Beginning Sunday, 5/17/2020, churches in the state of Virginia were permitted to reconvene with certain restrictions and conditions (Phase One). On Tuesday, 5/26/2020, our governor issued Phase Two and modified the
face mask restrictions for people gathering in indoor public buildings (which includes churches). The new restrictions state:
“Everyone will need to wear a face covering when you’re inside a public place starting this Friday (5/29/2020).” The restrictions go on to say, “That includes stores, barber shops, restaurants, on
public transportation, in government buildings, or anywhere where people can gather in groups.”
On 7/1/2020, Phase Three was implemented. There are no changes to our mask policy.
Below you will find our BGCC set of "Restrictions and Conditions for Meeting" reflecting these guidelines.
- We understand that we all have different ways of looking at the severity of this virus threat. BGCC will err on the side of being as cautious as possible. Because of this, we will be taking every precaution to ensure your safety within the church.
- No one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days, will be permitted in the church.
- If you have been tested positive for COVID-19, you cannot return to the church until 14 days after your quarantine period has successfully expired and have not exhibited any further symptoms in those 14 days.
- If you are over the age of 60 with chronic medical conditions, or with a compromised immune system, then do not attend.
- If you do not feel well, then do not attend.
- If you feel, for some reason, that your presence may jeopardize the health of another person, then do not attend.
- We must be aware of the health of others around us. This virus may not be serious to you, but it is to others. Please respect that.
- The new restrictions require everyone in attendance to wear a mask. We strongly encourage you to bring your own mask. If you do not have one, masks will be provided as you enter the church. There are exceptions which allow you to not wear a mask. They are:
- When eating or drinking.
- While exercising.
- If you have trouble breathing or are unable to remove the mask without help.
- If you have a health condition that prevents you from wearing a face covering.
- Children under 10.
- You may bring your own gloves, hand sanitizer, etc. as you see fit.
- BGCC will have hand sanitizer available.
- All pews and books will be wiped down and disinfected weekly.
- You may only sit next to those you have been quarantined with over the past 8 weeks. We will maintain this policy until we are allowed to do otherwise.
- Please do not congregate in the front of church, in the narthex, in the parking lot, or anywhere on church property unless you are maintaining the 6 feet minimum distance.
- As difficult as it may be for our congregation, there will be no hugging, handshakes, or holy kisses.
- We will have Sunday school in the fellowship hall beginning at the normal time of 9:45. The same mask and social distancing guidelines apply.
- We will have our worship service in the sanctuary beginning at the normal time of 11:00.
- We will limit the seating to one family per pew to maintain proper social distancing (6 feet).
- We ask that you sit on the extreme end of the pew to maintain this safe distance. For instance, a husband/wife sit on the extreme right side of pew #4. Anyone who sits in pews #3 or 5 will sit on the extreme left side of the pew. We stagger our seating. Pretty simple. We will and must maintain a safe distance from others. Please consider the safety of others while using common sense. This means that there will be a very good chance that you will be sitting in a new seat/pew on Sunday. Miracles do happen!
- Up to two people may sit in the choir pews on either side if you so desire.
- If necessary, there is seating up in the balcony at the rear of church. Please be careful ascending and descending the stairs.
- If necessary, there is seating in the Fellowship Hall. A speaker is mounted on the wall there for people there to hear whatever goes through our PA system.
- The designated deacons for the month will assist everyone with seating to ensure a safe-distance is maintained.
- There will not be a choir or a choir special.
- We will still have prayer time but it will not be the familiar prayer circle holding hands. We will announce our prayer concerns from the pews.
- We will still have Communion available for those who want to partake. We are presently using self-contained communion/juice cups for your added safety. Communion cups will be placed on the table in the front of the sanctuary. You will be directed to come forward to take your communion cup. In this process, we will maintain our social distancing while coming forward.
- At this same time, we ask that you bring your offering with you to the front. Offering plates will be there for you to place your financial gift. For those not attending or those who wish to do otherwise, your financial contributions can still be mailed in to the church. We appreciate your generosity!
- While we continue in this altered procedure for communion and offering, deacons will not be needed for these tasks.
- When exiting the church after the service, we will begin with the pews in the back and work our way forward. Again, it is imperative that we maintain a 6-foot distance between ourselves and our neighbors.
- The audio sermon will be uploaded to our church website (click HERE) and a video with Powerpoint slides to our YouTube Channel (click HERE) later on Sunday night.
- Just because our quarantine restrictions have been somewhat lifted and we are allowed back in church in this Phase 1/2/3 process, that does not mean THAT YOU HAVE TO ATTEND! If you do not feel comfortable attending, then don't. We all understand.
- We will not judge others if they show up or not, if they take communion or not, or if they place anything in the collection plate or not.
- This way of doing church is all new to all of us. It will be a challenge at first because we have never had to do church like this. But we will rise to the occasion. We will think of our neighbor before ourselves. We will demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. We will come back together as a stronger Body of Believers. Because that's who we are.
I am so excited about being back with you again! God bless the saints at BGCC and I will see you on Sunday!
... Pastor Mike