TLC & COVID-19
 

Re-Opening  Sunday June 21, 2020

Dear friends in Christ!

Your leaders have been working on plans to reopen our sanctuary for public worship. Our primary objective for opening our church is that God be glorified. Part of this includes not only providing a safe environment for all who worship in our building, but with current constraints, also ensuring a positive experience. At the same time, we will work to continue promoting a positive experience for those worshiping with us online.

 

Our Guiding Principles in this process:

  • The safety of those people who worship at Tallmadge Lutheran Church
  • Holy wisdom on fellowship and gatherings
  • The church’s public witness
  • The love for our community
  • The prayerful wisdom of faith leaders
  • The particular needs and circumstances of Tallmadge Lutheran Church
  • The latest recommendations/orders from the CDC and our federal, state, and local government

 

Pending any new developments from the COVID-19 Virus, these times will be the worship times for the summer months.

 

SUNDAYS STARTING JUNE 21, 2020

 As we re-start in-person worship, both the 8am and 10:30am services will be identical.

 8:00AM

In-person Worship in TLC Sanctuary

Worship live streamed on Facebook

 

10:30AM

In-Person Worship in TLC Sanctuary

Worship live streamed on Facebook

 

As Sunday June 21st, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. After that, we will continue our practice of celebrating Holy Communion on the first and third Sundays.  For those who are only able to worship online, we will offer the Sacrament via a drive-in communion worship on Sunday, June 21 from 1pm – 3pm and Sunday, July 19 from 1pm – 3pm by the Three Crosses in the TLC parking lot.  Drive in Communion in June and July will require online registration in advance. June 21 Drive-In Communion Sign-Up    &/or   July 19 Drive-In Communion Sign-Up

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

What general building wide safety and cleaning measures will be taken?

  • Signage will be placed on entrance doors asking anyone with fever or flu-like symptoms not to enter the church building
  • We encourage social distancing of a minimum of 6 feet between people not living in the same household while on our campus
  • Frequently touched surfaces in the church (pews/pew tops, door handles, microphones, etc.) will be cleaned and sanitized per CDC recommendations after every service
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at all entrances
  • Restrooms will be limited to just one person at a time. The Sanctuary, Narthex, Mailboxes, and restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized between church services.
  • Before reopening on June 21st we will be deep cleaning the entire church 

 

What will be different during worship in the sanctuary?

Our primary objective for opening our church is that God be glorified. Part of this includes not only providing a safe environment for all who worship in our building, but with current constraints, also ensuring a positive experience.

Some aspects of our time together in the building worshipping will be altered to meet current social distancing recommendations and safety guidelines. This includes:

  • Ushers will guide you to a place to sit in the sanctuary.
  • Paper worship bulletins will be available to pick up as you enter the sanctuary.
  • All hymnals, pencils, pieces of paper, pens, and fellowship pads have been taken out of the pews. We encourage everyone to record your worship attendance using our digital connect card found here: www.tlcoh.org/live
  • Children’s bags will not be available for use. You are welcome to bring your own items from home that you have found helpful for using with your family during church. 
  • To discourage physical contact during the service we will not be incorporating the passing of the peace.
  • The use of facemasks is strongly encouraged for the sake of your neighbor.
  • Offering plates will not be passed person-to-person during the service. We encourage you to consider setting up electronic giving. There will also be places at church entrances for people to drop envelopes or donations. Learning more about how to give electronically here:https://www.tlcoh.org/tithing-and-offerings/
 

Where can I enter and exit the building?

Please be mindful of physical distancing when in the parking lot. All worshipers are encouraged to enter through the wooden Sanctuary doors.  The parking spots outside the TLC office/Preschool doors are reserved or those members who need handicap parking or who have trouble walking.   Upon entering the inside of our building, you may be asked to have your temperature taken.        Sanitation stations will be set up to sanitize your hands when entering TLC’s facility.  There will also be facial masks available if you did not bring one.  Please look out for and respect any special      instructions from staff, volunteers, or signage directing how to navigate safely around campus.   Exterior doors will be propped open to prevent the need for multiple people to touch the door  handles. 

The back half of our building (Fellowship  Hall, classrooms, back bathrooms) will be closed to    members and guests. The kitchen will be closed and there will be no coffee or snacks provided    before or after church. We ask that members not go into the kitchen so that this is one less area we need to clean and sanitize between the services.

 

How many people will be allowed in each service?

