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Letter from Bro. Donny and Deacons with Guidelines for In-Person Worship

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Happy Valley Church of Jesus Christ,

While “live streaming” has been a blessing, all of us at Happy Valley are anxious to get back to attending services in person. As our local and state governments slack some of the restrictions regarding COVID 19, Happy Valley would like to resume some type of coming together for services but maintaining the requirement of social distancing. We do not want to do anything that would enhance the spread of COVID 19 in our congregation to harm our future coming together (possible quarantines) or harm someone’s ability to work or their employment due to an infection from the virus. The deacons and pastor have come up with some guidelines for us to try and resume services in a safe manner. While these guidelines may seem like a hardship, we are only looking for a safe way for you to attend some services in person. We believe this is only temporary until we can once again resume our normal church services. The following are guidelines that we would like to ask your cooperation in trying to comply with social distancing and at the same time give us all a chance to attend at least one service a week in person.

1. First of all, we would like to ask you not to come to church if you are sick or having symptoms of coughing, runny nose, fever, or sore throat.

2. When you arrive at church, the deacons will seat you in the sanctuary in order to maintain social distancing (6 feet). You will be seated with your entire family to include children and young people. Your family has already been practicing “shelter in place at home” together, therefore, we want to continue that in the seating of your entire family in the sanctuary. The deacons have a plan for also seating singles and couples in a social distancing manner. You may not be able to sit in your normal location in the sanctuary, but again this is one of the hardships during this trial.

3. The local and state authorities have recommended that we wear face coverings while attending in house worship. We would like to ask everyone that has their own face covering to wear it when coming to the in-house services. If you do not have a face covering, we will provide you with one. Please wear the face covering until you are seated in the sanctuary. The decision to leave your face covering on in the sanctuary during services will be left up to you as an individual and at your discretion.

4. With trying to maintain social distancing, we can only accommodate a certain number of people in the sanctuary, therefore, we are dividing our congregation by the alphabet to attend these services (please note designations below).
• People with last names A through G will attend on Sunday mornings
• Those with H through M will attend Wednesday nights
• And those with N trough Z will attend on Saturday nights

5. We are asking that there be no congregating in the lobby, library, bathrooms, or fellowship hall before or after the service. After the service is over, the deacons will dismiss the congregation by rows (like a wedding) to allow everyone (including children) to dismiss to their cars. We feel this is the only way to ensure social distancing after a service. Even on the outside of our church, we do not want to harm our testimony with the community by not practicing social distancing in our parking lot.

6. We will have the Fellowship Hall set up with chairs allowing social distancing in case of an overflow is needed or for those wanting to feel safer regarding social distancing. There will be no recliners available.

7. There will be a couple of devices/boxes at the sanctuary doors for you to deposit any offerings or tithes you want to give. There will be no passing of the offering bags during service.

8. We would like to ask your special attention with regards to social distancing in using the nurseries and rest rooms with no more than 3 in the sister’s rest room and 2 in the brother’s rest room at a time. A mask for both places is strongly recommended by the deacons and pastor. Mothers with very young children may want to consider to continue the “live streaming” option as children 2 years and younger are not permitted to wear face masks.

9. Although it has been recommended by the local and state authorities that the vulnerable population (everyone 65 years and older, people with disabilities, people with respiratory or cardiovascular conditions) not attend in person worship services, this decision will be left up to you as an individual and at your discretion on whether to attend the in person worship services.

10. We are tentatively planning on starting our alphabet designated services (listed above) on Sunday, May 10, 2020. Any schedule changes will be posted on the website.

I know as you read these guidelines for us to be able to come to a service, you may seem overwhelmed (as we are), but we cannot stress the importance of not putting our church at risk for a quarantine, our people at risk for the virus, or our people at risk of unemployment due to COVID 19. We just ask your patience, prayer, and help as we try and come up with a temporary way to have services that we all are craving for. This is our time to live for others while practicing these safe guidelines.

Bro. Donny Reagan and Deacons HVCJC