Greetings from the Pastoral Staff of Amherst Church!
It has now been 11 weeks since we last worshipped inside our facility and I’m sure you have missed our in-person family gatherings as I have. It is with great joy that we are announcing a resumption of public services that we are designating a ‘Regathering Celebration’. Sunday, June 07, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m., will be our first such gathering. As you can imagine, the Covid-19 Pandemic has resulted in a number of former practices being altered to assure that the best health and safety measures are in place.
Our ‘Regathering Celebration’ is intended to be a Family Worship experience with children present in the service and under the care of their parents. Family units are encouraged to sit together while observing social distancing from other families or persons. Parents are encouraged to provide age-appropriate items of interest (including snacks) for their children. As usual, activity/interest packets for children will be available for pickup at the discretion of parents. The ‘Cry Room’ (for families with very small children) will be available for single-family use if needed.
In keeping with health guidelines during our Regathering Celebration we are initially (and temporarily!) encouraging persons to provide their own snacks and coffee/beverage (with safety lid) as desired. Also, to limit the contact points, we are encouraging persons to drop their tithes and offerings into the drop box located just outside the rear sanctuary doors on the left as you exit down the steps. Moreover, we are encouraging persons to give online (www.amherst.church) to further limit direct contact for persons assigned to counting the offering.
We fully realize that there may be a bit of apprehension returning to public services after so long a period of quarantine and home confinement. For that reason, we are encouraging all to extend a special measure of grace to the pastoral staff and Leadership Team who, like you, are finding our way through new territory we have not travelled before. Hence, we will likely make some decisions that will be questioned by some. Thus, the need for grace. Some of our Amherst family will need additional time before they feel comfortable returning to a public setting for worship. Please, let’s practice Christian love and withhold any criticism or judgment allowing each brother and sister the liberty to set their own pace for returning to public interaction with others.
Sunday Worship Services will continue to be streamed online as well as posted on the church website for viewing even after public services are resumed.
In addition, here are some of the specific safety issues we will be implementing for the benefit of all:
1. Prior to the June 7 public worship service, all surfaces accessible to the public will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
2. Persons who show any flu-like or Covid-19 symptoms are encouraged to continue worship online at home until they are symptom free.
3. We encourage forms of greetings that do not involve physical contact (smile, wave, salute, etc.)
4. Hand sanitizers in various forms are readily available in a number of places throughout the facility. We encourage frequent use.
5. Use of masks will be at the individual’s discretion. Disposable masks are available for those requesting the same.
6. We encourage social distancing (per local, state, and national guidelines) to be observed upon entrance, egress, and in sanctuary and lobby seating.
7. Common ‘touch points’ will be frequently sanitized.
8. Facility doors (restrooms excluded) will be propped open to avoid 'touching' handles
As you can well imagine, we will need many volunteers to assist in implementing these new practices. If you can help the Welcome Team with these extra tasks, please contact the church office or any of the pastoral staff. Should you have concerns, questions, or suggestions please also contact any of the pastoral staff. We sincerely welcome your input as we anticipate our ‘REGATHERING CELEBRATION’.