We will be working within the State and County guidelines of 50% of our approved fire code          capacity. That puts us around 125 people in each service.  Because of physical distancing, the     actual sanctuary capacity will top out around 37 households or 70 people. 
 
 

What if there are too many people in a service? Is there any way to reserve a space?

If we run out of space in the sanctuary, there will be overflow seating in the old sanctuary where the worship services will be live-streamed in.  At this time, we do not want to frustrate you or alienate  anyone by creating a reservations system.
 
 

How will we be seated?

Each household will be seated or directed to seating by trained staff to ensure we maximize our seating capacity and meet physical distancing requirements. We encourage everyone to arrive early enough to allow time for the seating process and to be flexible with where you are seated—opening our Sanctuary 30 minutes before each service will allow extra time for seating.
 
 

How will we be dismissed?

We want to use appropriate physical distancing around campus before and after services, so exiting will also be dismissed by rows starting from the back and moving forward to those seated in the front. When the service ends, please remain seated until directed to leave. Once you have been dismissed please follow posted signage to exit.

 

What will precautions will be taken with communion?

  • Pastors and those distributing communion will wash/sanitize their hands before and after communion. If inadvertent contact is made, the pastor or elder will stop and sanitize his hands before continuing the distribution of communion. 
  • Pastors and those distributing communion will be wearing face masks during distribution.
  • 6’ will be marked by tape on floor to denote waiting areas
  • Continuous flow will be used instead of kneeling at the communion rail
  • Communion is to be received only in the hand – no intinction
  • Wafer will be dropped in communicants’ hand
  • Communion will be individual cup only
  • Altar guild who prepare the communion elements will wash/sanitizer their hands before and should wear proper masks and gloves
  • All communion vessels will be thoroughly and properly cleaned after church with hot soapy water
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in the aisle(s) for use by people prior to receiving communion

 

 

Will there be any kind of ministry for my kids during service times?

In this initial phase of reopening, we’re focusing on the worship service itself. A children’s message will occur in every worship service—however, only children from one pre-selected family will go up for the children’s message.  The participating family will be selected on Sunday mornings on a rotational basis.  All other ministry will continue to take place online only. Due to health restrictions directly affecting how we offer nursery and Kids Ministry, we are unable to offer any special ministry to our kids at this time. In addition to online content already available for kids, we WILL look for ways to engage them in our regular weekend experience.

 

 

What if I am not comfortable with returning to worship in the building yet?

Many other people are able to meet their spiritual needs while worshipping at home via live stream and will continue to do so. That’s also right for them to do. No one should feel burdened to return to in-person worship before they are ready. Let’s not sit in judgment of each other. Rather, let’s give one another the freedom to follow God’s Spirit and live out personal convictions on how God is calling each of us to worship.
 
 

Will facemasks be required?

Scientific research says that a contagious person can spread virus simply from breathing but that the risks are relatively low if the contagious person is physically distant from others and in a large enough space with adequate ventilation. Research also says that singing, in particular, spreads a higher concentration of virus to a wider area than simply breathing or speaking.

In this phase of reopening, we strongly encourage all attendees to wear facemasks out of care for your neighbor. But, we strongly encourage a facemask that at least covers the mouth for anyone who intends to sing. This will help create an overall sense of ease and safety for other worshippers.

Whenever possible, our volunteers and staff will also be wearing masks. All staff and volunteers assisting with seating procedures and other hospitality needs will be wearing masks and adhering to the CDC’s recommended safety protocols.

 

Are Volunteers still needed?

You probably know that a typical weekend requires lots of volunteers. We LOVE our volunteers! During these initial phases of our reopening, we will have a limited use of volunteers for worship, tech, and hospitality. This includes the temporary suspension of students serving as acolytes among other things. We are looking for 10 — 12 individuals who would be willing to help sanitize our facility in between services.  If you would like to be part of the sanitizing crew or if you’re wondering about your volunteer role, please contact the church office: 330-633-4775.

 

If you didn’t find the answer to your question above please call the church office:

330-633-4775. We want to hear from you about your questions, fears, concerns, worries, and comments. Please tell us what is on your mind that may influence your worship experience. We don’t have all the answers but we really do believe that with your input, we collectively will do a much better job in anticipating and solving any potential problems. If you have something to add about any of the above items, please, please call: 330-633-4775. Though this may be unchartered territory, Jesus will guide us through these tumultuous waters successfully.