Information for Worshippers

Please read carefully before attending worship.

Worship at Cottam United Church will happen in accordance with all provincial and municipal guidelines and best practices. We will be re-opening in a number of stages with the eventual goal of returning to some semblance of normalcy as the situation allows. At each stage, we will do everything possible to ensure people’s safety as we honour and glorify God.

During Stage 1, the following requirements and guidelines will be followed.

Location:            Worship will take place in the Fellowship Hall. The reason for this is because it is much easier to maintain social distancing in the hall than in the sanctuary.

Time:                   Doors open at 9:00 a.m. Worship begins at 9:30 a.m.

Doors:                 The only door that will be open is the one at the office entrance. 6 foot markers will be placed on the sidewalk if a line develops at the door.

Screening:         Every person entering the church building must be screened. Pre-screening forms are available by clicking HERE. Families are encouraged to fill them out and bring the completed forms to hand to the Screener upon entering the building. Those who are unable to use the Pre-screening forms will be screened at the door by the Screener. Those who are unable to pass the screening process will not able to enter the building. Some exceptions will be made for essential workers who cross the border as part of their employment.

Masks:                Masks must be worn in the building at all times, the only exception being children under the age of 4. This is in accordance with Ministry of Health guidelines and best practices as the best way to limit the spread of Covid-19 during gatherings. People are encouraged to bring their own masks. If they do not have one, cloth masks will be available at the door. Everyone is requested to take all used masks home after worship. A donation box will be available for anyone who wishes to use it.

                            Note that those leading worship are not required to wear masks while leading worship because they will be at least 10 feet from the front rows.

Seating:             When entering the Fellowship Hall, everyone is asked to move directly to a chair and not linger in the aisles. Ministry guidelines limit the seating to 30% of normal capacity. 70 chairs are pre-arranged to maintain the required 6’ distancing. These are set up from singles to groups of 4 for families. Larger families can be accommodated by either using two groups of chairs or adding a chair to an outside row. Once seated in a chair, please do not move to another unless it is in the same group of chairs.

Children:            Children must remain with the people who brought them. No nursery or children’s programmes will be available. Children’s activity sheets will be available online for families to print out and bring with them.

Sanitizers:         Hand sanitizer will be available and encouraged upon entering, there will also be bottles of sanitizer stationed throughout the fellowship hall.

Bathrooms:        Bathroom facilities will be open. Cleaning materials and instructions will be posted in each bathroom.

Singing:             Best practice guidelines discourage congregational singing. Music will still be part of our worship but it will be presented differently.

Communion:     Communion will not take place during Stage 1 of re-opening. Pastor Kim, however, is very willing to schedule an appointment if you would like to receive communion either individually or as a family.

Offering:             The offering plates will not be passed. Offering plates will be available near the doors for anyone who wishes to use them.

Leaving:             At the close of worship, everyone is asked to leave the Fellowship Hall immediately by the office entrance in an orderly fashion from back to front. Again, please do not linger in the aisles or in the building. We cannot safely have fellowship in the hall after worship. According to provincial guidelines, groups of 10 can gather outside if social distancing is maintained both within groups and between groups.

After worship:    Chairs will be sanitized and restacked so that the floors can be cleaned before resetting the chairs for worship the following week.

Everyone must make their own decision about whether or not they are ready to attend. Those who are in high risk groups may want to consider delaying their return until a later stage.

This will be a new experience of worship for all of us. No doubt, we will discover ways in which to improve along the way and will have to adjust our processes and practices. We ask for your patience as we work all of this out together. Also, while some of these measures may feel rather restrictive, please remember that this is only Stage 1 of our re-opening process and will be amended over time and as restrictions are relaxed.

Finally, all of this requires a lot of volunteers. There are three major teams: 1. set up and stacking of chairs; 2. cleaning and sanitizing of hall; 3. pre-worship screening. If you are able to help out on any of these teams, please contact the office.

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