 14 days to anyone who is sick.
3. Ushers will bring people to their seats and sit families/individuals at least 6 feet apart from others. Entrance to the church will be only through the front entrance (with the steps). Seating will begin at 11:00am and continue until 11:30am. Note that the livestream begins at 11:15am.
4. People will be ushered out as well and can fellowship in the parking lot if they choose.
5. There will be marking leading into the church building showing 6 feet of distance for families to wait in as they are waiting to be seated.
6. We encourage online giving but a plate will be available in the foyer for offering to be dropped in as you enter and leave. 
7. The worship will be in the same format as the current livestream with changes coming slowly as we start to add in more things.
8. Children's story time: we want children to sit in their seats rather than come up front. no children's offering will be taken but that giving can be put in plates upon leaving or included in your online giving.
9. BATHROOM USE, please use the bathrooms at home as much as possible  as the gathering is only 90 minutes. 
10. MASKS are to be worn at all times in the church. However please note: the participants on the platform will be further from the congregation and will not be wearing masks on the platform.  Children 0-2 should not wear masks, 2-5 is at the discretion of parents. All 6 and up are required to wear masks.
11. Hand washing or hand sanitizer use is required before entering the church.  Outdoor hand washing stations will be available.
12. No Hugging or handshakes in phase 1. Please do not do this even if you're ready to as some may do it out of pressure even though they really were not ready for that.
This has been a hard time for all of us and we want this to be an encouragement. Please only come if you are feeling comfortable with the above things. If you don't want to wear a mask please stay at home or consider the alternative suggestion in #1 above for a good option if you maintain physical distancing. We all need to be thoughtful of each other as there are different degrees of thought and concern about the virus and we should be respectful of all people. 
Blessings and don't forget to sign up here for the gathering:
PS feel free to email with any questions