Hanover Presbyterian Church Re-Opening Plan

In Response to COVID-19

(updated June 17, 2020)

We appreciate your willingness to follow these guidelines as we enter new territory. It looks different, but we are the same caring community we have always been, with the Spirit filling the physical gaps between us. Who knew our 200th year would begin this way? It is a time to be intentional about how we return, how we begin the next steps in our journey, and how to continue as a congregation in a hurting world.

Please remember that worship will still be offered virtually, even as the church re-opens. The Presbytery of Ohio Valley Council still suggests that those who are 65 years old and older or have underlying health conditions stay home at this time. If you have any reservations about coming to worship, we will still offer online worship and mail bulletins and sermons. Please stay home if you do not feel well. At this point, the dates are subject to change, as anything can happen in the weeks to come.

 

Phase 1: (Scheduled for June 21)

During Phase One, worship will begin with social distancing measures and CDC precautions. Only staff will be allowed in the building outside of worship, including the financial secretaries.

Entrance to worship: We ask that you enter the building on Sunday through the sanctuary doors only. They will be wide open (ready to greet you!) and no one will have to touch a door handle. The sanctuary will be open, the bathrooms will be open, and the fellowship hall will only be open as a means to arrive at the bathrooms.

At the door you will be greeted by ushers at a safe distance! No hugging, touching, shaking hands. Six feet, please. Masks will be required. If you cannot bring a mask or forget your mask, some will be provided. The offering plate will also be at the door, and you can leave your tithe before or after the service. You also can still give online.

Pews will be roped off in accordance to the six feet social distancing. Please sit in a pew with those you have sheltered in place – and wave and smile at your neighbors! Hymnals and bulletins will be laid in your pew before you arrive.

On communion Sundays you have the option of bringing your own bread and juice, and we will also provide it at the door: pre-bagged bread handled by someone with gloves and mask, and a plastic/disposable cup that will be filled at the door. Please do not feel obligated to take this if you are not comfortable with it.

In this phase, the passing of the peace will be standing in place in your pews, waving, smiling, saying hello, and keeping our bodies within our pews.

During phase one, there will be no choir. This has been a difficult decision since music is such a part of this congregation, but many reliable sources on professional singing have suggested that singing (even with a mask and social distancing) are simply not safe in this time. We still have the opportunity for instrumental music!

Following the service, please take communion cups and bulletins and tissues and any other trash with you to help with clean-up. The church will be cleaned between services but to help our custodian, it would help if you can clean your pew before you leave.

In this first phase, there will not be fellowship hour. We ask that you continue to exit the sanctuary doors again. We will exit by pew.

Bathrooms will be available. There will be a can of Lysol and some gloves. When you have finished in the bathroom, we ask that you put on a pair of gloves, spray the Lysol, and then remove the gloves into the trash.

At this time, the air conditioner will run the night before, but will not be on during the service, as the blowing of air conditioners can make COVID-19 germs spread farther and faster. Please note this and dress accordingly.

Phase 2: (Scheduled for July 19)

Worship continues as was in phase one, with masks and social distancing, no fellowship hour, and all specifications above. The main change in this phase is the slow re-entry of small groups.

Small groups (such as Sunday morning class, Women’s Bible study, Book Group, and committees) may begin meeting with masks and social distancing. Groups will be expected to clean the space directly after meeting. There will still be no food at this point. These are only church groups. The church will not be open to outside groups until Phase 3. Before meeting at the church, please contact the church staff to give date/time/room you will meet in.

Individuals can be in by appointment.

 

Phase 3: (unknown at this time when phase 3 will happen)

Worship might continue virtually, and we will have to assess if social distancing and masks are still necessary. The movement from each phase is dependent on the Presbytery of Ohio Valley Council, whose recommendations then go to session. These dates can change at any time, and you will be aware if they do.

In phase 3, hopefully, food can be reintroduced and fellowship hour can begin.

Outside groups may begin meeting, also with office staff’s awareness.

For now, the choir and singing are on pause until it is safe to do so.

 

Other considerations:

Preschool: The reopening of the preschool is dependent on the Governor’s regulations, the preschool board, and the session. At this time, preschool activities are on hold.

Weddings and Funerals: Right now, funerals and weddings will be for immediate family only. In the case of a funeral, the family will be in conversation with the funeral home director and Rev. Katrina regarding the best practice at the time.

Staff:

  • Susie will continue to work from home most days of the week. She is easily accessible by email, and goes to the church weekly to print bulletins.
  • Rev. Katrina will continue to work from home most days of the week, as well. She checks mail and phone messages at the church often, but is best contacted by her cell phone or email. Pastoral care will continue to be virtual for a while, and will slowly move into face to face at some point in the future.
  • Teresa has been hard at work through this time, cleaning and preparing the church to be reopened, and will continue to do so.
  • Dave will work at the church as needed, practicing for Sundays as he feels comfortable.
  • A plan will be written up for staff safety as per the governor’s guidance.
  • Thank you to all staff who have worked so hard during this unprecedented time.

If you have questions, please contact a member of session or Rev. Katrina.

Peace,

Rev. Katrina and the HPC Session:

Bob Williams, clerk, Flower Shaffstall, Molly Jones, Betsy Johnson, David Harden, Paul Morgan

 

 
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